Avid Series Reader's Reviews > Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Fruit by Kerry Greenwood
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Forbidden Fruit by Kerry Greenwood is book 5 of the Corinna Chapman mystery series set in contemporary Melbourne, Australia. Before the series started, Corinna ditched an unwanted husband and her career as an accountant. She's far happier baking bread in Earthly Delights, her own bakery, with her "midshipman" Jason, former street person/heroin addict. She lives in an apartment above the bakery, in a building called Insula. Each tenant (neighbor) has a unique background and quirky personality, adding fun distracting anecdotes and subplots (best to read the series from the beginning in order to appreciate all the eccentricity). Corinna has befriended many nearby shop owners, such as The Lone Gunmen (computer repair nerds) and Meroe the witch, who greets Corinna with "Merry meet!". Corinna is madly in love with her hunky boyfriend Daniel, a private investigator. They met (at series start) as volunteers on the midnight Soup Run, a bus run by a nun that delivers donated food to the homeless and street people throughout Melbourne. Daniel doesn't live at Insula with Corinna, but frequently spends the night (to her great delight).

It's stifling hot summer, Christmas season; throngs of shoppers in the streets, wilting in the heat. Corinna hates the season, hates shopping, hates the Christmas holiday. Luckily her two young shop assistants Kylie and Goss (met in earlier books as Goths) love to shop and decorate for Christmas.

Jason's friend Rowan is a "freegan", street people who dumpster dive rather than shop, and dance about the city singing familiar melodies with their own invented lyrics. They often come to Insula to practice traditional Christmas carols.

Jason is trying to make his own glace cherries from scratch, and many other gourmet delicacies. He's a very talented and enthusiastic baker apprentice, locally appreciated for his delicious muffin creations. After he becomes infatuated with Sarah, a freegan who is a vegan, he begins experimenting with recipes for her.

P.I. Daniel is seeking two runaways, Manny and Brigid, who are from very different economic and family backgrounds. Pregnant Brigid was being kept prisoner at home by her wealthy, unloving parents, who follow a strict religious cult. Manny is from a large loving family, simple working people. Daniel knows it's too dangerous for these two to be roughing it on the street, especially at Brigid's advanced stage of pregnancy. Daniel and Corinna follow tips from street informants in their attempts to locate the couple, and gain their trust.

Serena the donkey carries flower baskets every day for her owner Mr. Pahlevi to sell in the market. She tries to enter the bakery, evidently drawn by the delicious aromas of baking muffins. Corinna learns a trick: give Serena a rosewater-flavored muffin to make her happy. Serena eventually plays a role in the hilarious scene where Daniel and Corinna rescue Manny and Brigid from the cult 'suits'.

The pleasure of reading this series (this book even more than most) is it provides a complete escape from ordinary life, into the bohemian, freewheeling existence of the Insula folks. Corinna's dry wit makes the simplest facts entertaining: "Saturday morning brought no alarms. I like that in a morning."

All plot threads come together as Christmas arrives, complete with an over-the-top manger scene. Corinna's dislike for Sarah proves well-founded as she uncovers Sarah's unethical scheme, just in time. An all-around enjoyable romp, with the occasional lesson in Australian slang: Corinna packs her "esky" to enjoy G&Ts up on the roof garden.

Recipes included: Glace Cherries & Fruitcake, Cheesy Vegetable Muffins, Cordial.
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Reading Progress

February 9, 2019 – Shelved
Started Reading
May 30, 2020 – Finished Reading

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