Avid Series Reader's Reviews > Cooking the Books

Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood
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Cooking the Books by Kerry Greenwood is the sixth book of the Corinna Chapman mystery series set in contemporary Melbourne. Corinna plans to take all of January off, a well-deserved break after the hectic holiday season. Her bakery (Heavenly Delights) is closed for the month. Her assistant baker Jason is away surfing, his first-ever vacation. Her shop clerks Kylie and Goss, aspiring actresses, have landed parts on a TV show. Corinna's looking forward to peace and quiet, rest and relaxation, plenty of snuggling with her beloved hunky boyfriend Daniel.

But then Tommy arrives, a former schoolmate turned socialite wedding planner. She's desperate to find a replacement baker for her latest project, catering a TV show. Just for a few days, she promises. Corinna grudgingly agrees. Baking bread for cast and crew will be a lot easier than her normal routine. It's the TV show where Kylie and Goss have parts, so Corinna can keep an eye on them as her friend Meroe (the witch) advises.

Kind-hearted Daniel is on a mission for a damsel-in-distress. Lena is an accounting firm intern who left valuable bearer bonds in a phone booth, from which they were stolen. She will lose her job if she can't recover the documents. The only clue Daniel has gained from street people is that a homeless alcoholic named Pockets cashed one of the bonds.

While Corinna deals with the histrionics of a TV production by day, Daniel roams the streets at night looking for Pockets. One night Corinna and Daniel go looking for Pockets and find him. He will say no more than he stashed them in a safe place as directed by aliens. But he begins leaving cryptic nursery rhyme clues around the city. Corinna knows many nursery rhymes by heart; others she has to research on the computer.

Back on the TV show, malicious pranks begin to occur. The leading actress Molly Atkins is dubbed Superbitch by all, and daily lives up to the reputation. She wants to hire Daniel to find her long-lost baby, and the TV show producer wants to hire Daniel to find the prankster, before the show is ruined.

The cast and crew of the TV show eat and eat and eat, huge feasts every meal. On several days the menu has a theme. For the Greek theme: Greek shortbread, baklava, mushroom in filo, spanakopita, silverbeet and leek salad, chicken in red wine with figs, roasted beetroot, poultry and fish with honey-lemon sauce, fried bacon, grilled mushrooms, scrambled and poached eggs, kedgeree. For the Hungarian theme: rye bread, Hungarian honey cake, borscht, cabbage rolls, goulash, chicken stew, strudel, apricot cake, sour cherry cake, raspberry cream roulade, hundred-layer cake. The cooking and eating in this book surpasses the feasting in the last one by far - no wonder Corinna is size 20! Weight is a key subtext: the accountant intern is also generously sized, and cruelly bullied for it.

In this enjoyable romp, Corinna and Daniel solve the riddles, save the girl, find the baby, find the bonds, and right most of the wrongs. Best of all, quick-witted Corinna saves the day in an up-close-and-personal encounter with a tiger. To fully enjoy the books in this series, read them in order to learn all the back stories of the eccentric characters who live at Insula.

Medieval recipes included: Gyngerbrede, Saint Brigid's Bread or Bara Brith or Barm Brack, Pea and Ham Soup. For more of Corinna's recipes, go to www.earthlydelights.net.au

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Reading Progress

December 29, 2019 – Shelved
Started Reading
July 3, 2020 – Finished Reading

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