Book Review: Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Fruit (Corinna Chapman Mysteries, Book 5)
Kerry Greenwood, 2009

Premise: It's Christmas with the staff of Heavenly Pleasures and the inhabitants of Insula. Time for heat waves, bands of roving hippies, and a family with a lost daughter and a very dark secret… (Previously reviewed: Book One)

I’ve read all of this series. Yes, I only reviewed the first one until now, (although ironically, the first one was probably the weakest) but I had to come back to blog for Christmas! It's funny, but for all the different media we've consumed for the mainlining Christmas project, this year might be the first time we’ve done anything conspicuously set in the southern hemisphere. Australia is hot at Christmastime, and yet the holiday comes on all the same, with all the crowds and obnoxious music and such. Corinna’s commentary on the holiday season is especially fun.

The two plots Corrina and her friends are investigating this time around are not as high stakes as some in this series, but they are still disturbing in their way. There is a choral group practicing in the building for a holiday performance, and a few of their members might be taking their beliefs about animal rights to a frightening level. Meanwhile, Daniel has been hired to find a missing pregnant teenager. (See where this is going?)

The darkest part of the plot is elided gently, but the teenager has some strange beliefs about how she conceived a child that reveal some horrifying history. I can’t think of another twisted spin on the Nativity quite like this one.

Of course, everything comes out right in the end with a little trickery, assistance from a series of unlikely sources, and a bit of seasonal mummery. I saw the pivotal scenes coming, but they were skillfully pulled off, and the characters were fully cognizant of the parallels.

I really do enjoy these cozy mysteries for their good-natured narration. The plots are interesting, and the characters are fun, but Corrina's voice is what keeps me coming back. This is an enjoyable entry in the series, and I'll keep it in mind the next time I'm in the mood for something warm in December.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book