hotchocolateThe rich really are different, aren’t they? And the Alcott sisters, Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea, are a perfect example of ‘different.’ Heirs to the Alcott Chocolates fortune, the ladies are privileged and moneyed, yet don’t seem to be obnoxious about their wealth.

Lila Mae is a hoot. “Oh, no!” she said. “Not only is Mercury retrograde, but the Moon is void and it was just full in Scorpio and will no doubt clobber my sisters big time!” As your first introduction to Lila Mae, you just know that she is going to be a funny character. And she very much is. Astrology, Feng Shui, she is into it all, and has the money to make sure that her wishes are all granted. A “close friend” of Police Detective Chance, there is a cheerful and loving relationship there that brings warmth to the storyline.

Then there is Madge, the oldest of the sisters and quite a character in her own right. When we first meet her, she is trying on clothes, ostensibly for her granddaughter – as if! LOL…. As Lila Mae says when Madge poses in the fitting-room doorway: “Are you going for the ‘I’m sixty-six and have Alzheimer’s so I won’t remember this ensemble tomorrow’ look?” Enough said.

Now, Dorthea is the baby – and “baby” is the operative word here. Constantly working to be the center of attention, and the sister that I considered “spoiled out of her mind,” Dorthea is also the caretaker (if having 12 servants to hand truly qualifies as “caretaker”) to the ladies 92-year-old, grabby-handy father. When the ladies finally agree, with much hand-wringing and theatrical moaning on the part of Dorthea, to place their father in a high-dollar assisted living care facility, it is time for Bambi Chaline, his ‘hot-hotty’ blond bombshell of a nurse, to be let go. While Bambi is more than happy with her more-than-generous severance package and excellent references, her ner-do-well husband, Jimmy Ray, is thrilled to be able to hire a lawyer on behalf of his wife. Jimmy Ray smells a huge settlement against the Alcott Chocolate Empire for wrongful termination, though Bambi is quite dismayed by his actions. And when the court case is summarily thrown out of court, Jimmy Ray is first enraged – and then he is dead, a victim of Dorthea’s prized fork. Yep. Fork.

As the mystery continues to grow, there is an undercurrent of old-fashioned Southern fun and food interspersed amongst the pages, as the girls get down to finding out who killed Jimmy Ray.

I don’t want to give anything else away, but I will say that there are some funny moments in the book that kept me amused. As Elizabeth points out in her Amazon review, there are some issues that set me “that’s not right” meter fairly far off the scale. As a trained crime scene analyst, as is Elizabeth, it is rather hard to understand why the author didn’t do her research. The quirks of the ladies and their friends could have been a bit more fleshed out. Otherwise, for my particular tastes, I would call this a 3.5 star read.

I received this book from the author in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own and are not influenced by this fact.

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