Baking is an alchemical process for Corinna Chapman. At four am she starts work at Earthly Delights, her bakery in Calico Alley.
But one morning Corinna receives a threatening note saying "The wages of sin is death" and finds a syringe in her cat's paw. A blue-faced junkie has collapsed in the dark alley and a mysterious man with beautiful eyes appears with a plan for Corinna and her bread. Then it is Goths, dead drug addicts, witchcraft, a homeless boy, and a missing girl and it seems she will never get those muffins cooked in time.
With flair, chutzpah and a talent for kneading, Corinna Chapman will find out who exactly is threatening her life and bake some beautiful bread.
©1992 Kerry Greenwood (P)2013 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
I have read and listened to all the Phryne Fisher novels and just didn't think another series by the same author could be so good. WRONG. This one is modern, lusty, funny, and again has a heroine who asserts herself and grows. If you have an aversion to the occult or good sex then stay away. Neither overpowers the story but are interwoven well. The narrator, Ms Siversen, does a great job with all the voices too. Looking forward to listening to more.
I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
Format: Audible Download/Kindle Whispersync
Although I also had this book on my Kindle, I ended up listening to most of this book for the sheer pleasure of the narrator's voice. Louise Siversin brings a warmth and enthusiasm to her reading of the first of the Corinna Chapman series that is positively infectious. It's in first person so Siversin's voice quickly became Corinna's in my mind.
Earthly Delights is the name of the bakery owned and run by Corinna Chapman. Named of course after the modern title given to the painting by Hieronymus Bosch, a copy of which hangs in her shop. And Corinna does indeed enjoy all of the earthly delights. Let me just say that she is not one of those heroines who will announce at some point that she is one of the lucky women who can eat what she wants and not gain an ounce. I particularly enjoyed the information about baking that is woven into the story.
Early one morning she opens the door to her bakery and discovers a junkie ODing on her grate. Thus begins an interesting and largely cheerful murder mystery involving Corinna, her co-tenants at Insula-- a Roman style apartment building with shops on the first floor and living spaces above, and bits of the Melbourne underworld.
It has some strong language, drug taking and sexual activity so if you are the type of person this would put off then this is not the book for you. It's not a cozy in that sense no matter what HK tried to tell you.
Oh, and who is Jade Forrester, the author whose books Corinna reads? I checked and she is a real author.
First it is important to know that the characters is this book are not at all like Kerry Greenwood's books featuring Phryne Fisher which I also enjoy, and for very different reasons than I like Earthly Delights. I loved the narrator for Earthly Delights, Louise Siversen's voice is low and soothing. I also enjoyed the characters. These are beautiful people whose beauty has more to do with intelligence, tolerance, and a determination to be cheerful in the face of petty annoyances, and rotten problems, without being insipid. They live in an old fashioned apartment building, called Insula after similar buildings in ancient Rome (the ancient originals more like tenements than this elegant building.Corinna has given up a very profitable career as an accountant, as well as a "profitable" husband and big house to move into Insula, and take the bakery on the first floor. Waking at four in the morning to bake fresh bread to fill orders for stores and restaurants and bake muffins for people on their way to work, is for her heaven. She tells us that she will never wear a kitten heel again. Being a very large person we can be happy for her. While she has her share of insecurities she is not confused about her ability to run a small business, and trust her own judgment. Her friends are fortunate in her friendship, and heaven help those she sees as enemies. Corinna needs all the good sense she owns when her before dawn work day isn interrupted by a young woman expiring of an overdose on a heating grate outside her shop door. Corinna calls medics, keeps the victim alive, and is roundly cursed for "stealing the young lady's high". However, from this rather nasty beginning Corinna meets strong Daniel, acquires a ragged assistant, and deals with a slander campaign that effects all of the occupants of the building.
Although the story is character driven, the world Kerry Greenwood describes is consistent from beginning to end. The listener/reader is not jerked out of the story by a character or plot point inconsistent with earlier descriptions. I liked the description of St. Kilda. Living in the eastern United States, I doubt my dream of visiting the city where these characters live will ever be in my budget, but after reading Kerry Greenwood's books I certainly wish it were.
There are several. I love the garden upon the roof of the apartment building with its fish pool, benches and arbors, and its contrasts with the soup run, to make sure the homeless get one hot meal a day. Both of these scenes involve Daniel, whom the reader only knows as a dark mysterious stranger for a good bit of the book.
Obviously Corinna is the most memorable because this is her story. I expect though the favorite character will depend upon the reader. My daughter's favorite of course is Daniel a man so beautiful that Corinna can't believe he wants to be with her. My favorite is the retired professor who listens with silence and empathy to those who tell him their problems. Of course loving realistic magic, I also like the the owner of Sybil's Cave. When Corinna needs practical help, she is always willing to help. Not all of her help involves spells.
This story is a cozy mystery, it deserves the name more than most. The Corinna Chapman stories act upon me like a soothing cup of tea, OK, more like a glass of white wine. I am going to buy as many of these audiobooks as they produce and save them for days when traffic is bad, people are cranky, and I have to do boring mindless tasks.
At book one of the series I am hooked! I love the food, the cats, the sights of Melbourne and all the crazy characters.I am looking forward to listening to all the series.
Tell us about yourself! Aspiring writer, quasi-voracious writer, in the process of knitting a sweater and taking a clas at my alma mater in ancestory.
I so looked forward to reading this book and waited throughout for the mystery, what a bore!
No I love mysteries, but his was so amateur. The characters are boring and cartoonish. I'd run from anyone who appeared on my balcony like "an angel" , Creepy.
The narrator was the best thing about the book, but she didn't nail all of the characters.
I would definitely have cut the cat love bits and the bath scent descriptions. On second thought, I would have suggested a complete rewrite.
I really enjoyed this book. It is a very different from her Phryne Fisher series. I really liked the down to earth feel of Corinna Chapman. I loved the fact that she is overweight and not only comfortable with it but still considered attractive and sexy. That is something not often seen in other books unfortunately. It is nice to see some more realistic and positive role models. I am familiar with Melbourne and enjoyed that aspect of it also. I would love her flat! The other supporting characters are interesting also. I felt the narration let the book down some what. Corinna is well done but most of the other characters less so especially the men, she made Jason and Daniel sound very slow witted and flat. I liked the pace and inflections otherwise. I did however buy the written book for the next one to see if I prefer it to the audio.
Engaging story and narrator. One of the best for this genre
None that I can think of, very unique indeed
Believable, easy to understand, drew me in. Love her performance
Corinna, of course!
Love the mixture of characters, Corinna's attitude and the setting. Kept me entertained throughout. I'm going to listen to the entire series
I was a little disappointed in this book I love the Phryne Fisher books. This one drug and didn't catch my interest until half way through. I almost stopped but kept going to see if it would get better.
Needs a better narrater
I liked the baking talk and all the interesting people around, but was less gripped by the actual mystery and investigation.
This book was a little out of my usual way in some respects. On the surface I was interested by the baker turned amateur sleuth by circumstance, who meets a mysterious tall-dark-and-handsome and finds trouble in the streets... Loved the scenes in the bakery, she often made me hungry with talk of breads and muffins (and I agree with her, none of that crumbly health stuff, yick) and company with her and the cats was warm. I wish there was some kind of appendix with the recipes, cause i'd love to try some of the things she talked about baking...
I liked the cast of characters around the bakery and apt building. Daniel was mysterious, knew there was something concealed, a little bit dark, but not worrisome in any way. And I was glad for Jason to get back on his feet. I was amused by Corinna's nickname for Sgt White - I don't think I'd ever heard the name Lepedoptre spoken aloud before. Her friend the witch, the gardener, and professor were great additions. I got a few laughs out of her shop assistants, and her description of the squalor which the tech-guys lived in. So many kinds of people in different walks of life passed through the pages- some content, some in a busy blur, and some that break your heart and make you question your faith in humanity and the world... It was a beautiful portrait of so many kinds of life all together in one city.
And then came the darker things ... I don't mind goths, like she says, folks who take so much trouble in their costuming are generally not much trouble. But I don't go in for the likes of the Bloodlines club. Gives me the shivers, and when in comes to vampires, well, I'd rather avoid all those who are not Spike and Angel, frankly.
It was quite the quick climax (excuse me) for the slow action building up, and because of the uncertain atmosphere of the club, it took a minute for the results to register in my mind and the pieces to fall into place - it took her self-termed Agatha Christie finish gathering everyone on the roof for the unveil to explain and connect a few more dots for me.
Entertaining enough, partly due to novelty, but also on its own merits. Plenty of fun pop culture references (and notes to self NOT to watch those horror movies mentioned). It wasn't just another silly amateur detective story or cozy mystery (and like I said, i didn't find her investigation particularly gripping or compelling), though it had those elements; it was also a novel of real lives, real people (it was those portraits and relationships which made up more of the actual story), their tragedies and their day to day activities - which were briefly interrupted by crime - and how those people come together and help each other. And the cats too.
Narration was pretty good - the characters all had distinguishable voices, though a few times they were not switched consistently in dialogue. Her pace was often quick and sentences were rushed together -but sometimes it was clearly meant to be so, following Corrie's trains of thought or a disjointed succession of events in her day. Sometimes, though, I got the feeling that that quick cadence rolled over into sections of narrative and dialogue which might have ideally been a bit slower and more naturally paced.
Good overall, a little unique, a little like a lot of other amateur detective stories, and now I need I little bit - er, a lot - of those muffins and olive bread...
Just wasn't intriguing as I wanted. Should have been a Murder She Wrote episode.
Trying another mystery novel, but not by this same author.
Her male voice was just weird sounding, they men always sounded dumb and doofus-y.
I would have cut the weird vampire club and heroine stuff and kept everything just in the apartment complex.
"Good fun from Aussieland"
I loved this book it is great fun and had me laughing out loud at times. It is refreshing to have a book set in Australia instead of GB or USA so I looking forward to reading some more. Kerry Greenwood has read a lot of the same writers that I have so the references have been understood and enjoyed.
The narrator is just right, an Australian Barbara Rosenblat, I will now look out for books read by her. A good fun read.
"Entertaining mystery story, engaging characters"
Pretty high on the easy listening side
Well-researched background, which on the whole was well-blended in to the story
Enjoyed her dry and wry delivery, and her engaging variety of tones and voices
Only really curious to see how it panned out. It had a HFN feel from the start, and I wasn't disappointed
Really enjoyed this. The mysteries weren't the most challenging, and the writer gave us a few clues along the way. Good cast of characters and a well-drawn main character. A bit of an insight into the underbelly of probably most large cities in the developed world. If you're looking for a light, easy listen which will hold your attention, this might be one for you.
"Very different from Phryne!"
I do not know as I have not purchased the print version - yet
None to my knowledge. It was so unusual in the way it was put together but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is the one bugbear. the narrator did a fair job on the female voices but failed lamentably on the male voices. (in my view only)
Perhaps an additional narrator to help with the male voices?
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