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This was another great episode in the Chocolate Centered Cozy Mystery series. I love the way Cindy Bell creates new characters and further develops her existing characters. Regulars, such as Allie, Charlotte (Allie's grandmother), Luke (Allie's husband), and Jeff Charlotte's gentleman friend), as well as Mrs. Bing, Mrs. Cale, and Mrs White (the 3 loving busybodies of the town), are continuously being more richly developed. Then you have the new cast of characters, we may or may not have met in previous episodes. Now we have a new steady character that I hope to see a lot more of: Gabby, the new hire that now works in Allie and Charlotte's chocolate shop. I absolutely LOVE her! And last, but never the least, are the characterizations of Allie's orange female cat, Peaches, and pot-bellied pig, Arnold. Arnold is supposed to be a pot-bellied pig, but all of the book covers show him as a regular pink pig. Sometimes, I love animal characters more than the human ones because of all of their personalities. This episode was about somebody who was murdered because that person was getting too close to the truth about something: kind of like being in the right place at the wrong time, or visa versa, and investigating something that gets them killed. The ONLY negative thing I have to say about this book is that there were way too many comma splices (commas between complete sentences, that should have been periods). I am a retired English teacher, and there are 3 grammatical errors in which I took off points: comma splices, fragmented sentences, and run-on sentences (2 or more complete sentences with no punctuation at all). I gave this book 5 stars and did not take off a point for the comma splices, because this is a work of fiction and not an essay or term paper, and also because the storylines and plotting kept me interested. However, I must say that all those commas, in my opinion, were extremely distracting to me as a reader.
I have read all of the Chocolate Centered Cozy Mystery Books, in order, and this 21st installment was almost like a new beginning, with several characters I had never read about in earlier books! If any of the new characters have been in other books, I guess they just didn't play big parts. After the first few chapters I was getting used to a lot of new names. The book was intriguing, as all of Ms. Bell's books are and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I hope book #22 comes out soon so I can keep up.