Evil Eclairs (Donut Shop Mystery, #4) By Jessica Beck

    Donut shop owner Suzanne Hart admits her sweet treats don’t exactly qualify as health food. But does she really deserve to be labeled a “killer” by local radio jockey Lester Moorefield? The annoying host is urging citizens to boycott Suzanne’s “deadly dough” factory—until he’s found dead himself, stuffed with one of Suzanne’s éclairs…

    Everyone in April Springs knows about the feud between Lester and Suzanne, which makes her the number-one suspect. She tries to use the donut defense—donuts don’t kill people, people kill people—but that cream-filled éclair at the scene of the crime has the whole town filled with suspicion. If Suzanne can’t figure out who killed the radio star, she’ll soon be filling a prison cell instead of a pastry…

    Evil Eclairs (Donut Shop Mystery, #4)

    Jessica Beck ê 4 Read

    Being on a diet had me craving for a doughnut. Since I can't have 'em, will just read about them. This series is now 20 books long, I am curious on how Jessica Beck will sustain Suzanne, who still remains one of my favorite cozy heroines. This is book is just like how a doughnut should be, a breather, light and easy reading and revs your sugar rush. Though I got who the killer was toward the end (angle I wasn't expecting). 2 out of 4 so far. English The 4th novel in the Donut Shop series was a bit of a letdown compared to the other novels in the series.

    A local radio commentator Lester Moorefield goes off on Suzanne's donut shop saying how donuts are killing people. After Suzanne pays Lester a visit to give him a piece of her mind, he is found dead with an eclair shoved down his throat. Suzanne is the one number suspect, so she teams up with her friends to find the killer.

    The novel started off great, it was fast paced and had the murder with the first few chapters. However, around the midway point, the novel started to get a bit boring and I got a pick tired of Suzanne asking everyone what their alibi was.

    Still liking the series though and will continue on. English I accept that cozy mysteries are a little light on character development and plot plausibility compared to other literary fare, but these novels take my patience for that too far. I'm tired of reading about Suzanne pestering people for an alibi constantly, her cold, non-romantic relationship with Jake, and the limited inner dialogue. Inner dialogue is what gives characters more depth, and there is not enough of that in these novels. The scenes move so fast with little depth and it makes me just not care what is going to happen.

    The breaking point for me was early on in this novel when the clown came into the store and Suzanne refused him service because she was traumatized by a clown as a child. Seriously? Refusing service? Then having all the other customers cheer? That just made Suzanne (and the other townspeople) even more unlikable. A good author knows that discrimination is not something that the main character should be involved in. This incident is odd enough that it is surely something related to the mystery, but I just don't care to find out.

    There are plenty of other cozy mysteries out there that do a great job of writing likable, deep characters, so I'll just focus on those. English I tried to like this for all that it was more cosy than mystery. In brief some of the flaws

    -far too much focus on Suzanne's super-chaste lovelife. I didn't mind that it was super-chaste I minded reading about it in so much detail as if the author thought I was 12 and at a Christian camp for learning to be a good wife. I didn't need quite so many pages wasted on whether her mother and friends would or would not date.

    -A lot of long sections of people eating. Once again I don't mind people eating and in context it can be an important part of a book, especially when you are trying to make your mystery cosy. Here there was so much of it that the temptation was to think it was put in because the author was out of ideas for the actual plot.

    -Randomly inserted recipes that were all variations on a theme and had no clear connection to the plot. That is to say they were donut recipes, but they were not ones referred to in the story. The last one was a pasta recipe which was probably a reference to an eating scene much earlier in the book but was placed right in the middle of the denoument. WTF? It made the last chapter even less exciting to read because any intertia had been lost. I think if recipes are used they should be thoughtfully connected to the book and perhaps collected at the back. It made me think Like Kerry Greenwood's Corinna Chapman but more madly done- if you vaguely liked this or thought the idea broadly had potential then try that)

    -Woman has to have a man and all the essentialised shit there. In this sense the book almost got a 2 instead of a 1 from me, because it was not the most misogynist book I ever read but it did have some drippy heterosexist stuff that puts men on a pedestal they really have not earned. Also the bad writing pulled it down

    -The bad writing. Things just flung themselves along one thing after another. No character development, no feel for setting (I realise this is book 4 but nevertheless) and what is far worse, no clarity. At times I had to read dialogue a couple of times to get a sense of what they are saying. I have philosophers and sociologist to read when I want to struggle for meaning, this was meant to be just a relaxing novel. An ounce of editing and a bit more time put in by the writer might have helped (I mark papers so I am learning to recognise when someone put in a last minute effort).

    All in all, I had a tiny amount of amusement but will stay clear of this series given how many things I recently read that I enjoy better (for example Marx who at least is sarcastic). I think some people would probably like this more than I did (because of all the hand holding and chaste twilight kisses over a basket of fried chicken) English Not my favorite book of the series...a little slow, no real mystery or intrigue, and a fairly obvious murderer right from the get go. Maybe I'm just getting bored with series in general, but this one was very lackluster to me. English

    This was a nice easy read with Suzanne once again involved in a murder investigation. I enjoyed Jake being around and the mystery kept me guessing. I enjoy the donut recipes included and they seem like they would be easy to make. English I was flummoxed for once concerning my rating of Evil Eclairs. I've always prioritized a strong finish, and I loved knowing the identity of the murder, and maybe so will you. The issue with this book is that for one fifth of it's duration little, if anything, happens.

    There was no real purpose to the investigation and there were too many interludes during the said inquiry. The previous book was action packed. But this one holds its own. Slowly, events did accumulate, giving us an illusion of overload. It's a fairly unfair 3/5 stars, but then when compared to better books, I simply can't give it a four. Reading the Donut Shop Mysteries is one of the highlights of my readership and I particularly like the fact that I'll be ending my reading challenge for the year with half of the books read - from now till the end - being Jessica Beck's. English I enjoyed this story for the most part.

    Now to list a couple things that irritated me because that's what I've been doing for this series in my reviews.

    1. Everyone's cell phones don't work for reasons.

    Battery is low!
    Left it at home!
    Ringer was on silent the whole time!
    Really, characters? REALLY?

    2.) Why is Suzanne hating on the clown?

    Suzanne complains that she makes so little money with her doughnut shop, but when a clown comes in, she refuses to sell him a doughnut. It's one thing when the character is mean (and she is so mean to this clown!) but it's another when the author is mean. After Suzanne refused service to the clown and he left, the other people in the shop clapped.

    Don't encourage clown hatred!

    (Full disclosure, I do not particularly care for clowns. But I've never been mean to one.)

    The clown comes back later, and - I kid you not - Suzanne sees him coming toward the door and she flips her sign to closed. OMG!

    Then he walked away sad, clomping his big red shoes.

    At least she had the decency to later wonder if she was having a little bad luck because of how she unjustly treated the clown.
    You've got to be careful nowadays - bad clown karma is nothing to mess around with.

    Even with the cell phone ridiculous drama and the unfair treatment of a clown, I did enjoy the story and the characters and the town and the mystery. English It’s very similar to the last book I read in this series... decent book but needs to work on the plots a bit more English A nasty radio personality does a editorial opinion piece on our favorite donut maker, Suzanne's Donut Hearts in April Springs, that leaves, us, the readers, incensed. You can imagine Susanne's feelings as a call for boycotts are issued.

    As Suzanne reminds us donuts don't kill people, people kill people, but April Springs isn't quite so sure about that when the nasty man turns up dead with an eclair at the scene!

    I really like this series. I enjoy the gentle, laid-back, feel of the Southern living in April Springs. I enjoy the relationships of our Sleuth and her family, friends, romances.

    This was a good book and I'm ready to read Tragic Toppings. English