A Weight Loss Group Investigates Murder in “Carbs and Cadavers”

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In Carbs and Cadavers by Ellery Adams, when James Henry’s mother passes away, the loss forces him to leave his job as an English professor at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA in order to take over the care of his hostile, curmudgeonly father. While settling into Quincy’s Gap in the Shenandoah Valley, James meets Lindy, a high school art teacher wanting permission p to put up flyers at the library, where James has gotten the positron as the new director. These flyers advertise Lindy’s new supper club, a support group for people who want to help each lose weight. Desperately needing to lose at least 50 pounds, James signs up and finds some new friends in the process.

Besides James, the group consists of Lindy, the high school art teacher; Lucy, a civilian working for the police with the goal of becoming a sworn officer; Bennett, a mail carrier with a love of random statistics; and Jillian, owner of The Yuppie Puppy dog grooming shop. Together, the quintet dubs themselves The Flab Five. They decide upon a low carb diet instead of trying to keep track of calories. And they make plans to have supper together on a weekly basis to h9old each other accountable. As the group meets for their first dinner, the members notice all of Quincy Gap’s vehicles that contain sirens go tearing down the street, creating alarm on the part of Lucy, who rushes off to see if she can help with whatever the problem is. The other group members admit to their own curiosity and also seek out the cause of the sirens. They discover the dead body of Brinkley Myers, a highly obnoxious former sports jock who doesn’t seem to realize that the world and life have passed him by and that he’s stuck mowing lawns. Through their personal contacts, the Flab Five gain special insight into the case, which soon develops into one of blackmail and further violence, making the friends uniquely prepared to assist in the case when things go wrong.

This book uses a creative premise for a book, that of a weight loss club. It contains some very realistic characters, who come to life throughout the course of the book. Unfortunately, this book does not portray each character who comes on the scene as vividly as Adams usually does in her books. But the original release of this book was five years ago, in 2013, and a lot of progress in writing skills can happen in five years. This is not to say that the book was bad. Ellery Adams is such a good writer that ever her worst books are better than those of most in the business. I did like the interesting conclusion and the way it celebrates their victories but also opens up new fields for them to explore in the future.

Many cozy mysteries include recipes either at the end of the book or scattered throughout the midst of the book. Carbs and Cadavers contains recipes to complement the book. Almost all books with recipes seem to feature pastries and other desserts, so I appreciate the way this book gives recipes for low carb dishes and even desserts. It is a refreshing change to the unhealthy food that we often see. But if recipes will be given in an audiobook, I think they should come at the end to give listeners a choice whether to listen to the recipe. We also come upon the recipes without any advanced notice, so we often miss the details of the recipes.

Karen White reprises her role as narrator of Adams’ Books by the Bay series in narrating this audiobook. She does a good job of making the book interesting to listen to, drawing me to it. She keeps the book movingy

When I first learned that Ellery Adams had written a series called the Supper Club, I was very disappointed not to be able to get them on audio. But happily, Adams is rereleasing the series on Kindle and Audible, and she will release a new addition to the series in March. Though I have pointed out ways in which the book does not live up to Adams’s usual high standards, it still was a very good book, one that kept me listening all the way through. I give this book four stars.

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  1. Karen White January 4, 2018 Reply

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