One day, Corinna Chapman, high profile accountant and banker, walked out on the money market and her dismissive and unpleasant husband James, threw aside her briefcase, and doffed her kitten heels forever. Now she is a baker with her own business, Earthly Delights, in Melbourne, Australia, living in an eccentric building on the Roman model called Insula with a lot of similarly eccentric people.
She and her cat Horatio are quite content with this new life until a junkie falls half dead on her grate, a gorgeous sabra stalks along her alley telling her that she is beautiful, and threatening letters accusing her of being a scarlet woman begin to arrive. Then suddenly Goths, lost girls, fraud, late nights, nerds, and beautiful slaves complicate life for Corinna. And she still needs to get her bread out for the morning rush...
While Australian Greenwood's historical series starring iconoclastic feminist sleuth Phryne Fisher (Cocaine Blues, etc.) has spawned a devoted following for its blend of detection and Wodehousian humor, her contemporary series, which makes its U.S. debut with this book, is unlikely to have the same impact. Corinna Chapman, a former accountant who operates a Melbourne bakery, cuts an even unlikelier figure than Phryne Fisher, as Greenwood's new heroine finds herself involved in probing a series of deaths of junkies. The broadly drawn supporting characters, including a stereotypical handsome stranger with whom Chapman is smitten, are beyond eccentric. Fisher fans shouldn't set their expectations too high.