Book Review: Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier

My reading habits have changed so much.    When I used to work at the library I brought home stacks and stacks of books.   Many I reviewed or blogged about in round ups.   I was always physically surrounded by printed books.  These days I am far more likely to read eBooks on my tablet.   By and large I love my tablet as an eReader.    I checked out an eBook version of Leslie Meier’s Chocolate Covered Murder from my library.    It is one of a series of mysteries featuring Lucy Stone,  a reporter for the Tinker’s Cove, Maine  Pennysaver,  a weekly newspaper where all to often she finds herself writing the same old stories about the same old ham and bean community suppers.   But when the town’s beloved Fran’s Famous Fudge gets out-voted by newcomer Chanticlear Chocolates is voted Best Chocolate On The Coast,  the town is thrown into something of an uproar.

Chocolate Covered Murder is a fairly standard genre novel of the amateur detective variety.     Reporter Lucy soon finds herself looking into two grisly murders– an ice fisherman is twirled up in fishing line and dropped through the ice with a lure in his mouth,  and the manager of a Chanticlear Chocolate’s Tinker’s Cover store is found dead, naked and covered in chocolate on the store’s main display table.    Lucy is convinced that the two cases are related and her inquiries uncover a major drug smuggling operation,  leading her to publish a great scoop.    The characters are well drawn and Meier does a good job of conveying some of Mainer’s undeniable charm,  while not glossing over the harsh weather experienced on the Maine coast in winter.    As a mystery novel I liked Chocolate Covered Murder well enough.   Except.

Except that it is not #indie.    The mainstream publisher has priced the eBook version of this novel at nine dollars and something,  a price I definitely do not consider worth it for a standard mystery novel.   And since Amazon does not pay commissions on eBooks,  even if I wanted to I could not offer the eBook that I read for sale,  and hope to earn even a tiny commission on it.   Also,  I can’t help but think that if this novel had been published independently rather through a main stream publisher,  it could have been greatly strengthened by having the policeman in the final scene not wringing his hands and saying that he doesn’t know what the answer is,  but suggesting that the answer is that we need to legalize drugs and treat substance abuse as a medical rather than a legal issue.   But that would be way too risque for any mainstream published genre novel to ever do.

Chocolate Covered Murder—  Mildly recommended to mystery lovers.   Buy now $13.18–hardcover