Trick or Treat (Corinna Chapman Series #4)

Trick or Treat (Corinna Chapman Series #4)

4.6 8
by Kerry Greenwood, Louise Siversen

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Amateur sleuth and baker extraordinaire Corinna Chapman is upstaged when the hot new bread chain, Best Fresh Bread, opens just down the street from her own bakery, Earthly Delights. Meanwhile Daniel's tall, blonde and gorgeous old friend is staying with him while she establishes a base and a business in Melbourne.

When Daniel starts making excuses, Corinna begins

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Amateur sleuth and baker extraordinaire Corinna Chapman is upstaged when the hot new bread chain, Best Fresh Bread, opens just down the street from her own bakery, Earthly Delights. Meanwhile Daniel's tall, blonde and gorgeous old friend is staying with him while she establishes a base and a business in Melbourne.

When Daniel starts making excuses, Corinna begins to worry about his absences and also the strange outbreak of madness which seems to be centred on Lonsdale Street. Will Corinna win through a maze of health regulations, missing boyfriends, sinister strangers, fraudulent companies and back alley ambushes? Or will this be the end for the Earthly Delights Bakery?

Praise for Kerry Greenwood's Corinna Chapman series:
"This new series has some of the hallmarks of author Kerry Greenwood's other long running series—the Phryne Fisher mysteries: mystery (of course), good food, gorgeous young men and a sassy central female character...a delicious offering." –

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Australian author Greenwood's winning fourth Corinna Chapman mystery (after 2009's Devil's Food) boasts a large, eclectic cast of friends and associates of the hefty Melbourne baker, starting with Corinna's handsome and mysterious Israeli boyfriend, Daniel Cohen. Intriguing supporting players include apprentice baker Jason, an ex-heroin addict; aspiring actresses Kylie and Goss, who work in Corinna's bakery, Earthly Delights, while awaiting their big break; Mistress Dread, who runs an s&m shop; Meroe, a witch who operates Sibyl's Cave; and many, many cats. A gathering of witches in Melbourne to celebrate Samhain; a man named Barnabas who calls himself "king of the witches"; a rash of bad drug reactions; a cache of valuables stolen from Greek Jews during WWII; and the appearance of Daniel's beautiful and svelte former girlfriend, Georgiana Hope, add up to a rich confection that nicely balances humor, villainy and a puzzle. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Corinna Chapman's bakery and her boyfriend both come under siege. Corinna (Devil's Food, 2008, etc.) is understandably upset when a "hot bread shop" opens just down the street in Melbourne from Earthly Delights. The chain store's product is inferior to hers, but its prices much cheaper. Even more upsetting is the "old friend" who's come to visit Corinna's lover Daniel: stunning blonde Georgiana, who apparently has her eye on both Daniel and Earthly Delights. Meanwhile, seemingly ordinary people are going crazy and jumping off buildings in the neighborhood. The police close all shops serving food when they discover that an ergot fungus is the cause. All Corinna's friends from Insula, the unusual Roman-style apartment house where she lives, rally round to provide comfort to the stricken Earthly Delights bakers, who fear that bad rye mistakenly delivered to but not used by them is the source of the ergot. Corinna's friend, the powerful witch Meroe, has her own troubles; she doesn't approve of the carryings-on by some of the Wiccans gathered in Melbourne for Samhain celebrations. Daniel, a private investigator, is pursuing treasures stolen by Nazis from the Jews of Greece, and the case heats up when several valuable pieces turn up underwater at the witches' camping area. As the two plots converge, Corinna and Daniel combine their sleuthing abilities to identify the fiendish malefactor. Working a case loosely based on a true story, Corinna and her friends are as delightful as ever, the killer a surprise and the appended recipes a treat.
From the Publisher
“A gathering of witches in Melbourne to celebrate Samhain; a man named Barnabas who calls himself “king of the witches”; a rash of bad drug reactions; a cache of valuables stolen from Greek Jews during WWII; and the appearance of Daniel’s beautiful and svelte former girlfriend, Georgiana Hope, add up to a rich confection that nicely balances humor, villainy and a puzzle.” –Publishers Weekly on Trick or Treat
“Working a case loosely based on a true story, Corinna and her friends are as delightful as ever, the killer a surprise and the appended recipes a treat.” –Kirkus Reviews on Trick or Treat
“Lose all thought of New Year’s diets, you who enter Australian author Greenwood’s delectable second Corinna Chapman cozy (after 2007’s Earthly Delights).” Publishers Weekly on Heavenly Pleasures

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Product Details

Bolinda Publishing Pty, Limited
Publication date:
Corinna Chapman Series, #4
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.64(w) x 6.71(h) x 1.05(d)

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Trick or Treat

A Corinna Chapman Mystery
By Kerry Greenwood

Poisoned Pen Press

Copyright © 2007 Kerry Greenwood
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59058-532-0

Chapter One

Four am, in my experience, contains many things. Darkness, cold, solitude, gloom, despair, madness—

I'll begin again. My name is Corinna Chapman and I am a baker, which means that in order to supply my shop, Earthly Delights, with bread to feed the suffering multitudes, I need to rise from my downy couch at four in the morning and get it all started. This has slightly soured my sweet nature, particularly this morning, because in that said downy couch reposed my dear and beautiful Daniel, a sabra of great gentleness and charm, and I could think of lots of things to be doing with him which did not involve ever leaving my bed.

But business is business, as my old mentor Papa Pagliacci used to say, and four am is four am and here I was, my apprentice beside me, bringing the bakery to life. Coffee steamed in its pot. The dough hooks clicked, the mixers mixed and the scent of spices lay heavy around Jason, who was making a mix for the Welsh bread. For an ex-junkie he had filled out beautifully. His hair was thick and curly, like Harpo Marx, though confined severely for work under his white cap. His bones were all decently covered now. His hands and arms were developing the baker's muscles, sturdy, able to knead recalcitrant rye bread for fifteen minutes without a pause which might stiffen the dough. I was so proud of him. I looked away before he caught me staring at him. Jason embarrasses easily.

It was beginning to get light outside—what our ancestors used to call piccaninny daylight. Dreary and grey, but light.

I inspected the night's massacre of vermin. Four mice and a rat. The rat was as big as a kitten. Erk. Much as I love most furry creatures, I have never been able to extend this affection to rats, though I am fond of mice and indeed used to have them as pets when I was a child. It's something about the naked tails, I believe. I disposed of the corpses in the bin and opened the street door to allow Heckle and Jekyll, my Mouse Police, out into the lane. They were going to hunt down and kill the tuna scraps which either Kiko or Ian at the Japanese restaurant were happy to give them. They belted off in a blur of black and white in search of endangered species of the Southern Ocean in order to render them more gravely endangered. There was a rather endearing scamper of hard paws on the stone floor.

Then I heard someone singing. Not the usual type heard at this hour in Calico Alley. Drunks, these days, do not sing 'Show me the way to go home', a song made to be slurred. No, they sing 'Heartbreak Hotel'. Almost invariably, in my experience. In a key of their own devising. And this wasn't 'Heartbreak Hotel' or any Elvis number. I didn't know it. But it was sweet and clear and I caught some unfamiliar words, 'Wassail, wassail, all over the town ...' Then something about a 'white maple tree'. I could not see the singer. He or she was up at the other end of Flinders Lane, near the newly opened (curse its blood) hot bread shop.

The voice ceased. Odd. But nice. I went back inside to work on the bara brith, contemplating the hot bread shop.

It's not as though I have anything against the provision of new bread to the populace. The more fresh bread the better. Fewer polystyrene plastic-wrapped loaves means a better, more well nourished world. But did a hot bread shop, which was part of a chain and therefore able to keep its prices down, have to set up just along the street from me? Was there not enough of Melbourne, really quite a big city, for Best Fresh Bread to sell in that they had to come to my little corner? I felt like Eeyore talking about his sad and boggy place. Locus tristis et palustris, as the Professor would say.

Jason said, 'I think that's kneaded all right,' and I realised that I had knocked down the poor Welsh bread practically to its component molecules. No one could say that it wasn't worked enough. I set it aside to prove again, if the yeast had any breath left.

Jason delivered his report on Best Fresh's bread. It was succinct. 'It's crap,' he said.

'You must be able to say more than that,' I replied.

'Complete crap,' he elaborated.

Well, that's sixteen and male for you. I'd have to send a qualified appraiser to buy some for me.

The sun came up. The paper person flung the paper and missed killing anyone. I am sure that is his aim. He biked off, mumbling, 'Foiled again!' into his skimpy adolescent beard. Something huge loomed over me in the shadowy alley. A hand as big as a loaf reached for me.

But it was all right. It was Ma'ani, driver of the Soup Run bus, who oddly enough never has any trouble with rough behaviour on his shift. Even the wild boys instinctively know that it is better not to taunt someone who is over six feet in every dimension, especially across the shoulders. Those who don't have the instinct speedily acquire it. I remember seeing Ma'ani pick up a brawling fightingmad drunk by the waist and dip him head first into a city fountain until he calmed down. Which he did, really quite fast. Ma'ani had come for the bread which I donate everyday to the Soup Run, which feeds the poor and homeless. Last shift. He swung the sack easily over his massive back and grinned, teeth white in the shadows.

'All right, Corinna? Hey, Jason,' he said.

'You making a pick-up from Best Fresh?' demanded Jason suspiciously.

'That new place? Nah. They got a contract with a pig food manufacturer,' he said. 'Rather feed it to pigs than people. Sister was cross.'

'I bet she was,' I said appreciatively. Sister Mary is a diminutive nun with a will of adamant. If there is anything harder than adamant—it's just diamond, isn't it?—then she has a will of it. She would really not be impressed with Best Fresh deciding not to feed her lambs. In favour of pigs and further profit ... ouch.

However, ours not to dwell on the discomfiture of others, ours to make more bread. The day was getting on and the coffee maker was getting into its stride. No coffee, no baking, is my equation. I need no funny drinks with ingredients which will be banned once Food and Health works out what they are. Just the aromatic bean, pure arabica, joy! I poured the sacred second cup which has to wait until all the mixers are mixing. Fragrant, hot and pure. Bliss.

Jason left to try to beat his record in scoffing the Trucker's Special breakfast at Cafe Delicious, where the Pandamus family clean up betting on him. I sat down to listen to the bread rising, a small sound like a crinkle in the air. So soft that I could be imagining it. A sound that comes from a very long way away in time, when they discovered leavening in Ancient Egypt and the Pharaoh's maidens sat down in a mud-brick kitchen and waited for the dough to rise, just as I was doing in my clean tiled bakery with the machines clicking. They would, however, have been drinking beer, not coffee. The other great gift of yeast.

'Blessed be,' said someone from the street door. Without turning round I knew it was Meroe, my friend and jobbing witch, as 'blessed be' is a Wicca greeting. Meroe came in. She is a thin woman with a sharply defined face and long black hair. She always wears black garments and a brightly coloured shawl or drape. Today's was a length of sky-blue silk with fluffy white clouds on it. She was carrying a basket and offered me an apple. It was a shiny scarlet apple and all too, too Brothers Grimm for this early in the morning.

'Will I go to sleep for a hundred years?' I asked, taking it.

'Probably not,' she replied. 'Anyway, it is too late for you, Corinna. You have already got your prince. Don't be greedy.'

'True, true,' I said, and bit. It was a perfect apple, crisp and juicy and just tart enough. 'And what can I offer you? Jason's date and walnut muffins, just out of the oven? Bara brith in an hour or so, poppy seed rolls? Nice loaf of rye?'

'Rye,' said Meroe. 'And one of those muffins—no, make it two. Is this a new recipe?'

'Yes, he has been working on it for a week. I reckon he's got the balance of fruit and nut just about right now. He minces the dates so that they are distributed through the whole mix. Nice?' I asked, as she broke one of the muffins and took a bite.

'Superb,' she said. 'Tell him so, will you?' She gave me some money and was about to leave when someone came stumbling down Calico Alley, wailing.

The Mouse Police belted inside as though wolves were after them and cowered in their bed of sacks. The wailer got closer. It was an eerie noise. Not like someone crying or screaming, but keening in a tired little voice that sounded like it had been going on forever.

Meroe stepped out into the alley. Witches never run away from anything, even when it might be wiser to do so. I had to go with her, though I didn't want to and the noise was, as the girls say, creeping me out. The wailer was a young man. He was wringing his hands and wailing, and now he was closer I could hear words. 'Gone, gone,' he said. 'Gone, gone, gone. My hands. My hands! Gone, gone, gone ...'

Meroe stepped in front of him and took both of his hands in her own.

'Your hands are here,' she said in a clear tone, calculated to pierce through a drug-affected fog. 'Here. Look at them.'

'Gone, gone,' mourned the young man. He seemed unaware of Meroe's existence. He kept bumping against her in a vague way, as though she was a wall in his path. She turned him gently so that he was facing an actual wall and he continued to try to walk through it.

'Call an ambulance, Corinna,' she instructed me and I went inside to do so.

I have the number on my speed dial. The drug-fucked are not unknown in Calico Alley, though usually they just lie down and go blue, or spend their energy fighting the air. The irritating wail continued, setting my teeth on edge. It was getting to the Mouse Police, too, and I would have said they were as tough a pair of streetfighting moggies as one could wish not to meet down a dark alley. But they didn't like this, and they had huddled together, buried in their flour sacks, and clearly weren't coming out until the noise went away. I wished I could do the same.

In ten minutes the ambulance was in Flinders Lane and two competent ambos were jumping down. The young man wailed at them, too, and they also attempted to demonstrate to him that he had hands while he insisted that he didn't.

'Not the usual run of junkie,' commented one ambo. Her name was Julie, and I had met her before. Her mate was Tom.

'No,' I said, actually looking at the wailer. He was dressed in a good grey suit, shirt and tie fresh on today, shiny black shoes, designer haircut. 'Not at all. I wonder what he's taken?'

'He can't tell us,' said Tom. 'Might be ice. Might not be anything at all. Might be a fruitcake. Plenty of them around. Load him up, Jules, and we'd better get on. Nice to see you again, Corinna,' he said. He collected their reward of two muffins, and the ambulance left. The wailing died away, to my considerable relief.

'That was strange,' I said to Meroe. 'Very,' she agreed.

'And unsettling,' I went on.

'Yes,' she said. We looked at one another for a moment. Real insanity is the most frightening thing in the world.

Well, except for large homicidal maniacs with machetes. They are bad, too. But that faint, relentless voice from that dried-up throat, mourning the loss of his hands—I shook myself.

The Mouse Police burrowed up out of their sacks and began a relieved and slightly embarrassed wash. Yes, we are tough, they implied, but no cat could be expected to put up with that frightful noise, I mean, could they? Not with ears like ours. And I had to agree with them. I poured myself another cup of coffee. Jason came back. Meroe took her leave, and baked bread began to happen.

Once we had the orders sorted out and the wire racks of the shop all filled, it was time to meet my shop assistant of the day. It was either Goss or Kylie who was jumping up and down with impatience in the street, both hands under armpits, getting some warmth out of her shrug. The girls change hair colour and even eye colour so often that I am not at all sure what they actually look like. Since they have taken to covering their navel rings, I have no chance, and just ask who it is every day. This girl had pink hair and bright blue eyes and said she was Kylie. And I had no reason to believe that she was fibbing. I unlocked the shop door and the scent of baking flooded out into the cold street. Kylie took a deep, appreciative sniff.

'Scrumptious!' she said. 'What's the muffin today, Jase?'

'Jason,' said Jason sternly. Names were important to him. 'It's date and walnut. Want one?'

'Half a one,' temporised Kylie, who was on a perpetual diet. 'Corinna can have the other half. It doesn't matter to her.'

This was true. I weigh about a hundred kilograms, am as healthy as a horse, and have no truck or any other kind of vehicle with diets. People who intend to offer me their latest weight loss miracle diet, pill, rare oriental herb or tea can find another sucker. Daniel thinks I'm beautiful. So there.

Jason tore a muffin in two, gave half to me and half to Kylie, and went back into the bakery to meet the carrier who would take my bread to all corners of the city. I don't really need a shop to make a living—my bread sells very well to restaurants and cafes—but I like to see the smiles on the faces as the poor starved peons of the city buy a little mouthful of pleasure to sweeten their long, long days.

My own view is that everyone works too hard and too long and they ought to get out more. There isn't time in their improverished lives to do anything creative, or even to just sit and stare, one of my favourite occupations. And how the wired-in young—never without their music, never out of touch because of mobile phones, constantly sharing everything, even pictures—are going to cope if they ever encounter solitude and silence is another thing. They might easily go mad ... which brought me to the handless wailer again. What could send someone off into that sort of delusion? It didn't sound like a drug. Perhaps he just cracked. Working in the city at present was enough to make anyone break down ...

Meanwhile, Horatio, my tabby and white gentleman, had descended to the shop, where he took up his position next to the cash register. I removed the float from the mop bucket—no adolescent male burglar was going to look in a mop bucket— and Kylie pulled the blinds on a new day. Earthly Delights was open for business.

Which was slow. Despite the admirable muffins, created by Jason the Muffin Master, despite the scent of fresh baking and caraway seeds and fruit, the hordes failed to arrive. I went out into the lane to see if my suspicions were correct, and saw that they were. Best Fresh was doing very good business.

But the faithful eventually did arrive at Earthly Delights in sufficient numbers so that the day was not a total loss. Some people valued organic ingredients, fine spices and perfect skill over a fifty cent price difference.

'They'll get sick of it,' said Kylie. 'They're just going there because it's new. Don't stress on it, Corinna,' she said, and I decided not to stress on it. There was nothing I could do about it anyway, short of firebombing the place. Which I was trying not to consider.

We all live in an eccentric building called Insula, which is Latin for an apartment house, and it is a Roman apartment house. Every flat has a theme and a name—I, for instance, live in Hebe, the handmaid of the gods—and we have an impluvium full of goldfish in the lobby and a roof garden with a temple of Ceres, complete with a statue of the goddess. How it escaped the vandalism of the sixties I do not know, but it is perfect, sparkling, very comfortable and home to as rich a collection of interesting people as I could ever imagine. They were all, I could tell, going to come in and buy bread today, to make me feel better about Best Fresh. Even, perhaps, Mrs. Pemberthy, who is always accompanied by her rotten little doggie, Traddles. Horatio ignores Traddles as beneath the notice of a nobly born cat.

And here they came, my fellow tenants. Mrs. Dawson, back from her bracing early morning walk, was the first. She bought a loaf of rye bread and a muffin, tendering, as usual, the correct money. She caressed Horatio briefly. He allowed this with royal condescension.


Excerpted from Trick or Treat by Kerry Greenwood Copyright © 2007 by Kerry Greenwood. Excerpted by permission of Poisoned Pen Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Kerry Greenwood is the author of more than 40 novels and six non-fiction books. Among her many honors, Ms. Greenwood1 has received the Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award from the Crime Writers’ Association of Australia. When she is not writing she is an advocate in Magistrates’ Courts for the Legal Aid Commission. She is not married, has no children and lives with a registered Wizard.

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Trick or Treat (Corinna Chapman Series #4) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
kaywKK More than 1 year ago
Another great read from Kerry Greenwood. Love the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
These are wonderful character filled stories. Not murder mysteries in the Christie or Spade manner but insightful visits with dear friends in a stressful situation. Very like the people in "The Number one Ladies Detective Agency." Please Ms. Greenwood write more and more of these.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enough to buy everyone on nook without waiting for 99cents csn sny one do more than that? this does not include fisher which i read from library though enjoy clothes on t v pbs mom
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
huckfinn37 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Kerry Greenwood has done it again. I love the love story between Daniel and Corinna. I liked this one because an old friend named Georgie makes Corinna jealous. I love Menoe, the witch. The ending was a bit of a surprise. Australia, here I come.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Melbourne, large size baker Corinna Chapman becomes concerned when competition moves in down the block from her Earthy Delights bakery. She knows her food is superior to the chain, but their prices are much less than hers. At the same time she is panicky over her shop, an old friend visits her Israeli boyfriend, Daniel Cohen who is busy searching for stolen by the Nazis loot owned by Greek Jews. Georgiana is gorgeous and appears to want Daniel and though she admits to herself jealousy might taint her opinion Corinna believes the bakery too. As she struggles to hold on to her business, perfectly sane people are jumping off buildings to their deaths. The police shut down foods shops to investigate the root cause. Meanwhile her friend Meroe the witch owner of Sibyl's Cave is unhappy with the gathering to celebrate Samhain. Soon the food issue, the stolen loot, and the witches' coven camp converge as a deadly predator has been working the neighborhood. The latest Chapman mystery is a superb amateur sleuth that deftly merges several mysteries with the Lonsdale Street neighborhood goings-on that impact the lead heroine and her friends. The story line is fast-paced from the first confection to the final confrontation as Kerry Greenwood bakes a delightful Australian tale with a terrific twist that will send readers to the previous HEAVENLY PLEASURES of the EARTHY DELIGHTS Bakery. Harriet Klausner