Chocolate can inspire lots of things, but a trip into the forest isn’t usually one of them. But Inspector Bobby Owen’s wife, Olive, is desperate to find the source of some uncommonly good chocolates and the woman who makes them lives deep in the woods. As do a strange hermit, a girl with a pet squirrel and various assorted odd-balls.
But things aren’t as simple as hunting down a recipe. When the hermit’s hovel is found abandoned with blood on the floor, Bobby finds himself investigating a case involving not only the source of the chocolates, but missing El Greco paintings, a missing artefact – the titular Diabolic Candelabra – and a possible cure for cancer… Oh, and the fact that while Bobby is convinced there has been a murder, there’s the small matter of a missing body…
The seventeenth of the thirty-five Bobby Owen mysteries, and I’ve read a few of these over the last couple of years. I’ve generally enjoyed them, but I’ve been looking for an outstanding read, the classic in the series. I was under the impression that this was that classic, the jewel in the series…
I was wrong.
To be honest, this is a complex multi-layered mystery that many may well enjoy, but for me, the layers were too many and too disparate. When Bobby switches his investigation from one to the other, it seemed a jump into a different story altogether. I’ve mentioned before that recently, due to other things happening (a.k.a. real life), my attention span isn’t at its best, but here I had to keep flicking back and re-reading bits to keep things straight (or as straight as possible) in my head.
At the end of the day, though, I didn’t really get on with this one. Have you read it? What did you think? As I said, I don’t think I was in the best frame of mind for it, so I’d really like someone to defend it. But it really wasn’t for me at all.
I do recommend people read the comments below where several fellow bloggers give their opinions on this one to give the other side of the story.