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Chocoholic Mysteries is an armchair/amateur sleuth/Cozy Mystery series by Eve K. Sandstrom under the pen name JoAnna Carl. It features Lee McKinney, debuting at age sixteen in a short story, and then reintroduced in the first novel as a 28-year-old who's abandoned her marriage to a man who saw her as little more than a trophy wife and moved from Texas to the resort town of Warner Pier, Michigan, where she works as the bookkeeper at her Aunt Jeanette "Nettie" TenHuis's chocolate shop, TenHuis Chocolade (the name is pronounced Ten-hice). However, her new life comes with unwanted surprises as she finds herself stumbling onto murder mysteries.

The series initially ran from 2001 to 2016, with the sixteenth book intended to be the last. However, it resumed in 2019.

The series consists of:

  • #00: "The Chocolate Kidnapping Clue" (2001; short story)note 
    • As a teenager, Lee McKinney spends her summer vacation working at her aunt and uncle's chocolate shop in Warner Pier, and finds herself investigating mysterious goings-on in town.
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  • #01: The Chocolate Cat Caper (2002)
  • #02: The Chocolate Bear Burglary (2002)
  • #03: The Chocolate Frog Frame-Up (2003)
  • #04: The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle (2004)
  • #05: The Chocolate Mouse Trap (2005)
  • #06: The Chocolate Bridal Bash (2006)
  • #07: The Chocolate Jewel Case (2007)
  • #08: The Chocolate Snowman Murders (2008)
  • #09: The Chocolate Cupid Killings (2009)
  • #10: The Chocolate Pirate Plot (2010)
  • #11: The Chocolate Castle Clue (2011)
  • #12: The Chocolate Moose Motive (2012)
  • #13: The Chocolate Book Bandit (2013)
  • #14: The Chocolate Clown Corpse (2014)
  • #15: The Chocolate Falcon Fraud (2015)
  • #16: The Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha (2016)
  • #17: The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans (2019)
  • #18: The Chocolate Raccoon Rigmarole (2021)

Two omnibus editions have also been released:

  • Crime de Cocoa: Three Chocoholic Mysteries (2005; collects "The Chocolate Kidnapping Clue" and books 1-3)
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  • Chocolate to Die For (2010; collects books 4 and 5)


This series provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic:
    • Recurring character Timothy Hart, first introduced in Bear Burglary. He's been in and out of treatment for it several times, and it eventually cost him his driver's license. When he appears in Puppy Puzzle, he proudly states that he's been sober for nine months now. Book Bandit, however, reveals he's fallen off the wagon again.
    • Lorraine Davidson, daughter of the murder victim in Clown Corpse. By the end of the book, she's in rehab for it.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Abrey Andrews Armstrong, a suspicious character featured in Puppy Puzzle.
    • Sheppard "Shep" Stone, a retired photographer featured in Castle Clue.
  • Amoral Attorney: Clementine Ripley, the Victim of the Week in Cat Caper. Among other things, she accepted Troy Sheepshanks as a client when he'd been driving drunk and had struck and killed another person; the District Attorney wouldn't even press charges simply because it was her on the opposite side. As a direct result, the man got his license back, drove drunk again and caused another death, this time of Lee's maternal uncle Phil.
  • Berserk Button: As discussed in Castle Clue, don't ever call Lee "stupid" or any variant thereof. Years of people being surprised that she has both looks and smarts, and of being laughed at for her malapropism, have left her with a deep-seated need for people to recognize that she is an intelligent person. Consequently, being called "stupid" leaves her in a seething rage at the person who does so.
  • Big Fun: Red-headed Dorothea "Dolly" Jolly, introduced in Frog Frame-Up, is six-foot-three, 250 pounds, and pretty much always cheerful.
  • Blackmail: More than one book features a villain who was doing this.
    • The villains of Bridal Bash blackmailed a wealthy man for their own purposes.
    • The villain of Book Bandit indulged in this, having caught another character illicitly storing things in the library basement, and convinced them to give her a grant in return for the villain's silence.
  • Cassandra Truth: In Frog Frame-Up, town crank Hershel Perkins has been claiming that the Root Beer Barrel, an old and historic building which has been closed down for years and was in bad shape, was knocked down illegally. Everyone else says it just fell down in a snowstorm. Hershel, it turns out, is right about the building having been knocked down illegally, though wrong about whom he claims had been responsible (and the actual culprit is also the one who eventually killed him to shut him up).
  • Childhood Brain Damage:
    • In Frog Frame-Up, Patsy Waterloo states that her brother Hershel Perkins (who's widely regarded as the town crank, has gone missing and is soon to become the book's murder victim) was officially diagnosed with "minimal brain damage caused by a birth injury".
    • In Castle Clue, Kathy Street is noted as having had some kind of brain damage at birth; her older twin sister Margo has been taking care of her for most of her life.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: In Bear Burglary, Lee discovers that the girl her former stepson is helping has bruises on her arms, left by a guy she went out with once who's been harassing her ever since and covered up by her sweatshirt.
  • The Cracker: The antagonist of Mouse Trap turns out to be one of these, who'd unleashed viruses on groups they didn't approve of and later used them on several people in order to try and cover up evidence of their crimes.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Royal Hollis in Clown Corpse, who isn't quite normal after getting out of the army (and his head injury doesn't help). He spends most of his time camping out rather than relying on professional aid, which is part of what gets him in trouble in the book. Thankfully, by the end, his daughter has convinced him to get mental help.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Early in Frog Frame-Up, Lee has a hard time getting her boyfriend Joe on his landline, and he soon finds he can't call out either. When he finally gets a repairman out to look at it, it's discovered that someone had cut the line.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Jewel Case opens with a man coming to Lee's door and claiming to be Andy Woodyard, the father of her husband Joe. However, Lee knows full well that her father-in-law's been dead for thirty years. It's later confirmed to have been an impostor, Andy's brother-in-law Art Arkin — a member of a gang of thieves.
  • A Degree in Useless: In Book Bandit, librarian Betty Blake considers her bachelor's degree in English to be this, because she was told that if she got one, she'd be in line to become the new library director... except soon after she did, they hired a man with a master's degree in library science for the job instead.
  • Dirty Cop: Former sheriff Carl Van Hoosier in Bridal Bash, who had a habit of taking bribes from the summer people (AKA wealthy people with part-time residences in the area) in Warner Pier to look the other way when they were breaking the law. He ultimately had to resign for it sometime after Lee's mother left town.
  • Disney Villain Death: Not exactly a villain, but in Bear Burglary, it's explained that fifteen years before, Congressman Vic VanHorn had been out walking down to the lakeshore during a storm when the embankment gave way under him. As a result, he fell, hit his head on something, and died. Then subverted when it turns out this was a lie. He'd died when a china cabinet fell on his head after his son Hart, acting in defense of Hart's mother, punched Vic into said china cabinet. To cover it up and make Vic's death look like an accident, Hart and his mother threw the body over the embankment and then destroyed as much of the cabinet in the fireplace as they could.
  • Distant Prologue: "Kidnapping Clue", the short story that kicks off the series, features Lee as a sixteen-year-old who's staying with her aunt and uncle for the summer. The first novel then picks up twelve years later, when she's twenty-eight and has moved up to work in their shop full-time.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: Richard Godfrey divorced his first wife Dina, married Lee, then she divorced him. After Lee's blowup at him in Cat Caper, Bear Burglary reveals that she really shook him up with her words; as a result, he ends up reconnecting with Dina, and by the end of that book they've remarried.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Wildflower Hill in Moose Motive. As a pacifist who believes in nonviolence, she won't allow anyone to keep guns on her property, which is why her grandson-in-law had to entrust his own pistol to his father for safekeeping.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • Emotionally controlling version in the form of Richard Godfrey, Lee's ex-husband. Among other things, he actively tried to obstruct her efforts to get a degree, and was furious when she not only succeeded, she made the dean's list in the process; in Cat Caper, when he finds out she's in some trouble in Warner Pier, he tries to worm his way back into her life via paying her legal bills, but she recognizes this as another attempt to control her and rejects him again. Bear Burglary reveals that he was actually shocked out of his previous behavior by her blow-up at him, and changes for the better as a result.
    • In Bear Burglary, Nettie mentions a former employee of hers who ultimately had to move all the way across the country to get away from an abusive husband.
    • Snowman Murders reveals that Nettie, along with Sarajane Harding and George Jenkins, is involved in a sort of Underground Railroad that helps battered women escape from worst-case situations of this.
  • Dumb Blonde: As noted in Bear Burglary, Rich Godfrey wanted one of these for his wife and thought Lee was one because of her speech impediment. When he found out she was actually very intelligent, it was the beginning of the end for their marriage.
  • Eco-Terrorist: In Mouse Trap, when tracking the virus aimed at the computers of the people who were a part of Julie Singletree's mailing list, it's identified as being the same one used by one of these, who claimed to support ecology, but did so by sending viruses to companies he thought didn't use ecological principles he approved of. The same person turns out to be the killer, who murders his own cousin when she unintentionally copies his death threat to someone into a message she sent out on her mailing list.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Discussed in Mouse Trap. Lee learns from Chief Jones that the night Julie Singletree died, the fish tank she used for her pet mouse Blondie was knocked over, and the animal escaped. Both get a chuckle out of the thought of it popping up and triggering this reaction from one of the officers who's looking around the apartment.
  • The Exile: Bridal Bash reveals that Sally TenHuis (now McKinney) had to flee her hometown for her safety, and the town sheriff essentially forbade her from ever returning. She eventually does return in that book, and it nearly gets her killed. Thankfully, she's rescued, and the ones responsible are all arrested.
  • Faked Kidnapping: This is the plot of the debut story "Kidnapping Clue", in which a teenage girl, one of the summer people at Warner Pier, arranges her own kidnapping by another teenager in order to get attention from her mother (who'd basically left the girl at their home in town and run off to Europe with a boyfriend for the summer).
  • False Confession: In Clown Corpse, Royal Hollis makes comments that the police interpret as a confession to the murder of Moe Davidson. He's confirmed innocent, with the real killer behind bars, by the end of the book.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: In Mouse Trap, when Julie Singletree is murdered and Lee's trying to figure out the killer's motive, one of the suspects she comes up with (who turns out to be innocent) is a gay man who, along with his partner, had been keeping it secret from the partner's elderly father (who was ninety and living in a nursing home, and thought they were just friends); Julie had earlier encouraged them to be open about their relationship to him, and finally casually outed the pair to the man, to their fury.
  • Frame-Up: In Moose Motive, the book's second death turns out to be a case of this — the actual killer murdered someone who'd been causing trouble for him, then arranged for another person to find the body, knowing the police would automatically suspect her (since she was already a suspect in the first murder) as a result.
  • Friend on the Force: Hogan Jones, the chief of police for Warner Pier, is this for Lee, especially after he marries her aunt Nettie. However, this doesn't always help — some of the state police and the sheriff's department suspect that he's helping keep her out of trouble whenever she gets involved in a crime, either as the target or just because she found the body.
  • Gossipy Hens: Male variant in Gregory Glossop, one of the town pharmacists, who's better known as "Greg Gossip" for his notorious gossiping habit.
  • Hide the Evidence: In Moose Motive, when Lee's found their footprints and made plaster casts that could potentially be used to identify someone who's been prowling around an area and might be the killer, the villain of the book (who's apparently been spying on her) promptly smashes the casts and then rakes over the original prints to destroy them when she leaves the area for a short time.
  • Hollywood Psych: In Castle Clue, Kathy Street suffered brain damage at birth, so her mother made Kathy's twin sister Margo be always responsible for her. It's unclear even to the characters if this resulted in Kathy developing Dependent Personality Disorder, requiring her sister to always be there for her, but she apparently has an official diagnosis of it.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the book titles start with the words "The Chocolate" and follow it with a two-word term, nearly always alliterative (such as "Cat Caper" or "Bear Burglary") or alliterative-sounding (such as "Kidnapping Clue" or "Cupid Killings").
  • In-Series Nickname: It's a tradition that members of the Smith family in Moose Motive always have nicknames; Rupert C. Smith III explains that it helps them stand out as individuals, since their last name is so common. For instance, he goes by "Ace", his son Rupert IV was Buzz, and Buzz's cousin was Chip. In the final chapter, Buzz's toddler son John, who was born on Friday the 13th, is officially nicknamed "Lucky John".
  • Inspector Javert: Sergeant McCullough of the Lake Knapp police in Snowman Murders, who is bound and determined to prove that Lee and/or her husband are responsible for the two murders in the book, simply because they were the last two people who might have seen Fletcher Mendenhall alive and have a motive to kill him (he was an obnoxious drunk who flirted with Lee and didn't want to take no for an answer). Even after she gets chased by the real killer, he's convinced that she faked it to throw the cops off the trail. Fortunately, the state police and Warner Pier police are able to keep him from going too far.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: In "Kidnapping Clue", Lee (then a teenager) meets and, after some initial nervousness, becomes friends with Inez Deacon, a retired schoolteacher.
  • Ironic Name: In Jewel Case, two of the characters are revealed in the last chapter to be named John Tallboy and Kurt Small. However, their surnames and their physical descriptions are exact opposites: Tallboy is short, and Small is tall.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: In Bear Burglary, Gail Hess apparently went out of her way to copy Celia Carmichal's looks. Celia, for her part, found it extremely annoying.
  • Killed Offscreen: Pretty much all of the victims in the series.
  • The Kindnapper: Clown Corpse has Lee in this role when she "kidnaps" Emma Davidson, currently a patient at the hospital, at the woman's request in order to protect her — someone's already tried to kill her once, and she doesn't feel safe there.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Several of the victims throughout the series are murdered because they found out what the culprit was up to, or at least part of it.
  • The Maiden Name Debate:
    • Both Jeanette TenHuis (born Jeanette Vanderheide) and Sally McKinney (born Sally TenHuis) kept their husband's names when they were widowed and divorced, respectively. Jeanette later added her second husband's surname of Jones when she remarried.
    • It's never specified whether or not Lee herself had changed her name when she married and later divorced Richard Godfrey. However, when she marries a second time, she has it legally changed to Lee McKinney Woodyard.
    • Regina "Gina" Woodyard, a serial monogamist (her most recent husband as of Jewel Case, a man named Art Atkins, was probably number five) apparently used to change her name to match her husband's, until she got to the point where she stopped because she wasn't staying married to them long enough.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The second murder in Book Bandit. It's revealed the victim was killed by a blow to the head, and then a bookcase was pushed over on her to fool everyone else.
  • Malaproper:
    • Lee has a tendency to accidentally say the wrong word when she's nervous. She's annoyed by this trait, feeling it makes her sound like she's stupid; in Cat Caper, she actually thinks to herself that if she's going to have a speech impediment, she'd rather have a lisp, since at least people would recognize that as a problem.
    • Mikki White, introduced in Pirate Plot, has the same problem.
  • May–December Romance: Joe Woodyard's first wife, Clementine Ripley, was fifteen years older than him. The trope name is even mentioned in a tabloid headline ("TOP WOMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY MARRIES TOYBOY LOVER IN MAY-DECEMBER ROMANCE") in Bear Burglary.
  • Middle Name Basis: As revealed in Bridal Bash, Lee was born Susanna Lee McKinney. It's not said why she prefers her middle name over her first though.
  • Moral Guardians: G. Ann Vanderklomp, a former English teacher introduced in Book Bandit, has rather strong opinions about books and what kinds have "literary merit", and has been trying to enforce her views on everyone else — she publicly scolded a girl for reading a romance novel in the cafeteria, and did the same to another English teacher for letting a student do a book report on a Star Wars novel. She's such a stickler for it that she's been going through the books donated to the library for its collection and removing ones she finds objectionable, all because they aren't up to her standards — like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, romance novels, or westerns by Zane Grey — and storing them in an old closet in the library basement.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: In Puppy Puzzle, Aubrey Andrews Armstrong named his dog Montezuma (or Monte for short), a chocolate Labrador, after the famed Aztec emperor and chocolate drinker of the same name.
  • Never Suicide:
    • As discussed in Bridal Bash, when Sally TenHuis' fiancé Bill Dykstra was found dead, it was believed to be a suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning; he'd shut himself in his car with a rubber hose leading from the exhaust pipe. One of his friends, however, managed to convince himself for years that it had to have been a murder, and by the book's end, he turns out to be right.
    • Happens again in Castle Clue, where Dan Rice's death was ruled a suicide forty-five years before. His wife remained convinced it was an accident, but it's ultimately proven to have been murder.
  • No Indoor Voice: Everything about Dorothea "Dolly" Jolly (introduced in Frog Frame-Up) is big, including her voice. She does make an effort to tone it down when she wants to keep things quiet in Puppy Puzzle though.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: Early in Castle Clue, Lee is going through a garage full of twenty-five years' worth of accumulation from TenHuis Chocolade. Most of it gets pitched or given away, but the last cabinet drawer contains items belonging to Lee's aunt Nettie from her high school years, including a trophy from a talent show. Lee's delivery of it to Nettie and her friends is what kicks off the latest mystery, since they won the trophy the night that Dan Rice, who was hosting the talent show, was found dead.
  • Ponzi: One of the villains in Cat Caper was doing this. He ultimately manipulated another woman into stealing from her boss to feed more money into the same scheme, which is what led to their exposure when they murdered said boss in order to try and cover things up.
  • Posthumous Character: "Kidnapping Clue" features Lee's uncle Phil (her mother's brother), who's in direct charge of his and his wife's chocolate shop. Cat Caper, picking up twelve years later, reveals that Phil had died in a car accident (caused by a drunk driver) eighteen months before the book starts, but he remains an important part of the background throughout the series.
  • Publicity Stunt: Much of Pirate Plot revolves around one, starting where a trio of "pirates" pop up on Lake Michigan, board people's yachts, do a little show, and then sail away again. The grand finale is when they appear on a massive yacht belonging to actor Marco Spear (who'd recently starred in the movie Young Blackbeard), in part to draw attention to his next movie, which he's secretly been preparing for in Warner Pier. The only problem is, he didn't realize that some of the people helping out on the stunt were criminals, who would kidnap him for ransom.
  • Pungeon Master: Charlie McCoy, AKA "Good-Time Charlie" the used care salesman, is always making bad puns in his comedic persona as a salesman. He's a big jokester outside of it too.
  • Raised by Grandparents:
    • Moose Motive features Forsythia, or "Sissy", who was raised by her grandmother, Wildflower Hill, after Sissy's parents died when she was ten or eleven.
    • Attempted in the same book by Rupert "Ace" C. Smith III, Sissy's father-in-law, who's accused her of being responsible for his son's death and is in a bitter custody battle with her for his grandson because he feels she's an unfit mother. He eventually realizes he was wrong about her, and gives up the custody fight.
  • Revealing Cover-Up:
    • During "Kidnapping Clue", the supposed kidnap victim carelessly leaves some of her trash on a nearby beach. When it's been picked up by a local woman (along with all the other trash she finds on the beach), the "kidnapper" tries to Hide the Evidence by running her over in a stolen car and then stealing the trash back from her yard while she's in the hospital. Lee, who was with the woman when she was nearly hit, finds this behavior suspicious and ends up snooping around, leading to her overhearing the "kidnapper" and his "victim" talking about what they're really up to.
    • Clementine Ripley's murder in Cat Caper ends up exposing the finance-based crimes her killers were up to.
  • Revisiting the Cold Case:
    • Happens in Bridal Bash, when Lee ends up delving into the mystery of what happened to her mother Sally's late fiancé, who died the same day that Sally left him before they could get married. It turns out they'd stumbled into a criminal conspiracy and, after he got her away to safety, he got killed by the criminals as a cover-up.
    • Done again in Castle Clue, where the death of Dan Rice is officially solved forty-five years afterward.
  • Runaway Bride: Bridal Bash reveals that Lee's mother Sally was this (because she had to flee for her life, after she and her fiancé stumbled onto a crime)... and that the groom turned up dead later the same day.
  • Second Love: Hogan Jones, the chief of police, is this for Jeanette TenHuis. They start dating at the end of Puppy Puzzle, announce their engagement at the end of Bridal Bash (right after Lee and Joe have gotten married), and (as revealed in Jewel Case) elope while Lee and Joe are on their honeymoon.
  • Secretly Wealthy: The last chapter of Moose Motive reveals this to be the case for Wildflower Hill, born Celestia Fox, who prefers to live simply over showing off her wealth. She does, however, still work with the philanthropic Fox Foundation, which helps support the law firm Joe works for, and which supports those who couldn't otherwise afford it. She's also willing to send her granddaughter to college, which Sissy had been reluctant to do since she thought they couldn't afford it.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Chuck Davidson half-succeeds at becoming one in Clown Corpse, successfully murdering his father Moe and attempting but failing to kill his stepmother Emma.
  • Sent Off to Work for Relatives: In "Kidnapping Clue", while Lee's mother is getting divorced and preparing to move the two of them to Dallas for her new job, she sends Lee to Michigan to work at her aunt Nettie and uncle Phil's luxury chocolate shop for the summer.
  • Significant Monogram: Bridal Bash features Raleigh "Rollie" A. Taylor. His initials spell "rat", and that's exactly what he is — one of the villains, referred to as "Ratso" among their group, who was using blackmail to get money from a wealthy man for years.
  • Starting a New Life: Snowman Murders reveals that there's an Underground Railroad with a base in Warner Pier that helps battered woman (who are trying to escape from potentially murderous physical abusers) do this. It serves as a major plot point in Cupid Killings when a detective is killed while trying to track down one of the women that's being helped to do this.
  • Stealing from the Till:
    • This is what the villains of Cat Caper were ultimately up to, embezzling from the murder victim (who only caught on when her credit card was rejected because they'd spent too much from it) whom one of them worked for as a secretary, handling all her bills and such.
    • The villain of Book Bandit was doing this too. As treasurer for several community organizations, she stole funds from them and funneled it into her husband's failing business. He, it turns out, is completely innocent in the matter, having had no idea what his wife was up to.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Snowman Murders has its first victim, Fletcher Mendenhall, be a former college teacher who made a habit of seducing his female students. He's later murdered by someone out to protect the reputation of one of his former victims.
  • Technical Pacifist: Wildflower Hill in Moose Motive, a hippie-type who believes firmly in nonviolence on moral grounds, which she's passed on to her granddaughter Sissy (short for Forsythia). She makes an exception at the end of the book, lashing out against the book's killer with a fireplace poker in order to defend herself and her family.
  • Throw the Book at Them: How one victim dies in Book Bandit, having been knocked out by a blow to the back of the head from an encyclopedia, and then hit several more times to finish her. Then the killer pushed a bookcase over on her to Make It Look Like an Accident.
  • Trophy Wife: Lee was this to her husband Richard Godfrey, a wealthy real-estate developer from Texas, for five years. Finally, she got fed up with his behavior and left him, taking only her clothes and van to avoid accusations that she was only interested in him for his money.
  • Underground Railroad: Snowman Murders reveals that Lee's aunt Nettie, along with Sarajane Harding and George Jenkins, is involved in one of these. But instead of slaves, it helps battered women escape from physical abusers. Cupid Killings has one of these battered women take a job at TenHuis Chocolade, but Lee soon finds that a private detective (who soon becomes the book's murder victim) is on her trail. It ultimately turns out the woman was faking her status, and had been just using the group as part of her own scheme.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: Late in Jewel Case, Pete Falconer — one of Lee and Joe's house guests — turns out to be a private detective and former police officer who'd been hired to investigate the involvement of a man in what was ultimately revealed as a major burglary ring.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: In Cat Caper, Joe Woodyard is genuinely startled to learn that his ex-wife Clementine Ripley had never written him out of her will, meaning he gets everything when she's murdered... the downside is that it's mostly a large debt, given that she'd let someone else handle her money and they'd embezzled away all that they could. Also, he's determined to not make any actual profit off what he does manage to get from it.
  • Wedding Episode: Bridal Bash is centered around the run-up to Lee's wedding to her second husband Joe Woodyard after the two got engaged at the end of Puppy Puzzle. The wedding itself doesn't happen until the very last chapter though.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Subverted by Lee herself. In Bear Burglary, she refers to herself at one point as having been one for her former stepson Jeff, but in fact, she'd actually tried to be a nice parent, even though Jeff avoided her as much as he could while she was married to his father. Despite his earlier behavior towards her, he ends up coming to her for help during the events of the book, and she helps clear his name when he finds a body and becomes a suspect for murder as a result.
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