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on 12 April 2012
This is a very quirky tale of dark deeds in the Deep South of America. I am not sure if I liked it or not. Maybe 4 stars was a little generous, but it was unusual and quite readable. A journalist sets out from New York for the Deep South, where he was born. His mission is to help a bunch of Junior League ladies write a cookery book. The Junior League is a bit like the Rotary Club for women , but more exclusive. When he arrives, he falls into the hands of the sinister local sherriff and a collection of oddly behaved ladies who all seem to have something to hide. The strange ways in which the past comes back to take its revenge on all and sundry is either clever or contrived depending on your point of view. I wouldn't be looking to read this again, as I do with books I really like, but quite a good read.
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on 18 September 2014
I've never wanted to write a bad review, but this book is the worst I've ever read! I strongly suspect that the positive reviews are written by the author's friends. It is truly terrible!
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on 28 April 2008
I'd not heard of this author before--evidently he's popular in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. At any rate, I bought this on recommendation and have to say that I can't believe this hasn't been on the bestseller list! What a great story!

First off, the novel is easy to read and the chapters are short; something I like since my life is a mess right now. Second, the story really pulls you through. This is not a mystery novel or a romance book, but if you like those genres, you can read it and still get something out of it. I'd like to tell you that it's reminiscent of so-and-so's style, but it's not like anything I've ever encountered before.

The book is really a book-within-a-book----it's an actual cookbook embedded within the novel. I don't think you're going to want to make any of the recipes offered but you'll laugh yourself silly reading them. Before each one is an introduction by McCrae, and after each one is a bit added by each of the ladies. These latter bits--information about where the recipe came from, etc. are hilarious and start getting longer and longer, becoming a story in themselves as the novel progresses. The women, who appear to be friends at first, start taking shots at one another and these "after recipes" offer great insight into what is actually going on in the town. And the receipes and their before-and-after commentaries serve to parady so many cookbooks and the way they're put together. If you've ever read a cookbook and rolled your eyes at the "added bits" then you'll love this novel.

The story is about the author (McCrae) who is asked to come to the Southern U.S. to help out a group of Junior League Ladies (snooty women who think they're better than everyone else and have their own club) put together a cookbook. Sounds simple enough, but wait, things start to get pretty weird right off the bat. The town is only about 300 or so people and everyone knows everyone else. Plus, it's in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone or Internet access--really cut off from the rest of the world. And the townspeople are strange.

Of course my favorite character is the odd Miss Henrid, followed by her fiance, the sheriff of the town. Even giving away his name would give away a detail and great scene in the book. The "ladies" of the Junior League are each a piece of work. One has had more husbands than Elizabeth Taylor and another is a "live in the past" beauty queen. Yet another is the mayor's wife and one just doesn't fit in at all, being totally illiterate.

What makes this book unique is the way you think you know where it's going only to be led down a COMPLETELY different road. This is just a really fun novel with a surprise ending on top of another surprise ending. Dealing with hypocracy and odd American customs, especially those in the South, this book was not only fun, but VERY entertaining. I learned a great deal about the culture and why people in that part of the country act the way they do. I've not read any of the author's other books, but I will in the future.
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on 9 May 2008
What a knock-out this book is! The story is not only fantastic, but so well put together that you'll be shaking your head, trying to imagine how someone came up with this. Synopsis: Famous author is asked to travel to a small southern town in order to help out a group of Junior League ladies put a cookbook together. He's reluctant to go and who wouldn't be, but there's money involved. So he goes. When he gets there, it's a town of about three hundred individuals who are all completely out of touch with the real world. He's befriended by the town's outcast lady who has some dark hidden secret, and the town's sheriff who is also the outcast's soon to be husband. Trust me, if you think you've read a story like this one, you have no idea how strange things get. I love a book where I can't see what's around the bend, and if you're the same way, Barring Some Unforeseen Accident will keep you on the edge of your seat. As if this weren't enough, the novel is probably one of the funniest things I've ever read. This one is a real page-turrner, but with panache and literary merit to keep even those interested in "high-brown" books interested. Great story, surprise ending, and wonderful characters make up this gritty, beautiful, funny, and weird tale of greed, murder, blackmail, and friendship.
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on 9 March 2009
Well, after reading 'Katzenjammer' I had too try another McRae book and boy was it worth it! This is a fantastic book with a storyline that keeps you hooked into the early hours. So much humour and laugh out loud passages i just had to keep turning the pages. McRae is a genius and if your into quirky humour with a healthy dose of sarcasm mixed with toe-curling absurdity, grotesque images, characters you would love to meet and cooking then get your hands on this book. Go on you know you want to!
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on 22 October 2010
I regret having wasted my time reading this mediocre book. Its neither well written, not interesting, nor clever.
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