The Butter Did It: A Gastronomic Tale of Love and Murder

Phyllis Richman, Author HarperCollins $23 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-018370-7
The temptation to identify the players behind the characters in this breezy foodie mystery is as tantalizing as the meals that Richman, restaurant critic for the Washington Post, describes throughout it. Well-known D.C. chef Laurence Levain, whose trademark dish is spectacular smoked salmon ravioli, is found dead of a heart attack the night before the prestigious charity event, CityTastes, is to take place. Was his untimely demise at age 42 a result of years of consuming foie gras and other high-cholesterol comestibles? Chas Wheatley, green-eyed, blonde restaurant reviewer for the up-and-coming Enquirer, and the victim's friend (and former lover), thinks it was murder--but she must wine and dine the police detective in charge, who'd rather find a reliable sommelier than a murderer, to persuade him to investigate. The competitive restaurant world harbors a smorgasbord of suspects. Laurence's rival chefs, his sous chefs, his current girlfriend and even his sister all have reasons to see him dead. As Chas tracks down motive and opportunity, Richman gives readers a cook's tour of tony restaurant kitchens and the newspaper biz, all the while affectionately exposing idiosyncrasies of the food world. It takes a little time for Chas to become a commanding central figure, but subplots about her relationships with her peers and her grown daughter and ex-husband give her extra dimension. Richman's prose is as smooth and easy to swallow as premium ice cream, especially when accompanied by such treats as how food critics can ""taste a dozen brands of butter or 20 different pizzas at one sitting."" She brings a welcome angle and authenticity to the expanding menu of culinary mysteries. Major ad/promo; author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/28/1997
Release date: 05/01/1997
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-4417-4093-9
Hardcover - 456 pages - 978-0-7862-1183-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-06-109625-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-1293-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-4417-4091-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-4088-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-4417-4090-8
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