CHILL BEFORE SERVING: A Mystery for Food Lovers

Cynthia P. Lawrence, Author . iUniverse/Mystery and Suspense $14.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-595-21791-5

In Lawrence's second clever and amusing culinary mystery to feature Cat Deean (after 1993's Take-Out City), the capable, hardworking caterer finds herself in hot water when her boss, L.A. restaurateur Nick Dellacasa, hires a noted but nasty chef, Hippolytus "Polley" Arbusto. Polley left San Francisco under suspicion of having poisoned his restaurant patrons. Is the chef crass but charming, or mean and murderous? When the bodies start to pile up, Cat narrowly misses joining the victim list after receiving a bottle of poisoned porcini oil. Our sleuthing heroine follows the murder trail between L.A. and San Francisco, consulting friends in the gay community, her ex-husband, her new reporter lover, Aunt Sadie with her new interest in organic foods and natural remedies, a suave Chinese-American detective and a red-faced bear of an inspector. The author portrays all with quips and quirks—and nearly everyone has reason to hate Polley. Ultimately, Cat confronts a large pharmaceutical company with its aggressive marketing head, chatty receptionist and questionable ethics. Cuisines dipped into include mouthwatering Asian, Argentinean, Mexican and Italian, with spices and seasonings, appropriate wines and various coffees. Readers will be licking their chops right up to the thrilling denouement at a remote desert park. (POD)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
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