cover image A Diet to Die for

A Diet to Die for

Joan Hess. St. Martin's Press, $14.95 (199pp) ISBN 978-0-312-03326-2

Mixing tensions and witticisms as usual, Hess's latest mystery, after A Really Cute Corpse , stars Claire Malloy of Farberville, Ark., bookstore owner and amateur sleuth. Maribeth Galleston (nee Farber), obese and depressed, knows her bullying husband Gerald is interested only in the millions she's due to inherit from the town's founder. Claire persuades Maribeth to enroll in the swank Ultima Diet Center and in Joseph (Jody) Delano's grueling exercise classes. Although elated by her initial success, Maribeth soon begins acting irrationally, causing a`her'? is this maribeth's own fatal accident? it should stand as is. Marybeth causes a fatal accident by driving her car into another character. fatal accident which, as Claire fears, sets off more crises. Defying warnings from her lover, detective Pete Rosen, Claire investigates the next tragedy, the murder of a young fitness buff at Delano's place. Suspecting the real target was Maribeth, Claire aims at discovering the killer's motive, thus falling into the trap requisite for a mystery heroine, and for her ordained victory. (Dec.)