cover image Mrs. Pargeter's Pound of Flesh: A Mrs. Pargeter Mystery

Mrs. Pargeter's Pound of Flesh: A Mrs. Pargeter Mystery

Simon Brett. Scribner Book Company, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19565-0

The late Mr. Pargeter left his widow pots of money and his address book, ``a compendium of contacts which could procure a surprising range of unconventional services.'' When a young friend wants a slimmer self with which to welcome her husband (a former employee of the late Mr. Pargeter) home from jail, Mrs. P. uses her new sources not only to get them a free sojourn at a health spa, but also to assist in her investigation of some peculiar corpses she encounters there. Brett makes the most of the milieu, serving up delicious descriptions of ``Dead Sea Mud Bath'' treatments and ``Mind Over Fatty Matter'' products. There's even an attempted murder using a passive exercise machine. Although Brett's Charles Paris mysteries offer superior characterization, this third to feature Mrs. Pargeter (after Mrs. Presumed Dead ) is consistently witty and convincing. Readers will gobble it up, especially its six happy resolutions. (Apr.)