cover image Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes

G. A. McKevett. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $22 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-632-7

Savannah Reid, the Georgia-bred, California-based sleuth, is back in a delicious addition to the series (Sugar and Spite, etc.). Food-loving, witty and down-to-earth, Reid is no typical fey Southern belle. After using her keen detective skills to help capture a gang that's been terrorizing fast-food joints, Reid looks forward to what she assumes will be a tranquil assignment as a security guard at the Miss Goldcoast beauty pageant. The surprise arrival of her spoiled youngest sister, Atlanta, who has flown to California to be a contestant in the pageant, and the subsequent disappearance of Atlanta's obnoxious roommate, Barbara Matthews, make things anything but tranquil. When Matthews is found dead and the evidence points to murder, the cushy job Reid envisioned becomes a fast-paced murder investigation, during which she exposes the self-destructive eating habits of many of the contestants and the often hard-to-believe dirty tricks the girls will play to win. When a second victim turns up, Reid doesn't rest until the truth is revealed in a heart-stopping, cleverly crafted ending. The change of McKevett's usual venue to the Villa Rosa Winery on California's Gold Coast lends freshness, while a bright, eye-catching jacket design should hook browsers. Fans will welcome back Reid's familiar, somewhat stereotypical ""family"" of characters and will enjoy the new additions. Of its kind, this cozy is as crisp and sparkling as Villa Rosa's best white zinfandel. (Feb. 14)