Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant
Berkley, Feb 2009, $$23.95
Chloe Carter’s boyfriend Josh is competing with two other chefs to win a slot on a new eight part TV cooking show. To win the contest he has to star in three episodes of Chefly Yours (as does his rivals) cooking meals for supermarket customers selected randomly by the show’s producer. When the nine shows air, the audience will vote on who will star as the chef of the new series.
Josh has to cook meals for Leo the vegetarian and his wife Francie who is a meat eater. Challenged, by the herbivore-carnivore couple, Josh makes his selection and goes to their home to prepare their repast. While dining, Francie dies on camera; others who took bites of her meal get ill. Someone sprinkled the food with digitalis from the foxglove plant. In between coordinating her best friend’s wedding and working for her parents while grad school is out for the summer, Chloe investigates the murder.
The latest “Gourmet Girl Mystery” (see TURN UP THE HEAT, SIMMER DOWN and STEAMED) is a delicious entry filled with action and plenty of humor. The whodunit is clever as there are many suspects who had opportunity and Chloe realizes what their motives are. When the killer is revealed this will make total sense to the reader as being obvious yet it is almost impossible to pick out the perp during the course of the story.. The spunky heroine is the obvious master chef keeping the story line focused while the strong support cast adds depth to a tasty amateur sleuth.