Friday, December 11, 2009

The Proof Is In The Pudding-Melinda Wells

The Proof Is In The Pudding
Melinda Wells
Berkley, Feb 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425233115

In North Hollywood, public relations specialist Phil Logan informs widow Della Carmichael, the hostess of In the Kitchen With Della, that she is one of the three judges selected to score the Celebrity Cook-off charity event at the Olympia Grand Hotel. The other two judges are Yvette Dupree and Keith Ingram. Phil warns her that her Della’s Sweet Dreams partner Eileen O’Hara is seeing womanizing Keith, who rumors have it will dump her to marry wealthy Tina Long, daughter of the Olympia Grand’s owner. Keith dumps Eileen, but tells her she will be his mistress as he has tapes of their sexual encounters with his face blurred that he will release.

At the gala, Eileen’s father Police Detective John O’Hara punches Keith in the face. While cook Wolf Wheeler performs an incredible juggling act with pots, pans and food, someone releases a smoke bomb. When the air clears and the panic ends, Keith is dead from a knife to his throat. The prime suspect is John, who the lead detective Hatch (known fondly by Della as Hatchet) hates.

Although readers know who will be murdered when Eileen hysterically calls “Aunt” Della, fans will enjoy the latest Della Cooks mystery (see Della Takes the cake). Della is courageous as an amateur sleuth and insane as a break and enter “thief” when she sneaks into the victim’s home to attempt to steal the tapes. With wonderful recipes after case solved and some included in the whodunit, culinary mystery fans will appreciate Della’s risking her life to keep Eileen out of a sex scandal and prove John did not commit the homicide.

Harriet Klausner