Allergic To Death
Berkley Prime Crime, (Aug 7 2012, $7.99
Suburban Woodstone, Connecticut is a very expensive place to live as Gigi Fitzgerald knows first-hand. The only reason Gigi can reside there she is leasing a bungalow from one of her dieter clients, restaurant critic Martha Bernhardt. From her rental she sells Gigi’s Gourmet De-Lite lo-cal meals for those who want to lose weight but also enjoy what they eat.
Gigi and Martha drive their separate cars when the latter munches on one of the meals. From just behind Martha, Gigi watches her drive erratic until the vehicle crashes into a tree; Martha dies. The autopsy reveals that Martha suffered an anaphylaxis shock from peanut oil in Gigi’s repast. Police Detective Mertz closes the case, but Gigi differs as she knows she did not use peanuts in any form in the meal as she was well aware her customer was severely allergic. Besides feeling she owes Martha, Gigi knows her business is teetering. Accompanied by her friend Sienna, she investigate what Gigi believes is murder even when someone threatens to make her victim number two.
The first Gourmet De-Lite Mystery is a delicious amateur sleuth tale due to the fully developed cast; besides the obvious Gigi, who holds the storyline together, the secondary characters especially Martha known for her vindictive nature and Mertz who shows interest in the heroine as they bring depth to the entertaining whodunit. Although somewhat formulaic in terms of relationships, culinary cozy fans will take De-Lite with Peg Cochran’s first recipe.