Monday, March 13, 2017

A Dinner Club Mystery

Author Linda Wiken has introduced a dinner concept I am wholeheartedly trying to replicate. In Toasting Up Trouble, event planner J.J. Tanner and her friends get together once a month to enjoy a dinner prepared by all of them with a menu from a specially-chosen cookbook. I want to do this with my friends! I'm trying to work out how to pull it off. Love the idea.

Back to the book, J.J. is in the midst of planning a 21st birthday party for the daughter of a wealthy resident and learns her caterer has backed out at the last minute. Scurrying to find a new one, J.J. finds hotshot chef Antonio Marcotti, a troublesome businessman, with a reputation for being mercurial. JJ meets with the chef to discuss the menu and specifically tells him to take one appetizer off the menu because it is out of her budget. At the end of the birthday party evening, J.J. discovers the appetizer was included and she and the chef get into a shouting match.

The next morning J.J. arrives back at the party site to find the police on hand and Marcotti stabbed to death. Naturally the loud argument between J.J. and Marcotti was heard by others, so she is a suspect.There are a host of other suspects: another restaurant owner from the same village in Italian who has been feuding with Marcotti for 25 years, a decorator friend of JJ.'s who was stiffed by him, the cheated on wife, a corrupt councilman, the young mistress and even the PI hired to find the killer.

I found J.J. a little too bold and abrupt with the people she suspected. There were times when she dangerously put herself in jeopardy to ask questions the police should be asking. I also was mystified by the duplicity uncovered in her office and how it was so mildly handled. I guess I am more vindictive!

All in all I look forward to other books in this series. If you are interested in other books written by Linda Wiken as Erika Chase, click here. For books by Linda Wiken, click here. For books as Erika Chase, click here.

No comments: