Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mystery Book Review: And Murder for Dessert by Kathleen Delaney

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of And Murder for Dessert by Kathleen Delaney. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.And Murder for Dessert by Kathleen Delaney

And Murder for Dessert by
An Ellen McKenzie Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-423-6 (1590584236)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-423-1 (9781590584231)
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Ellen McKenzie and her fiancé, Chief of Police Dan Dunham, are on their way to the very upscale Harvest Festival Dinner, hosted by Ellen’s niece, Sabrina, and her husband, Mark Tortelli. They are seasoned winery professionals. What could go wrong?

New to Silver Springs Winery, the Tortellis have been worried for weeks that their jobs depend on the success of this event, and the reputation of the guest chef hasn’t helped calm their nerves.

Otto Messinger is noted for his temper tantrums. Ellen is hoping he’ll keep himself in check. Dan is hoping the Tortellis, who have been staying with Ellen for a month, will triumph and soon find their own place to live. Tonight’s guest list seems to include everyone who has ever had a feud with Otto, a fact the little chef is thoroughly enjoying. The dinner progresses, a little shaky but without disaster. Then it’s time for dessert. But where is Otto?

It is Sabrina who finds him, quite dead, in a wine fermenting tank. Who helped him into it? Dan seems to think it was Sabrina. Ellen would prefer Dan find another suspect—and there are plenty …

Review: Kathleen Delaney’s third entry in the Ellen McKenzie series, And Murder for Dessert, is a delightful mystery featuring some jealous and distrustful chefs, those who enjoy the fruits of their labors, and those who invest in their talents.

The quiet lives of real estate agent Ellen McKenzie and her husband, Chief of Police Dan Dunham, are turned upside down when Ellen’s niece, Sabrina, and her husband, Mark Torelli, move in with them temporarily until they could find a home of their own. The two quickly accept jobs at the local Silver Spring Winery on a trial basis. Their first assignment: plan a festive formal dinner and wine tasting event. For the dinner, Mark hires a famous chef, Otto Messinger. Mark not only wants to impress his guests with his own talent regarding wines, he also wants Otto to impress them with his fine cuisine. The wine is exquisite and the food divine. All of the invited guests are overwhelmed by the event. All but a murderer, that is, who sets out to kill Otto that very night. Soon thereafter another murder takes place. Ellen’s curiosity and her unsolicited help are all that are needed for Dan to be able to identify the culprit.

Every character written in the story felt real. The residents of the city seemed like neighbors. Even Otto, who could easily have been portrayed as a caricature of an arrogent out-of-control chef, seemed no worse than the typical culinary expert on television. No doubt every reader has experienced a situation where a meal had to be sent back to the kitchen for some reason or another. But would you kill the chef because of it? No need to answer that! To be drawn into a book and feel a part of it (dead chef notwithstanding) is a wonderful reading experience.

What's not to like about a gourmet meal, fine wine, and a little murder thrown in for dessert? Not much! And Murder for Dessert is a treat and is highly recommended.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of And Murder for Dessert and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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