03 June 2010

MURDER ON THE MENU: A Cooking Class Mystery #2 - Miranda Bliss

From the back of the book: Best friends Annie and Eve know the bare bones of both cooking and amateur sleuthing. Now, they're in the trenches, struggling to hkeep a new restaurant, Bellwashers, from going belly up.
Annie and Even have joined their former cooking teacher, Jim--who doubles as Annie's on-again, off-again boyfriend--in running his new restaurant. Bombshell Eve is the hostess, while Annie stays behind the scenes, frantically managing everything from the books to the radicchio supply. Then a rave review makes the spot an instant success, drawing Washington's high-powered elite to sample Jim's cooking. People with both money and secrets to burn.
Everything's simmering along just fine until Annie and Eve find their friend, Sarah, staffer for a powerful congressman, lying dead in her tub. The cops want to write it off as a suicide, but the girls notice that, like Annie's invoices, the facts just don't add up. Then, after a series of suspicious "accidents" that come dangerously close to taking the girls permanently out of commission, Annie and Eve realize that this kitchen fires isn't about to put itself out.....
This was a cutie-pie of a cozy. I could be friends with these two girls, probably Eve more so than Annie. Eve is sweet and funny and goofy, even being a hottie and all. Annie is wound a little too tight with her organizational skills and worries, but still is a good person at heart and wants to help Eve figure out who killed their friend Sarah. Yes, the police had deemed it a suicide after seeing the scene and finding a note, but Eve and Annie find little clues that lead them to believe something else happened. That led smoothly into their investigation, which I always appreciate in an amateur sleuth mystery.
I liked the atmosphere of the restaurant scenery and the characters are nicely drawn. Sometimes the action happened a little too co-ink-ee-dink-a-lee, like making kitchen-phobic Annie work one night helping the chef when one of the assistants was out of commission with a bad reaction to putting green dye in his hair, but the story moved along and all was accomplished in a timely manner.
I liked the ending with the 'whoa, did not see that one coming' tweak.
All in all, I look forward to reading the rest of the series and seeing what happens to my buds, Annie, Eve and Jim and Bellywashers the restaurant.
Four sparkly kitchen diamonds......

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