Monday, December 19, 2011
My reading time is almost non-existent the past few weeks (and especially the past few days), but I did have time to squeeze in a cute little cozy mystery for Mystery Mondays called DEATH ON A PLATTER by Elaine Viets. DEATH ON A PLATTER is the seventh book in the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper series; and frankly, I don't know why it's taken me this long to discover these books.
I thought DEATH ON A PLATTER was a very fun read and it pretty much epitomized everything I love about cozies. It had a likable main character in Josie, an entertaining supporting cast of characters, and an interesting setting. In addition, I appreciated the premise behind these books -- a mystery shopper who moonlights as an amateur sleuth. Maybe it's my love of eating and shopping, but I really thought the idea behind this series is pretty original.
Truly, I think I enjoyed DEATH ON A PLATTER so much because I loved the characters. Josie is extremely entertaining and I enjoyed learning about her personal life almost as much as the murder mystery. She is a single mom of a tween (God bless her!) who also happens to live with her overbearing (yet very helpful) mom. Josie does a pretty good job of solving the murder on her own, but she gets some help along the way from some other "fun" characters -- her veterinarian boyfriend Ted and her best friend Alyce.
Besides the characters, I also really enjoyed the setting of the novel -- St. Louis. I had no idea that St. Louis has so many unique dining options and I love that they were featured in this story. Ms. Viets even included a section in the back of the book which goes into more detail about some of St. Louis' finest culinary specialties including toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, square pizza pies, deep-fat fried brain sandwiches and barbecue.
Finally, I think I enjoyed this book so much because it had a creative murder mystery. In DEATH ON A PLATTER, a character kicks the bucket when he gets poisoned eating toasted ravioli. And it wasn't just "normal" poison. He died because he ingested castor beans. The book had an intriguing list of suspects, and any one of them could have committed the crime. I can't say that the conclusion of the novel was a total surprise for me, but it was still a fun ride to figure out the culprit(s) along with Josie.
DEATH ON A PLATTER was a cute murder mystery and I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another one of the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper books. I highly recommend it for fans of cozies and/or fans of foodie books!
Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.