October 08, 2011

Delicious and Suspicious: A Memphis BBQ Mystery by Riley Adams

I am a big fan of BBQ. Really, I could eat it every day no problem. So of course a mystery novel that would involve BBQ would be an eye-catcher for me. Well I found this book ok, not as much food description as I would have liked and highly predictable, but still cozy all the same.

Lulu is the proud owner of Aunt Pat's Bar-B-Que located in Memphis, TN. She is especially proud this week because a food scout/reporter from the Cooking Channel is coming to interview her for a segment on best bbqs. Lulu knows her food is good enough, she has several regulars to prove it; like the old blues playing gentlemen and the Graces (bit odd women who are docents for Graceland and obsessed with all things Elvis). But what she isn't prepared for is how rude the reporter is and how insulting. It is no great surprise when this same reporter ends up dead of poisoning not long after. Unfortunately for Lulu though, it was right after eating some BBQ. Even though the police are on the case, Lulu is determined to catch the murderer, but isn't happy when a lot of the clues lead her to her friends and family.

The characters in this book are very two-dimensional. It seems the author chose an attribute for each and then pounds that fact into our heads without developing them further. For an example, Lulu has a chef son Ben and Ben likes to hunt. We only know this because it is about the only thing said about him, and after all that, I still don't think he ever gets to go hunting. In fact, Lulu herself is the only one who is really more developed than the rest. But that is probably because she occupies a good part of the novel and we spend the most time with her. It seems the author could have cut down on the characters some instead of having tons and not developing them fully.

The plot was very predictable. I knew who the murderer was about 1/3 of the way into the book despite the author's best attempts to lead me elsewhere. She just made it too easy. She did throw in one little surprise, but it wasn't enough to save the book from the easy guessing game. It was nicely written, very cozy and a good light read. But for being a foodie novel I was a bit disappointed with how often food was mentioned. Sure it redeemed itself a bit with including recipes in the end, but I still would have liked to hear more about the food.

It's not a terrible book but it could have been a bit more mysterious. I did like reading it and it was a nice easy read to get into. It just would have been better if it was harder to solve the mystery and included more food. I'll probably check out some of the others in this like-genre though.

Delicious and Suspicious
Copyright 2010
269 pages + recipes

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