Customer Reviews for

Stick a Fork in It (Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop Series #2)

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Starts slow but worth reading to the end! Stick a Fork in It is

    Starts slow but worth reading to the end!
    Stick a Fork in It is the second book in the Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop series. Poppy is a former chef at her family’s restaurant and now works as a health inspector. In the course of her duties, she does the inspection for a new restaurant called Capital Punishment. The premise of the restaurant is that it will serve the last meals of famous killers. The owners of the place turn out to be old classmates of Poppy’s-twin brothers who were part of the in crowd and their partner who was one of their bullying victims.
    Poppy runs into problems with the inspection and has to keep coming back and eventually she is the one who finds a dead body on the premises. There are disgruntled employees, old grudges, possible illegal worker issues, and cheating spouses all in the mix. Poppy has her hands full dealing with the unpredictable owners while trying to solve the murder case.
    During all of this action, Poppy is struggling with personal issues of her own. She has forgiven her boyfriend for cheating on her and they are working hard to mend the relationship. The fact that he is a restaurant critic and trying to pry details about the new place from her adds to the mild feeling of untrustworthiness. Add to the situation the re-emergence of Poppy’s first serious love that left her in the lurch but has returned to the area, and Poppy has a lot on her plate (so to speak).
    I don’t know if it was the restaurant concept that bothered me, but I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the story. However, after the first couple of chapters, it really held my interest. I actually found all of the inspection references interesting and the characters were well fleshed out whether good and bad folks. The resolution of the murder was believable and there was a little twist towards the end and will keep fans of the series wondering about where Poppy will be going romance wise.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Another great cozy mystery in the Poppy Markham series!

    Author Robin Allen cooks up another savory delight readers will eat up in STICK A FORK IN IT, the second book in the series about Austin/Travis County health inspector Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop.

    Enticing appetizers for cozy mystery connoisseurs are promptly served in Chapter One of this humorous, clean book, starting with the author’s great opening line and first paragraph.

    “A couple of weeks ago, an employee at my father's
    restaurant tried to kill me by setting my bedroom
    on fire. ... When that didn't work, he tried to lock
    me in the restaurant's walk-in refrigerator and freeze
    me to death."

    Readers’ appetites are whetted further with the promise that much more of “the good stuff” is surely to follow because Allen continues to throw in one intriguing morsel right after the other as each page is turned.

    Poppy’s first assignment in STICK A FORK IN IT is to perform a food permit inspection for a new Austin restaurant that is decorated inside and out to resemble a prison and is named “Capital Punishment.” The items on the menu are each named after a death row inmate and consist of what food the condemned truly asked for as a last meal request. For example, if a diner craves two pints of mint chocolate-chip ice cream, then the meal to order would be a “Timothy McVeigh.”

    The main plot of this novel is that before Capital Punishment can get everything up to par to pass inspection, a death occurs. One of the restaurant’s owners, Troy Sharpe, is found with a rope around his neck, hanging in the middle of the dining room. Or wait … IS it Troy, or is it his twin brother Todd? “Culinary Cop” (and former chef) Poppy Markham intends to solve this “whodunit” mystery in the two weeks or so before Capital Punishment’s scheduled opening night.

    I loved author Allen’s voice and her clever humor in her first book, IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT, and Allen doesn’t disappoint in bringing that same great style to Stick a Fork In It. For instance, several witty comments are always tossed back and forth each time a conversation occurs between Poppy and her ex-boyfriend Jamie, who is a former newspaper journalist and current freelance food writer.

    One example is when Poppy and Jamie are discussing Jeffrey Dahmer, the convicted serial killer nicknamed “The Milwaukee Cannibal.” Poppy asks Jamie, “What do you think was his last meal?” and Jamie answers, “Manwiches.” I laughed out loud on that one!

    Just like with Allen’s first book, I once again enjoyed the food-related descriptions in this second book, such as: “I sat in my Jeep in the Markham’s parking lot roasting like a Peking duck while I pondered Daisy’s insight.” The author also has a talent for using other descriptions and making comparisons that are never trite, such as: “Her eyes grew as wide as Vinnie Barbarino’s bell-bottoms.”

    Author Allen did a great job in keeping this reviewer from guessing the killer’s identity in STICK A FORK IN IT. I’m pretty sure regardless if other readers solve the mystery or not, once a reader has sampled some of author Robin Allen's creations, a request for seconds will surely follow.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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