Death on a Platter (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Series #7)

( 12 )

Overview


Josie Marcus plans to savor sampling the local St. Louis cuisine for a City Eats food tour. But her appetite is ruined at Tillie's Off the Hill Italian Restaurant when another customer is poisoned. Was the victim the real target-or is someone trying to ruin Tillie's reputation? It's up to Josie to find a killer who has no reservations about preparing a dish to die for...
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Death on a Platter (Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Series #7)

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Overview


Josie Marcus plans to savor sampling the local St. Louis cuisine for a City Eats food tour. But her appetite is ruined at Tillie's Off the Hill Italian Restaurant when another customer is poisoned. Was the victim the real target-or is someone trying to ruin Tillie's reputation? It's up to Josie to find a killer who has no reservations about preparing a dish to die for...
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Viets’s engaging seventh Mystery Shopper cozy (after 2010’s An Uplifting Murder), Josie Marcus feels a little apprehensive about her new assignment—a culinary tour of St. Louis that includes sampling not only pizza and toasted ravioli but also two unappetizing sandwiches, brain and pig ear. At Off the Hill restaurant, which is owned by 76-year-old Tina Minnelli, a friend of Josie’s mother, Jane, perennial drunk and troublemaker Clay Oreck collapses and dies after demanding and getting hotter sauce for his ravioli. When Tillie is arrested for Clay’s murder, Jane insists that Josie find the real killer. Josie identifies a number of possible suspects, including Clay’s wife, Henrietta; his girlfriend, Gemma Lynn Rae; and chef Jeff Bartlett-Smith. Meanwhile, Josie dithers a lot over her relationship with veterinarian Ted Scottsmeyer. Readers will discover some surprising facts about St. Louisans’ favorite foods. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451235244
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Series: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Series , #7
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 446,176
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Elaine Viets

Elaine Viets has actually worked those dead-end jobs in her mystery novels, just like her character, Helen Hawthorne. Over the years, Elaine has been a dress store clerk, phone book proofreader, babysitter, telemarketer, bookseller, and weed puller at fifty cents a bucket.  She is also the author of the Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series and numerous short stories. Elaine has won an Anthony Award and an Agatha Award. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with her husband, author and actor Don Crinklaw.  Please visit her blog: The Lipstick Chronicles.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    an entertaining amateur sleuth

    Mystery shopper Josie Marcus eagerly takes on her new assignment of sampling local eateries that offer a variety of dishes unique to St. Louis. As part of her City Eats dining experience, Josie visits Tillie's Off the Hill Italian Restaurant known for their toasted ravioli.

    The food is delicious but the fly in the soup is a loud mouthed bellicose drunk. In fairness to the full disclosure doctrine and to Tillie's, Josie decides to try Tillie's again the next day to see if the atmosphere is better. While the toasted ravioli is served to the intoxicated man, the belligerent drunk is in full tirade when he drops dead. SPD finds enough evidence to charge Tillie with murder. Josie does not believe the restaurateur is the killer so sets out to find who permanently shut the nasty diner although she goes it alone as Ted, her boyfriend, cannot accompany her.

    The latest Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper (see An Uplifting Murder) is an entertaining amateur sleuth in which the heroine risks her life to identify the real server of the poisoned ravioli. Spunky Josie knows she needs to just say no, but cannot as her mom and Tillie are friends though her mother would prefer her not risking her life. Although there are clues to the identity of the killer, Monday morning quarterbacks including Ted will struggle to decide who done it.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Death on a Platter

    “Death on a Platter” marks the return of Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper extraordinaire. This time around Josie is assigned by her boss, “Harry the Horrible,” to mystery-shop restaurants in St. Louis for a food tour company based in New York City. At the top of the list of required dishes to be sampled are items considered delicacies, apparently seen to be “real” St. Louis food, e.g., [cow] brain and pig ear sandwiches, St. Louis pizza [who knew?], and toasted ravioli. While the first two are daunting to our heroine, the pizza, and certainly the ravioli, are another matter. Especially the ravioli, as her mother’s best friend for about seventy years is none other than the owner of Tillie’s Off the Hill [whose billboards, sweatshirts, etc. read “Get Toasted at Tillie’s”], a bustling restaurant in the River Bluff area, on a street that has seen better days though it is now the object of a large conglomerate in the process of putting up casinos and trying to buy out all the businesses in the area. So far, Tillie, a widow whose daughter works in the restaurant with her, is the lone hold-out.

    Josie’s mom, Jane, now seventy-six years old, is invaluable to Josie in many ways: she lives, with her eleven-year-old daughter, Amelia, in a “mom-subsidized” apartment on the ground floor of her mother’s house, “with her free maternal babysitter upstairs.” This enables her to have Amelia attend an upscale school, with the help of a scholarship. For the past year, Josie has been dating Ted, a veterinarian, and is anxiously awaiting the proposal she fears/hopes is coming.

    When Josie mystery-shops Tillie’s restaurant, she witnesses a scene wherein a drunken customer, apparently a regular, becomes unruly [also a frequent occurrence] and Tillie is forced to call the police. When Josie returns the following day, the same man, once again drunk, loudly complains that his ravioli is too bland and demands it be made spicier. Immediately upon eating the replacement dish, he is struck ill and has to be taken to the hospital, where he soon dies; Tillie is arrested and charged with his murder. Jane demands that Josie investigate and find out who else might have wanted the man dead. When she identifies three possible suspects, Jane tells her “The police aren’t going to clear Tillie’s name. They think they’ve got their killer. It’s up to you to find the real murderer.” And Josie has no choice but to comply.

    This is another fast-reading, delightful entry in a very enjoyable series. The characters are endearing, especially the ‘tween’ Amelia, changing her name as often as her jeans, Ted, who Josie loves but fears marrying, and Stuart Little, the hero shih tzu. The book ends with several St. Louis-area shopping tips, and a preview of the author’s next book, which will be a new entry in her Dead End Job mysteries.

    Recommended.

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  • Posted November 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Plucky Protagonist

    Josie' latest assignment includes taste testing some of St. Louis' local cuisine for a City Eats Food tour. One of her stops includes a restaurant owned by one of Josie's mom's friends so they head there first. Tillie's Off the Hill is known for its toasted ravioli and Josie can't wait to try it. The ravioli passes inspection but the clientele of the restaurant falls far below standard. One in particular is awfully unruly. When he becomes the victim of poison linked directly to the food he is served at Tillie's the question becomes was he the real target or was someone trying to ruin the restaurant's reputation.

    The police believe Tillie was trying to get rid of her customer permanently and arrest her for the crime. Josie's mom makes it clear to Josie she must find the real culprit as soon as possible. So Josie's is soon up to her neck in the investigation. She hopes to find that Tillie's cooking is not what did her customer in, but that someone else served up death on a platter.

    Dollycas's Thoughts
    I learned a lot about the foods that make St. Louis famous in this story, a few I wouldn't even go near, but that didn't keep me from loving this story. In fact most of Josie's comments and reactions made my laugh out loud.

    Josie just can't say no to her mom and there were times I really wish she could as she kept putting herself in danger, but seriously how many of can say no to our mothers. This character is real through and through as are all the others which is why we invest our time into seeing what they are up to in each installment of this series.

    The plot in this installment was very good too as we traveled to and fro trying to figure out who-dun-it.

    Elaine Viets knows her stuff when it comes to cozy mysteries. She writes fun, fast paced mysteries with plucky protagonist that keeps us coming back for more.



    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Obsidian. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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