The Barnes & Noble Review
G. A. McKevett encourages readers to give in to temptation with this eighth serving of the Savannah Reid mystery series. A full-figured private eye, Savannah loves sweets and practically idolizes TV personality Lady Eleanor, the self-proclaimed "Queen of Chocolate." Lady Eleanor's cooking show and upscale confection shops are the height of elegance and self-indulgence -- two of Savannah's favorite things. At first, when she hears that Lady Eleanor has been receiving threatening letters, she's worried that a job protecting her idol will be too much of a good thing. The work will give her struggling Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency a much-needed infusion of cash. As a bonus, Savannah hopes that sticking close to Lady Eleanor will also allow her to indulge her appetite for elegant chocolate treats and satisfy her curiosity about how these delightful delicacies are made. She can't imagine why anyone would want to harm Lady Eleanor, until she meets the real woman behind the carefully tailored image: an aging, overweight harridan who expects everyone to cater to her ever-more-eccentric whims. Sweet revenge seems the most likely motive when a particularly spectacular chocolate dessert turns deadly in Lady Eleanor's studio kitchen. It's up to Savannah to figure out which of her not-so-sweet employer's many enemies has decided the famous Death by Chocolate dessert should live up to its name. Sue Stone
The prolonged story of her heroine's dysfunctional family weighs down the pseudonymous McKevett's otherwise lively, sharply humorous mystery, the eighth (after 2002's Peaches and Screams) to feature zaftig PI Savannah Reid. Savannah, owner of the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency in San Carmelito, Calif., agrees to protect Eleanor Maxwell, aka the Gourmet Network's Lady Eleanor, after the self-titled "Queen of Chocolate" receives threatening letters. To Savannah's dismay, her client collapses after biting into a chocolate during a TV show taping and dies in her arms. Despite her seeming popularity, Lady Eleanor was notoriously bad-tempered-and worse, her recipes were a disaster. Aided and abetted by hungry, hardworking cop Dirk Coulter, Savannah encounters a number of coarse characters, notably the victim's vicious daughter and resentful ex-husband, in her search for the killer. Only one member of the Maxwell clan-Lady Eleanor's seven-year-old granddaughter, Gilly-elicits our sympathy. The unexpected arrival of Savannah's sister Cordele, who's determined to rehash the issues of their relationship and their harsh childhood, tests everyone's patience, including the reader's. Established fans may welcome the family analysis, but the uninitiated, especially those lured by the dark cat and chocolate goodies (brownies, fudge, cake, etc.) on the jacket, will find this caper a lot less cozy than meets the eye. (Jan. 14) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Never one to shy away from food, P.I. Savannah Reid (Peaches and Screams) jumps at the chance to play bodyguard for a cable TV chocolate-specialty chef who has received death threats. When the "Queen of Chocolate" eats poison and dies on the air, Savannah races to find the culprit. Delightful fare of special interest to series fans. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Once Savannah Reid, owner and operator of San Carmelita's Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency (Peaches and Screams, 2002, etc.), watches her client Eleanor Maxwell ("The Queen of Chocolate" to her fans, but the Queen of Mean to everyone who works with her) keel over dead on the set of her Gourmet Network show one bite into her just-baked torte, Savannah's job as bodyguard should logically come to an end. But whether it's from guilt over losing the client she was hired to protect, concern over what will happen to Maxwell's granddaughter Gilly without Eleanor to stand between her and her neglectful mother Louise, or plain old southern curiosity, Savannah can't let it go. She convinces police detective Dirk Coulter to let her tag along while he interviews Eleanor's maid Marie, her chauffeur Sydney Hinton, her producer Kaitlin Dover, and her business manager Martin Streck. She also tails Eleanor's ex, Burt Maxwell, checks the contents of local dumpsters, and drives social worker Angela Herriott crazy trying to get a better deal for Gilly. It's left to Tammy Hart, her assistant, to keep Moonlight Magnolia afloat and run interference between Savannah and her straitlaced younger sister Cordele, who's flown all the way from Georgia to spend quality time rehashing old grievances against their parents-and forcing Savannah to the brink of her very own homicide.
A pinch of puzzle, a dash of romance, and a heaping tablespoon of family conflict: McKevett's recipe may be tried and true, but it still delivers the goods with zest.