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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Allergic to Death (Gourmet De-Lite Mystery #1)

Allergic to Death - Peg Cochran

First, let me just get this off my chest:  I hate the series name.  "De-Lite"  blech!  Ok, I'm done.


Not a bad first outing or first book in a series. Not great one though either.


I suffered through an immediate introduction in the first chapter of almost all the suspects, which made the first third of the book a bit of a bear, trying to remember who was who and keeping them from running together in my head. There was a bit - not a lot - of calorie counting that felt a bit unhealthy to me. Obviously, calorie counting is part of the protagonists job, but a few times when not doing her job, it's mentioned. Also, her reasons for "investigating" didn't feel realistic to me: she worries if she doesn't find out who really committed the crime, her business will suffer - but it never actually does, save for a contract from a big food company that she wasn't counting on anyway.


The protagonist, Gigi, kept having a running internal dialogue about Carlo, another character, that left me feeling completely confused: is she interested or not? I literally could not get a feel for what the author was trying to get across here.


Finally: a scene where one of the characters claims he can help her because his restaurant is closed for lunch do to plumbing issues, then in the very next scene, Gigi is having lunch at that same restaurant that same day. Stuff like that bugs me.  How do editors not see that???


There are things I did enjoy: I love the small town the author has created; she has introduced some interesting characters that could play a bigger part in future books. I like the detective she's introduced here too - although he wasn't around much throughout the story, she dropped enough hints of possible romantic tension that I'd like to read more.  I love that the best friend plays a role and owns a bookshop. And I really liked the little twist at the end that had nothing to do with the plot, but left a smile on my face regardless.


The mystery itself was interesting, with lots of suspects who had good reasons for wanting the deceased dead. I liked the final conflict as well, it was a nice twist on the heroine-in-peril cliché.  I'll look for the next one and see which direction the series is going in before deciding to follow or not.