Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Iced to Death

Author:  Peg Cochran
Genre:  Mystery

Four Stars

Gigi Fitzgerald, owner of Gigi's Gourmet De-Lite, knows how to put her clients' cravings on ice.  But catching a slippery killer is more of a challenge...

Gigi's business may be hot, but her homelife is leaving her cold.  Her sister, Pia, has dropped in for an unannounced visit and, much to Gigi's chagrin, has immediately fallen for handsome bar owner Declan McQuaid.  So when Declan asks Gigi to help him prep for a big engagement party, she's not only dealing with the heat of the kitchen and her own feelings for Declan, but Pia's jealousy.

However, Gigi's rising temperature quickly chills when the host of the party is found stabbed to death with an ice pick in the back of the pub.  Now, as Gigi's beau, Detective Mertz, hones in on Declan as a possible murderer, Gigi will have to shave down the growing list of suspects quickly, before Pia's newfound love interest finds himself locked in the cooler...(from the back cover).


There were problems with the beginning of the book which irked me a little: Gigi has a diet meal company that she runs from home, which is fine.  She delivers her meals to clients three times day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)  I began to wonder: Why?  Why didn't she just make all the meals for the day the night before and deliver them all at once?  They had to be reheated anyway, so why make the trip three times a day?  It's an awful lot of extra work and driving, especially in winter.  It seemed she wasn't managing her time efficiently, and with all of the sleuthing she was doing, it must have taken only minutes in the kitchen for all of the meals, packaging, etc., and I began to think everyone lived a block away from each other.  She even added extra clients to her schedule, and had time along the way to stop and visit with all her friends in between the deliveries.  Wonder Woman does exist.  The other problem I have is bad grammar. The author kept repeating how people "felt badly" for others, when she should have said they "felt bad."  To feel 'badly' means that you are probably groping around in the dark.  This wasn't a one-time thing, it was used several times (and used correctly once). 

Aside from that, the book was a nice enough, if quick, read.   After leaving Declan's restaurant, Gigi nearly falls over a dead body in the dark parking lot.  Since the murder weapon belonged to Declan, he would naturally be the first suspected.  So when Gigi's sister Pia, who is infatuated with Declan, insist she help find the real murderer, Gigi reluctantly agrees even though she knows it won't please her police detective boyfriend, Bill Mertz.  It doesn't help that she told Mertz she wasn't able to go to the engagement party with him because she would be working with Declan, whom Mertz is jealous of, because he believes Gigi has feelings for Declan.  Not having read any previous books in the series, the only thing I can tell you is that she "blushes every time" she sees him and thinks he has a "hot body," but none of her actions in this book would indicate she has any true feelings for him; in fact, there isn't a lot of interaction between Gigi and Declan.

Gigi knows she should stay out of the investigation, but wants to help her sister, and doesn't believe that Declan is guilty.  Pretty soon, though, she has a whole roster of suspects to sift through, and all of them had a reason to want the man dead.  Just when she thinks she's found the killer and has the murder solved someone else dies, which throws her theory into the trashcan and she has to start all over again, looking for more clues and going over the ones she already has.

Fortunately, this book picked up after the first half.  There were enough red herrings to keep me interested, and although I can't say I was truly surprised when the murderer was discovered, it was a nice enough journey along the way, and one I think others will enjoy.

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