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Publishers Weekly, 2008-08-04 When elderly Mrs. Andrews blithely jumps to her death off the tower of Saint Odo the Severe during a church charity event in the Cotswolds village of Comfrey Magna, LSD-laced jam proves to be the cause in bestseller Beaton's saucy 19th Agatha Raisin mystery (after 2007's Kissing Christmas Goodbye). Agatha joins the local authorities in the investigation, which focuses on the six women who contributed jam to the church fete, including wealthy Sybilla Triast-Perkins. Agatha and Toni Gilmour, her young detective-in-training, soon find unmasking the lethal jam poisoner complicated by Sybilla's sudden suicide and a murder connected to the theft of the fete's proceeds. Beaton's sly humor enhances the cozy-style plotting, while updates on Agatha's and Toni's respective romantic travails are delightful as ever. The open-ended resolution points to more madcap mayhem to come. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2008-04-14 Death and chocolate in Beverly Hills sounds like a delicious way to die, but it's an unfortunate combo for Lupe Ortiz, a Latina cleaning lady, in Smiley's appealing fourth Tucker Sinclair sleuthfest (after 2007's Short Change). Tucker, a marketing expert, finds Lupe's body in the bathroom of Nectar, a new gourmet chocolate shop owned by a client of Tucker's. A quetzal feather left by the corpse, a signature of the MayaBoyz, points to Lupe's son Roberto, who belongs to the East L.A. gang, as the prime suspect. Doubtful of Roberto's guilt, Tucker asks her PI friend, Charley Tate, to investigate. Her overeager assistant, Eugene Barstok, also gets involved, but causes dismay when he disappears while undercover. Smiley fills this chocolate-enriched puzzler with touristy L.A. intel, while Tucker's no-nonsense first-person narration keeps the pages turning despite a predictable ending. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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