Mystery shopper Josie Marcus digs into another meaty murder investigation when a local restaurant owner is charged with picking off a problem customer…
Josie is getting a taste of St. Louis’s foodie scene—Travel America Guided Tours just hired her to test area restaurants for an upcoming package. Their list includes Tillie’s Off the Hill, a classic Italian joint owned by Tillie Minnelli, a former classmate of Josie’s mother. It should be a pretty sweet gig, but the assignment quickly turns sour when an unruly customer dies after eating Tillie’s special sauce.
While detectives move to put Tillie on ice for murder, Josie’s mom implores Josie to whip up another amateur investigation. The case has more secret ingredients than anyone anticipated: a jilted lover, a greedy real estate developer, and even a disgruntled employee. But there’s no time for Josie to savor all the possibilities, she must skewer the culinary killer before someone else is served a final course.
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.