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Catered Murder [Hardcover]

Isis Crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Dec 1 2003
Bernadette Simmons wasn't sure what to expect when she left L.A. - and her no-good, cheating boyfriend - to move back in with her too close for comfort family in New York. And her sister Libby had no idea what she was in for when she hired Bernie to work for her catering business. But in between cutting up canapes and dishing up desserts, the two find themselves in the midst of a mystery they can really sink their teeth into...It's only been a few days since Libby hired her sister Bernie to help out at A Little Taste of Heaven, and already they've got their hands full - baking cookies and slicing rare beef tenderloin to serve at a high school reunion. The dinner has a "Dracula" theme and a very strange guest of honour: Laird Wrenn, a New York Times best selling author of vampire novels. From the minute he sweeps into the school cafeteria - decked out in a cape, accompanied by some truly odd hangers on - Libby and Bernie know this will be an evening unlike any other. And they're right. During his after dinner speech, Wrenn pours a glass of water, takes a long sip - and drops stone cold dead...Now Libby and Bernie will have to put their heads together to figure out whodunit - in a mystery that promises to be deadly to the very last bite. ..

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In her assured debut, Crawford, a caterer with many travel-related articles to her credit, introduces an appealing family trio: tender-hearted Libby Simmons, owner of a catering business, A Little Taste of Heaven, in Longely, N.Y.; her wisecracking sister, Bernie, a refugee from L.A. and a disastrous marriage; and Sean, their wheelchair-bound father, a retired police chief. Nasty Laird Wrenn, a best-selling author of vampire fiction, plans to celebrate his success with appropriate menu (Bloody Marys, devil's food cake) and decor to match (black roses, a coffin) at a reunion dinner to be held at the local high school. When Laird drops dead at the dinner after drinking a glass of water, a slew of ill-wishers, including Libby's close friend Tiffany, whom Laird was stringing along, become suspects in his sudden demise. A naturally flowing narrative, lively and likable characters, and plenty of clever word play amid the foul play set this first novel above the common run of cozies.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"In A Catered Murder, Isis Crawford has served up a delicious menu for a cozy mystery that has all the right ingredients. A terrific debut!"

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars delicious culinary mystery Nov. 26 2003
Format:Hardcover
After discovering lover in bed with her friend and co-worker, Bernadette Simmons walks out of their house wearing only the clothes on her back and carrying her pocketbook. She returns to her hometown Longley where her father and sister still live in order to do some emotional healing. She helps her sister Libby cater the seventeenth Annual Clarington High school reunion with former alumni and guest of honor Laird Wrenn, a world renown horror author who just signed a seven figure book deal for two novels.
At the reunion, Laird is giving his opening remarks when he takes a drink of water and dies almost instantly. The police believe the water is poisoned and the killer is Libby's friend Tiffany Doddy. The prime suspect had a very public fight with the author after she found out he was going to marry someone else after leading her on for almost two decades. Though Tiffany confesses, Libby refuses to believe her friend killed the man and decides to find the guilty party. Bernie also helps her sibling by questioning some viable suspects and by the time she figures out who the killer is, she is at that person's mercy.
Fans who love culinary mysteries are going to gain pounds after reading this delicious who-done-it. The two Simmons sisters are heroines even though they think, act, and resolve problems differently. They bring a sense of balance to A CATERED MURDERED, a very exciting debut mystery by an author who provides a moveable feast starring characters readers will care about. The non-stop action adds another touch of excitement to this fast moving plot.
Harriet Klausner
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaing mystery, but flawed... May 25 2005
By Mackie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book definitely is worth a read if you like culinary mysteries (and I do). However, I was surprised that the book was originally published in hard cover; it reads like a novice writer's paperback original. The characters are painted with a broad brush: the "not nice" people are really, really not nice, while the nice people are overly nice. The author overuses attribution, which can become annoying if you're a reader who likes good writing. Also, I find the lack of POV requires Ms. Crawford to use proper names in overabundance. Then there are the times I'm not really sure which of the sisters is speaking, because it sounds like one while being attributed to the other. Hmmmm. These are minor flaws when compared to the number of writers who shouldn't be allowed to string words together for money, but they are an irritant to someone who appreciates a skilled use of language. As a final insult, the recipes are for some of the most mundane dishes mentioned in the book. Read the paperback; it's entertaining and fun. But don't bother with the hard bound edition.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delicious culinary mystery Nov. 26 2003
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
After discovering lover in bed with her friend and co-worker, Bernadette Simmons walks out of their house wearing only the clothes on her back and carrying her pocketbook. She returns to her hometown Longley where her father and sister still live in order to do some emotional healing. She helps her sister Libby cater the seventeenth Annual Clarington High school reunion with former alumni and guest of honor Laird Wrenn, a world renown horror author who just signed a seven figure book deal for two novels.
At the reunion, Laird is giving his opening remarks when he takes a drink of water and dies almost instantly. The police believe the water is poisoned and the killer is Libby's friend Tiffany Doddy. The prime suspect had a very public fight with the author after she found out he was going to marry someone else after leading her on for almost two decades. Though Tiffany confesses, Libby refuses to believe her friend killed the man and decides to find the guilty party. Bernie also helps her sibling by questioning some viable suspects and by the time she figures out who the killer is, she is at that person's mercy.
Fans who love culinary mysteries are going to gain pounds after reading this delicious who-done-it. The two Simmons sisters are heroines even though they think, act, and resolve problems differently. They bring a sense of balance to A CATERED MURDERED, a very exciting debut mystery by an author who provides a moveable feast starring characters readers will care about. The non-stop action adds another touch of excitement to this fast moving plot.
Harriet Klausner
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read Feb. 12 2006
By Mystery Girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Isis Crawford's first book is a good, easy read. The two sisters work well together and I especially enjoyed their father Sean, a former police officer, who being disable, is similar to a Perry Mason's "Ironside." The banter is light, but many, many editing mistakes which made it choppy reading in some areas, which I hope the editors will take note of next time. The Dracula theme was a little over done, but the cast of characters, overall, made this a delighful read. I never did figure out who the killer was on my own, a BIG plus. I can hardly wait to read the second book, "A Catered Wedding." The description of Libby's cooking made me hungry throughout the whole thing, but then bonus pages with all the recipes at the end of the book were very welcome.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly entertaining Oct. 2 2007
By Karen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a lover of cozy mysteries, so when I stumbled onto this series, I was hopeful that it would be entertaining. I just finished A Catered Murder and will probably read the next book in the series, but there are a few problems. The dialogue is often confusing. I can't tell which character is speaking. The grammatical errors detract from the story also. It has not really been explained what Sean's medical problem is. All in all, this book is mildly absorbing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best, not the worst Sept. 14 2009
By Holly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I love cozy mysteries and am always on the lookout for an author I haven't read. When this kept popping up on my Amazon recommendations, I decided to give it a try since all the ingredients are there for a mystery I would love.

While I didn't dislike the book, it didn't really catch my interest either. When I first started reading, I thought there was a lot of potential. I liked the fact that there were two major sleuths rather than just one since that's different than the way most cozies are written. I also like the fact, while sisters, they were very different characters so they would be able to play well off of each other. The setting of a small town not too distant from New York and a restaurant/bakery seemed an ideal setup.

On the negative side, the potential wasn't realized for me. The setting did not end up playing a major role and I couldn't really define for you what the restaurant/bakery was -- bakery, restaurant, catering firm? It was also filled with employees that were mentioned only in passing but I hope they would be fleshed out in future books. I noticed that other reviewers mentioned the need for a stronger editor and I fully agree. While some of the horrible grammer is used as dialogue by the characters (and therefore gets a pass), there were still areas that could have been tightened up to make it a better book. For example: I counted six references to the character of Bernie playing with her onyx and silver ring. It was so often that I really thought the ring held one of the clues to the murder, but it was just overly described. Also, on page 116, "Bernie handed the bag back to Janet". A conversation ensues between the two characters and at its conclusion "Janet shook her head as Bernie handed the bag back to her." Not sure how that could happen.

The other thing I feel a need to tell readers about is that it's unusual to find a cozy with major cuss words and this one has them. Particularly the major cuss word of all time. The typical cozy reader isn't usually someone who likes reading profanity and it didn't add to the story in any way. I'm not at all sure why it was included.

Bottom line: I probably won't be reading the next in the series which I am truly sad about. There are too many really good mystery series out there (Tea Shop Series by Laura Childs and Coffee Shop Series by Cleo Coyle) to spend the time pursuing this one.
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