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The Butter Did It: A Gastronomic Tale of Love and Murder [Hardcover]

Phyllis Richman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 17 1997
Restaurant critic Chas Wheatley enlists the aid of detective/gourmand Homer Jones to investigate the death of Laurence Levain, Washington's finest French chef and an ex-lover, who supposedly died of an overdose of foie gras. A first novel. Tour."

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Here's a mystery guaranteed to make you hungry--for the salmon-filled pasta squares that Chef Laurence Levain sells for $20 a pop at his Washington, D.C. restaurant, for the salad of curly chicory and thick chunks of country bacon that first brings Levain and American food critic Chas (for Charlotte Sue) Wheatley together in Paris, for the warm polenta salad and pan-fried three-meat dumplings served at the CityTastes benefit the night that Levain is found dead of an apparent heart attack and Chas--his lover--has to write his obituary. Washington Post restaurant critic Phyllis Richman certainly knows her food, and her skill at keeping a lively mystery plot simmering is almost as impressive.

From Library Journal

Richman, a Washington Post restaurant critic, makes her bid for fans of the cooking and/or catering mystery subgenre. The narrator and protagonist here, Charlotte Sue "Chas" Wheatley, serves as restaurant critic for a D.C. newspaper. Suspicious about the sudden death of her former lover, an eminent French chef, she cries murder and begins sleuthing. Richman certainly knows the food territory?a nongourmand may need a dictionary?but the mystery set-up seems a bit frantic, complete with close calls, secret lover, and multiple culinary descriptions. For larger collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Real McCoy July 20 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I really enjoyed this debut effort by Phyllis Richman. As a DC transplant and wife of a native, Ms. Richman goes a long way in painting a detailed and accurate picture of the region I call home, even when peppered with fictitious places and landmarks. She also draws a fine mystery novel, encouraging readers to follow through on her false-leads, as far as her title character, Chas. While I did guess who the real murderer was pretty early on- this did not detract from my enjoyment of this novel and anticipation for her next entree'. Ms. Richman has taken such care with all of the character's close to Chas that I feel that I would know many of them if I encountered them on the Metro, the Mall, or Georgetown! I look forward to hearing more about Lily, Ari, Paul, Dave, Sherele, Homer, and Brian. Bravo!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read this in a weekend Sept. 5 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a good read for a long weekend. This was a spontaneous purchase because I liked the title. I figured that the author had a sense of humor. Boy! Does she?! This is a nice moving book with lots of insider information on the food industry as well as inside the beltway. The characters are well-rounded (and not perfect). I liked every character and did not want a single one of them to be the "dirty guy." The food details without the recipes littering the content is a welcome change, and walking the city streets can help the psyche -- try it! I will definitely buy more from this author.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It was a fast moving, entertaining story March 29 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed reading Phyllis Richman's first murder mystery- so much so I hope she continues to write more. Having lived in the Washington area, I have enjoyed her restaurant reviews. I also like cooking. Combine murder mysteries with cooking and I'm hooked. The plot to "The Butter Did It" is well constructed and it has plenty of suspects. You learn a lot about the main character, food critic Chas Wheatley. She is not perfect, though. I have a hard time believing she loves to walk in Washington D.C. Traffic, construction and pollution make that difficult. Never mind, it's a good read.
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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I loved this book! It was very well written and flowed smoothly. Kept me guessing all the way to the end, always a plus. Each of the characters was likable, although they were all flawed (or real). Are there really that many sensitive men in the world? It was interesting to read the "behind the scenes" happenings of the restaurant world. And the descriptions of the food got my culinary juices going. The receipe at the end was a great touch. Can't wait for the next one!
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