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Throw Darts at a Cheesecake [Large Print] [Paperback]

Denise Dietz

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Book Description

April 2007 Wheeler Softcover
Ellie Bernstein joins forces with a homicide detective to investigate the murder of Jeannie Dobson and the "accidents" that are befalling her fellow members of Weight Watchers. A first novel.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Wheeler Publishing; Lrg edition (April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597224529
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597224529
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14.7 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This lighthearted but sometimes lackluster murder debut features a spunky middle-aged protagonist who has her appealing moments despite a tendency to silly behavior that defies common sense. Divorcee Ellie Bernstein is the group leader for her Weight Winners class meeting in a Colorado Springs church. When one of the most popular members dies fully clothed in a full bathtub, Ellie writes it off as an accident. Another accident involving club members (a van goes off a cliff while inside the couple are making love) seems a little more suspicious, but the death of yet another Weight Winner, an elderly woman found skewered by her knitting needles, is definitely murder. When attractive homicide cop detective Lt. Peter Miller brusquely turns down Ellie's offer to help investigate she sets off on her own to find out who is killing former fatties who are closest to their weight goals. Though Dietz's mystery has an inviting premise, it is flawed by pedestrian prose.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh March 14 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I was expecting a funny, cozy, whodunnit mystery with some nice characters who were struggling with their weight just like me... Instead, the book is closer to a gruesome slasher. I didn't find myself liking any of the characters, and they were getting knocked off at a very alarming rate. I didn't find the book humorous or entertaining at all. There are too many fun mysteries out there to bother with this one (Jill Churchill, Leslie Meier, Katherine Hall Page, Joan Hess, etc. etc.)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I Agree with UGH! Dec 18 2000
By delta - Published on Amazon.com
If you want a murder mystery that reads like a Weight Watcher propoganda indoctrination, then read this book. Every page is filled with Weight Watchers spiel. You can tell the writer lived the WW life right down to the scales and the constant water drinking. All the meeting stuff is very realistic. Yes, I am a WW backslider, so sue me.
If you want to read an interesting book filled with interesting characters, interesting conflicts and well thought out plot lines, then run and find another book. The writing style is stilted. The dialogue is bad. The writing connecting it all together is bad.
If you want to read about interesting fat people in mysterious circumstances, read Kathleen Taylor's mystery series. It's set in South Dakota with a fat crime fighter. It is hilariously well thought out and very clever.
The cheesecake is not well plotted at all. She gives a quote from Gilda Ratner in the FIRST full paragraph which tells the book title. -please- The opening page is so important. It establishes the whole premise for the book. The opening page sets the stage. It should be catchy, but certainly not reveal in the 2nd line the whole reason for the title forgoodnesssake.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LAUGH AWAY THE POUNDS Feb. 9 2000
By marigo1014@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Author Denise Dietz has written a book whose time has come....readers will laugh away the pounds as they work out the deadly puzzle Dietz has set in a modern bastion of defense against the curse of an overfed society. Weight Watchers beware! Dietz serves chilling murders among hot fudge sundaes as her protaganist searches for the calorie killer. A good solid mystery.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars UGH, Indeed! Heroine is Stupid Creep. Read Something Else! Jan. 2 2005
By Lisa Small - Published on Amazon.com
Ugh! This first-in-the-series 1999 mystery was creepy in ways the author never intended. The heroine is a diet group leader; the victims, members of the group. Even given that setting, the morbid fascination with weight and eating overwhelms this routine plot. There are near-fetishistic descriptions of tongues and teeth and lips in the act of mastication. Also overdone is the implicit contempt for people who are heavy.

In this book, fat people are stupid and crude (confusing semen with "piss" -- I ask you!); fat people are smelly, dirty, and ugly; fat people are wife beaters and worse; fat people don't want, deserve, or get to have sex (but people celebrating losing weight are so attractive and so lusty, they can't even wait to get home).

Our murderer is seen as extra-evil because he's killing off the soon-to-be-thin. The subtext is that the death of a fat person is not as much of a loss (forgive the pun!), and the death of at least one of the victims is greeted with, "Oh, but she was so close to her goal weight!" That's the tragedy -- not that she's dead, but that she died before making goal. The author also spends a great deal of time noting that one near-victim escapes burning alive through a narrow window only because she had lost so many pounds and inches; had she not, well, fry-time! And it would have been her own fault, so there!

Of course, all this applies only to the unrepentant fat. People trying to lose weight are treated with elaborate faux-pity disguised as treacly "support."

The heroine fulfills all the Stupid-Woman clichés of the genre. She boinks the detective, with no regard for the conflict of interest therein (and if the heroine doesn't notice it, surely the author should?) She tells him, over and over, that she's a pretty good detective herself, though there is nothing in the book's set-up to suggest this. She insists, completely without foundation, that the deaths of four people of her group of twenty or so -- in a single week -- must all be accidents, and not murders at all. She not once but several times intentionally evades the guards which have been set on her for her own protection. She turns felon to "obtain evidence" -- evidence which could never, of course, then be used in court, right? So let's add obstruction of justice to breaking and entering, not to mention remorselessly lying to her new lover and putting his job at risk amid great professional embarrassment -- none of which the author mentions even in passing. And last but not least, during the inevitable chase scene, she -- what? you know this part? -- SHE FALLS DOWN. Yes! Not even over a tree root! Not even from a broken heel! She falls down because, well, that's what women in peril DO.

I picked up (at the library, thank goodness) a couple of other books by this author but just couldn't get started. The weight fascination continues in 2000's "Beat Up a Cookie" -- the back cover's focus on the heroine's 55-pound weight loss was enough to turn me off that one, though since it's part of this series, you'd expect some of that. But I'd also picked up "Fifty Cents For Your Soul," a slightly-out-of-genre horror mystery with an entirely different cast of characters, written in 2002. By the third sentence of Chapter One, the heroine is obsessing on skim milk versus whatever, and that did it for me. Ptui!

If you want mysteries about food -- with a heroine who wants to lose weight but doesn't need to mention it on every page -- try the first eight books in the Goldy Bear catering mysteries by Diane Mott Davidson. Until the series goes irredeemably bad with book #10 (Sticks & Scones), those books are pretty darned good, and while Davidson lets her heroine slip into Stupid Woman behavior now and then, at least it's NEW behavior (being manipulated by her son, not calling the cops often enough on an abusive ex) instead of the old standards Dietz serves up amid all the rice cakes and carrots.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ugh nothing, it was GREAT! March 25 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I loved this book. In fact, I couldn't put it down until I finished it. Same for Ms. Dietz's second diet club mystery, Beat Up a Cookie. Now I'm hoping for a third in the series. Soon! I highly recommend Throw Darts at a Cheesecake. You won't be sorry you bought it, and that's a promise.

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