Who's Afraid of Virginia Ham? Mass Market Paperback – Apr 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
In her third excursion into culinary crime (after Murder on the Gravy Train and the Agatha-nominated The Butter Did It) Richman throws in the requisite ingredients for a tasty whodunit, but with mixed success. Food editor Chas Wheatley is fuming over the Washington Examiner's latest hire: slick, slimy Ringo Laurenge. He may have the stuff of great reporters, but he also has a knack for annoying just about everyone else on the staff. Chas has been working on a story about America's most expensive restaurants, but she makes the mistake of telling her new colleague about it. She soon discovers that Laurenge is worming himself into a position to take over the story and leave Chas out in the cold. Her best friend, African-American theater critic Sherele Travis, encounters a more vicious side of Laurenge when he brutally assaults her. As Richman goes to tedious lengths to build a damning portrait of the obnoxious reporter, Chas and Sherele delve into Laurenge's past, trying to find some way of spiking his guns. Long after many readers will have given up on ever getting to a dead body, someone on the staff resorts to murder as the solution, when Laurenge dies from apparently lethal Virginia ham served at a work function. Though the author writes with clarity and passion about food, she explores character at the expense of suspense. The anticlimactic solution to the crime comes too late. Most readers will have put the book down and gone in search of food, thanks to the mouth-watering descriptions of the goodies Chas likes to eat. Agent, Bob Barnett. 7-city author tour. (May 3)Forecast: With The Butter Did It to be a CBS-TV Movie of the Week this fall and other film adaptations to follow, Richman should make a delicious leap in sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Library Journal
In her third culinary mystery (Murder on the Gravy Train, The Butter Did It), Chas Wheatley, food critic for a Washington, DC newspaper (and amateur sleuth), reels with shock after the paper's new hire, a charming but dangerously ambitious and deceitful young man, tries to put one of her favorite restaurants out of business. Fortunately, Chas, by now knowing the score, goes on the offensive, digs into his past for ammunition, and counterattacks. The man's murder, already foreshadowed, comes as no surprise, nor does the lengthy list of willing suspects. Very nicely written, with plenty of attention to food, character, and motive; an excellent selection.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
However, Ringo proves to be arrogant and nasty rather quickly, earning the hatred of the entire news room in spite of his brilliance at writing a story. No one is saved from his scathing remarks and soon much of the staff wants him dead including restaurant critic Chas Wheatley, who has had the boy wonder steal some of her ideas. However, she believes he crosses the line when he attacks a local restaurant, Two Views. Not long afterward, someone decides to take matters into their own hands and kills Ringo. Chas wonders if perhaps one of her colleagues murdered the odious journalist or perhaps someone involved in the restaurant he dissed did the deed. She starts her own investigation to find out who did it and why.
WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA HAM, the third Wheatley culinary mystery, is an exciting, cleverly plotted who-done-it with a myriad of suspects as the victim is universally loathed. Chas is a wonderful character and the support cast adds to the savory demeanor of a gourmet delight of an amateur sleuth novel.