Murder on a Designer Diet: A Red Carpet Catering Mystery By Shawn Reilly Simmons
by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.
As the owner of Red Carpet Catering, Penelope Sutherland was accustomed to dealing with fluctuating schedules, unusual meal requirements, and demanding clients. She’s dealing with all three on their first day catering for an independent movie company filming in Manhattan’s historic hotel, The Crawford. Although she feels more than capable handling whatever culinary crises are thrown at her, Penny is far less comfortable dealing with the celebrity side of her lifestyle. That’s not too surprising, considering that after a night of post-fashion show clubbing Penny once again finds herself in the midst of murder.
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It is in the bathroom at the converted church nightclub Xapa that Penny witnesses a couple getting a little more friendly than appropriate. She’s not sure what to think when she later realizes that the indiscreet parties were model/club promoter Christian and Hannah Devore, the reality show girlfriend of Max Madison. Although it’s always questionable just how real reality television may be, what is certain is that Penny has just discovered Christian’s body in his hotel room and Max nowhere to be found.
Penny’s boyfriend, New Jersey Homicide Detective Joseph Baglioni, has never been particularly thrilled with her attachment to the Madison family, so his administrative suspension due to her investigations proves to be an alarming roadblock in their relationship. It’s fortunate that she has the reluctant assistance of NYPD officer Denise Gomez, who advises Penny through her investigations of the models, Hannah’s accusations, and Max’s own personal life.
Due to injuries resulting from an attack and her concern for Max, Penny has little time to focus on her catering duties. Instead, the novel highlights her investigations into the questionable modeling agency and her relationship with the Madisons. Film icon and patriarch Randall Madison returns, while Penny’s best friend and client Arlena Madison is power-eating for her own possible film role.
What stands out are the characters who come alive and become more than the usual plot devices. A nosy neighbor proves to be instrumental in providing evidence, but what makes her fascinating is both her attachment to mystery novels and her own detective father’s unsolved murder. While darker in tone than the previous installments, this third in the Red Carpet Catering Mystery series continues to realistically blend together mystery, culinary practices, and compelling insight into the entertainment industry.
This book was published by Henery Press. To learn more about their books check out their website: henerypress.com.
To enter to win a copy of Murder on a Designer Diet, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “designer,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 18, 2016. If entering via email please include your mailing address.
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