BOOK OF THE DAY
One Taste Too Many
By Debra H. Goldstein
Publication Date: December 2018
One Taste Too Many
Review by Sharon Marchisello
One Taste Too Many, by Deborah H. Goldstein, is the first in a new three-book series from Kensington. True to the cozy mystery genre, it contains recipes, family drama, misplaced trust, and a cat.
The protagonist, divorcée Sarah Blair, struggles to make ends meet as a receptionist for a law firm in Wheaton, Alabama. She has little to show from her ten-year marriage to ruthless real estate mogul Bill Blair except for RahRah, the Siamese cat she inherited from Bill’s deceased mother. When the story opens, Sarah gets a call from her twin sister Emily (a talented chef who is Sarah’s opposite) stating that Bill is dead, possibly poisoned by Emily’s award-winning rhubarb crisp.
Sarah enlists Harlan, her boss, to represent Emily during questioning by Peter Mueller, the Wheaton police chief whom she’s known since high school. Harlan would do anything for Sarah, including keeping her on the payroll despite her mediocre office skills because he’s a little enamored of her. As is Peter.
While Emily, out on bail, prepares for an important culinary competition, Sarah pretends to help her at the venue in order to do a little amateur sleuthing. Then a fellow chef is murdered, and Emily is again found hovering over the victim.
Another complication arises when Jane, rival chef to Emily and fiancée/beneficiary of Bill, claims she is the rightful owner of RahRah and demands that Sarah hand over her beloved pet. Apparently, Bill’s mother left him a sizable animal trust and carriage house to go with it, for the use of RahRah’s caretaker. Something Bill neglected to tell Sarah about when he gave her the cat. Despite Harlan’s efforts to find a legal loophole, Sarah is obligated to relinquish RahRah to Jane, even though the woman obviously only wants the cat for the money associated with him.
Sarah’s sleuthing takes her beyond the kitchen as she follows the money to unravel Bill’s complex real estate dealings. Suspicion shifts among the characters; just when I thought I’d figured out the killer, new twists appeared. The author keeps the reader guessing until the stunning conclusion.
Deborah H. Goldstein, a frequent panelist at Killer Nashville, is the author of Maze in Blue and Should Have Played Poker, a Silver Falchion nominee. Her short story, “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” was published by Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (May/June 2017) and was later named an Anthony and Agatha Award Finalist. A former litigator and judge, Deborah now lives with her husband in Birmingham. She is active in Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Guppies.
Sharon Marchisello (sharonmarchisello.com) is the author of Going Home, (Sunbury Press, 2014) a murder mystery inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and a nonfiction book about personal finance, Live Well, Grow Wealth. She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a member of the Atlanta chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives in Peachtree City, GA, with her husband and cat, does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society, and writes a blog about personal finance, Countdown to Financial Fitness https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/.