Death on a Platter by Elaine Viets is the 7th book in the “Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian (Penguin), November 2011

Mystery shopper and mom Josie Marcus knows how to keep a low profile—in style. On her newest assignment scouting St. Louis eateries, she encounters a saucy kill with a secret ingredient.

Josie plans to savor her new assignment sampling the local St. Louis cuisine for a City Eats Food tour. She devours the delicious toasted ravioli at Tillie’s Off the Hill Italian Restaurant—until her appetite is ruined when another customer is poisoned. Revenge is best served cold, but sometimes it comes with dipping sauce on the side.

The owner, Tillie, is an old friend of Josie’s mother, who, after Tillie is arrested, begs Josie to investigate. Was the victim the real target—or is someone trying to ruin the restauranteur’s reputation? Either way, it’s up to Josie to find a killer who had no reservation about preparing a dish to die for.

Josie’s next mystery shopping assignment is a whopper considering she has to eat brains and ears. Will she or not?, but before she can answer that, at the urging of her mother, Josie is asked to find a killer when her mother’s friend is arrested and jailed for the death of an unruly customer. I always have a great visit with Josie and this one was the best one yet. This was a delectable read with great food and a mystery to boot. The mystery kept me guessing with a bit of a surprise that I didn’t see coming. I enjoy the dynamics of Josie’s relationship with her mother, daughter, best friend and her boyfriend. With a lovable cast, great dialogue and a journey through St. Louis delicacies, this was a delightfully appetizing and entertaining read and I look forward to the next exciting adventures with Josie and her friends.

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