Allergic to Death by Peg Cochran is the first book in the new “Gourmet De-Lite” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, August 2012

Preparing calorie-conscious meals for the dieters of Woodstone, Connecticut, Gigi Fitzgerald knows a cheater when she sees one. And when murder is on the menu, she’s ready to get the skinny on whodunit.

Business is looking up for Gigi’s Gourmet De-Lite, thanks to her newest client, restaurant reviewer Martha Bernhardt. Martha has the clout to put Gigi’s personal meal plans on everyone’s lips. But instead of dropping a few pounds, Martha drops dead from a severe peanut allergy…right after eating one of Gigi’s signature dishes.

When the distractingly debonair Detective Mertz identifies traces of peanut oil in Martha’s last meal, Gigi suddenly finds her diet catering business on the chopping block. Now she’ll have to track down who tampered with her recipe before her own goose is cooked.

In the small town of Woodstone, someone is using delicious gourmet food as a murder weapon and Gigi has no other course but to find a murderer to protect her burgeoning business and reputation. I like it. The key characters are all likable, from Gigi whose dogged pursuit of justice helped to apprehend a killer. There’s her best friend Sienna who plays the role of sidekick and lends a welcome ear when needed. Adorable Reg who gives Gigi unconditional love and then there’s Detective Mertz. The author did a good job in keeping me in suspense in this nicely prepared mystery that entertained me from beginning to its rewarding conclusion. This is an irresistibly and appetizingly delightful debut in the cozy genre that I hope is here to stay.

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