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CHILE DEATH
by Susan Witting Albert
Berkley Prime Crime, October 1999
306 pages
$6.99
ISBN: 0425171477


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

There are actually only about 296 pages of story in this book. The rest is taken up with recipes and chili (or chili) resources, along with some stuff about whether it's okay to make the stuff with or without beans. But I digress.

The main plot concerns a case of anaphylactic shock, brought on by a reaction to an ingredient in a cup of chili. One of the judges of the local chili contest has an allergic reaction to this particular ingredient and dies. Accident? Or murder? If murder, why?

This thread is well handled with nice clues, logic and a proper ending. Unfortunately, at least for my taste, there are entirely too many other plot lines, at least one of which is worth far more attention than it receives. Our protagonist, China Bayles, still hanging out in Pecan Springs, Texas, is saddled with a crippled lover and a meddling mom. There's plenty of anxiety and conflict there. Then we have a staff aide at the local nursing home where Bayles' lover, McQuaid, is recovering from gunshot wounds, accused of theft, something China can't avoid looking in to, plus there's the pressure on China from her friend to enter a business partnership.

Well of course it all gets sorted out in the end, we learn a whole lot about chili (or chili), and the ending satisfies, but I still wonder how wise it is to use recipes from authors who write so cleverly about murder.

The reviewer is the author of

INNER PASSAGES and

A SUPERIOR MYSTERY

http://www.Minnesotacrimewave.org/

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, February 2003

This book has more than one review. Click here to show all.

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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