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Who's afraid of Virginia ham?
Phyllis Richman
Adult Fiction RICHMAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her third excursion into culinary crime (after Murder on the Gravy Train and the Agatha-nominated The Butter Did It) Richman throws in the requisite ingredients for a tasty whodunit, but with mixed success. Food editor Chas Wheatley is fuming over the Washington Examiner's latest hire: slick, slimy Ringo Laurenge. He may have the stuff of great reporters, but he also has a knack for annoying just about everyone else on the staff. Chas has been working on a story about America's most expensive restaurants, but she makes the mistake of telling her new colleague about it. She soon discovers that Laurenge is worming himself into a position to take over the story and leave Chas out in the cold. Her best friend, African-American theater critic Sherele Travis, encounters a more vicious side of Laurenge when he brutally assaults her. As Richman goes to tedious lengths to build a damning portrait of the obnoxious reporter, Chas and Sherele delve into Laurenge's past, trying to find some way of spiking his guns. Long after many readers will have given up on ever getting to a dead body, someone on the staff resorts to murder as the solution, when Laurenge dies from apparently lethal Virginia ham served at a work function. Though the author writes with clarity and passion about food, she explores character at the expense of suspense. The anticlimactic solution to the crime comes too late. Most readers will have put the book down and gone in search of food, thanks to the mouth-watering descriptions of the goodies Chas likes to eat. Agent, Bob Barnett. 7-city author tour. (May 3) Forecast: With The Butter Did It to be a CBS-TV Movie of the Week this fall and other film adaptations to follow, Richman should make a delicious leap in sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In her third culinary mystery (Murder on the Gravy Train, The Butter Did It), Chas Wheatley, food critic for a Washington, DC newspaper (and amateur sleuth), reels with shock after the paper's new hire, a charming but dangerously ambitious and deceitful young man, tries to put one of her favorite restaurants out of business. Fortunately, Chas, by now knowing the score, goes on the offensive, digs into his past for ammunition, and counterattacks. The man's murder, already foreshadowed, comes as no surprise, nor does the lengthy list of willing suspects. Very nicely written, with plenty of attention to food, character, and motive; an excellent selection. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Charlotte Sue "Chas" Wheatley
Age: 40s
Struggles with her weight.
Restaurant critic

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