Book Review: Something’s Cooking by Joanne Pence

An Angie Almafi Mystery

by Joanne Pence

Meet Angie Almafi, a young, beautiful, single, and wealthy young woman living in San Francisco. She writes a food column for a little rag called the Bay Area Shopper that features unusual recipes. The recipes come from an acquaintance who offers such “tantalizing” treats as Marshmallow and Bean Sprout Blintzes and Peanut Butter Omelets.

Life should be one piece of cake after another for our socialite, Angie. However when a package arrives that ticks, trouble begins. Angie stuffs the gift in the dishwasher where it explodes. Homicide Inspector Paavo Smith is in the area and is called to the scene. He wonders why he’s been called. He’s nominated for the spot because he has the best record for solving murders, and though Angie isn’t dead, her family is connected to the mayor and the chief of police and they want a quick resolution to the event. Paavo Smith is also called to investigate the unrelated murder of a 60 year old low life who has been stabbed to death.

Angie receives more macabre gifts and is almost run down by a speeding car. She can’t figure out why someone wants to harm her. Inspector Smith, while attempting to keep her safe and solve the murder, begins to have feelings for her that he shouldn’t. Angie gets the vapors for him. It turned out to be an “I love you, I hate you” type of relationship. This got very old and detracted from the story. As did their sex scenes. Most of the cozies I have enjoyed have not had that stuff in them, and that suits me just fine. And one more thing that chapped my hide was the repeated references to Angie’s Hepplewhite chairs. What is a Hepplewhite chair and who really cares that she had a white one and a yellow one? I actually had to search online to find out what the big deal was. Apparently these are overpriced straight-backed chairs a la Louis the 16th and cost at least $2000 grand per chair. While it was nice that Angie had money enough for these chairs, it was truly irritating to have to hear how often she put her tuckus in one. Egad!

I was totally disappointed in Angie. She was the biggest, neediest, most insecure cozy protagonist I have ever come across. I couldn’t even give her the title of heroine because she was so pitiful. I am a fan of the female characters in cozies who have spunk and get involved in figuring out whodunit from the get go. Angie was fearful and weak throughout the book. She did not start to get involved in solving the crime until the end of the book.

I can only give this cozy 1 of 5 stars. The plot had potential, but the characters were awful. If you have read an Angie Almafi Mystery I would be curious to see what you think. If anyone has a book they have read and enjoyed please let us know by posting a comment on my blog.

Happy Reading and Merry Christmas!!

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