SWEET DEATH, COME SOFTLY by Barbara Whitehead


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 The New Year does not start out well at the family-run Benn Chocolate factory: Hannah Benn, who oversees production of the mass-market Benn's Bars, and her mother Faith, who supervises the upscale specialty items, are at odds over the visiting chocolatier Pierre Fontaine's creation, the as-yet-unnamed ``Recipe 129.'' Then Pierre suddenly disappears--along with the recipe. Industrial espionage? A foreign concern has tried to take over Benn's, and Detective Chief Inspector Bob Southwell is soon on the case, convinced that there's been a murder. But it's a while before Pierre's body surfaces among some warehoused chocolates. Meanwhile, Hannah's new secretary is secretly meeting a rival confectioner, something shocking is discovered at the home of a Benn workman, and Hannah and Faith decide to smoke out the industrial spy at a special board meeting. Finally, Southwell will rally to snare the unlikely culprits and restore peace to the Benn planet. A ridiculous denouement undercuts Whitehead's very civilized prose and her gentle probing at a lifestyle in transition--the old, genteel ways of York giving way to the influx of tourists, automation, and the less personal methods of doing business. A notch below its three predecessors (The Dean It Was That Died, etc.), then, but still a rather cozy read.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-08900-7
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993