Potomac mom investigates a murder.
Not just any murder: her former best friend is dead, an apparent suicide. But Claire Newman ran into Lydia Finelli at a Bethesda bakery not long before. Should Claire have known that something was wrong? First clue: Lydia’s blond hair was expertly cut and highlighted but not as thick and shiny as before. And there was no suicide note—Lydia’s life certainly seemed perfect. But, as a writer for a newsmagazine, Claire is good at digging up dirt, and she soon discovers lots of other stuff: Lydia’s secret and long-ago relationship with Claire’s brother Rob, pot-smoking loser turned Hollywood mogul, who may be the father of Lydia’s teenaged son; Lydia’s apparent flirtation with a young, handsome coach; Lydia’s careful concealment of the unhappy details of her marriage to Matthew, a doctor who may have been fooling around with Jill, the dowdy but brilliant head of a biotech company in which Matt had invested—oh, it’s all so confusing. And then there was that note on the Finellis’ refrigerator, listing all the tyramine-containing foods and beverages, like cheese and wine, that Lydia was supposed to avoid because of her antidepressant medication. But when Claire discovered the body, she just happened to notice that Lydia’s kitchen garbage can was crammed with wrappers for those very foods. Did Lydia deliberately gorge on lethal snacks? More snooping around at a local gourmet shop reveals that someone very close to the victim bought a fancy blender and certain foods that interact dangerously with antidepressants, such as Stilton cheese, Chianti, pickled herring, and sauerkraut. Looks like the killer made a deadly smoothie and somehow force-fed it to Lydia! But Claire figures it all out and gets home in time to tuck her adorable children and corporate lawyer husband into bed.
Revolting premise, wooden prose, contrived plot. Not much of a debut for journalist Brophy.