A diet-club leader with a taste for crime investigates a murder.
Ellie Bernstein, who’s babysitting a border collie for shy, insecure fellow member Rachel Lester, is hanging out with her boyfriend, Lt. Peter Miller of Colorado Springs Homicide, when he’s called to a murder scene. Ignoring his obligatory warning, Ellie plans to find out who strangled Sara Lee, who looked and sounded just like Barbra Streisand, and tossed her body into the dumpster behind Uncle Vinnie’s Gourmet Italian Restaurant, where she worked as a waitress. Unfortunately, Sara’s abusive, hot-tempered husband Trent has an alibi. So who else didn’t like Sara Lee? When Rachel’s controlling husband Matthew Lester is found dead, Ellie, learning that Rachel isn’t really in Houston taking care of her sick sister, adds finding Rachel to her list of things to do. Interviews with restaurant staff, community-theater people, Trent’s karaoke-crazed sister and her own brother hint that the two murders may be related. Ellie’s lost 55 pounds and an annoying husband, but even at the risk of alienating Peter, she still can’t control the sleuthing habit that’s replaced eating as her favorite thing to do.
Dietz (Chain a Lamb Chop to Bed, 2005, etc.) has created some amusing characters in search of a plot coherent enough to showcase their talents.