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DEVIL'S FOOD by Janice Weber


by Janice Weber

Pub Date: March 11th, 1996
ISBN: 0-446-51772-0

 A fourth novel from the author of Frost the Fiddler (1992), etc., with so many plot twists that not seeing the forest for the trees way understates the problem. It's the familiar good twin/bad twin (angel/devil) scenario, as solid citizen and chef Emily Banks and her irresponsible actress sister, Philippa, become involved in a wacky murder mystery with TV sitcom-esque impersonations of each other to spare. Set predominantly in Boston--with sojourns to Manhattan, New Hampshire, and LA--the main storyline, if it can be pinned down at all, is the search for a main murderer (there are subcategories). When Emily's husband Ross's business partner--architect and chronic womanizer Dana Forbes--drops dead at the restaurant where Emily has just begun working, her new boss doesn't think twice. But when the dishwasher bites it a few days later, Emily's fired for ``bad karma.'' Her previous boss, Guy Witten, with whom she'd been having an affair, gets knocked off, too, when he answers what he thinks is Emily's beckoning but is really the conniving Philippa's. Meanwhile, Ross has finally figured out that Emily never loved Dana (as he'd feared) but did love Guy, whose death was partly due to a tip that he, Ross, gave this particular killer. From this point on, characters drop like flies, and loose ends spring out like coils on an old mattress. Emily plays actress at a film preview; Ross has a one-night-stand with his long-suffering secretary; Philippa gets shot by a woman in a turban who's been popping up all over. Sculptors, monasteries, suicides, purple silk bikini briefs: By the time a pregnant Emily solves the crime(s) and uncovers the (related) secret of her and Philippa's heritage, the reader may well wish the entire cast had been poisoned in the opening scene. A head rush worthy of a Betty Crocker's Deluxe.