SPICED TO DEATH by Peter King

SPICED TO DEATH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The Gourmet Detective's second adventure (The Gourmet Detective, 1996) brings the eponymous muncher/sipper/snooper to New York Harbor from London to identify a shipment of Ko Feng, a spice believed extinct for the past 500 years. When the Ko Feng disappears and the American friend/employer of our foodie hero is killed, the latter cheerfully tells the widow to ``keep busy'' as he himself plunges into a round of Big Apple bashes to locate the bad guy who's making a killing on the gourmet black market. Lt. Gaines of Unusual Crimes grumpily permits him fellow-traveler status with the cops (even procuring some King's Balm for his indigestion), and the Detective makes canapÇ contact with several women--among them ``attractive'' Italian-American Sgt. Gabriella Rossini, whose family owns a restaurant, and ``attractive'' Ayesha Rifkin, who caters ancient cuisines. Pity poor, ``attractive'' Gloria Branson, then, who merely investigates insurance fraud. (Or does she?) There are interviews with Turkish and Chinese culinary kingpins, and the reader is also titillated by an illegal sale of deep-discount goods under a devastated Bronx church--a sale to which the whole city seems privy. But the greater appeal here is to shoppers rather than eaters or lovers. Oh, yes, there's another killing. The author tries again to sell satire (without humor) and a thoroughly effete character on the strength of pro forma sexual pretenses and glorified gustatory lusts.

Pub Date: July 12th, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-15661-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1997




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