Interrupting their San Francisco honeymoon for dinner at Richard Killian’s Maize and Blue sports bar, Ann Arbor police lieutenant Karl Genesko and computer whiz Anneke Haagen are watching the Michigan football game when they’re interviewed about their food preferences by Michigan graduate student Lindsay Summers, who is appalled at Chef Cody’s mega-fat, mega-cholesterol menu. Lindsay sips only abstemious tomato juice, but dies anyway of yew poisoning. Whodunit, and why? Offering to help the SFPD, Karl enlists Zoe Kaplan, a student reporter back home (The Silly Season, 1999, etc.), to research the suspects around the dinner table: food critic George McMartin, fitness-club owner Jeremy Blake, rising attorney Mercedes Rojas, investment banker Noelle Greene, venture capitalists Blair and Elisa Falcone, and carnivore-hating freelance writer Barbara Williams. Zoe’s discoveries include Williams’s membership in the Vegan Militia and Summers’s affair with Congressman Griffith Carr, who was using her doctoral statistics to authenticate his food-tax bill. The Maize and the Blue will be firebombed, one more will die, and poor Zoe will be trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey before Karl and Anneke conclude that although food may not be better than sex, particularly on a honeymoon, it comes in a close second.
Amusing takes on foodies, diet gurus, fat vs. thin women, strawberries and morels, temperamental chefs, picketing for the TV media, and legislating food consumption for the public good. And if the plot wanders a bit, not to worry: there’s a great snack just waiting to be sampled. Includes one fusilli recipe (not tasted).