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Mystery and Mayhem: Books for October
Book reviews by Augusta Russel Scattergood


What could be better than curling up with your favorite mystery story on a cool October night? How about curling up with a mystery and discovering a new recipe? Death Dines In (Berkley Crime, 2004) promises sixteen mysterious capers with recipes appended and delivers both, in spades.

Edited by Claudia Bishop and Dean James, manager of the popular Murder by the Book mystery bookstore in Houston, many of the stories in this anthology feature, not surprisingly, murder by poisoning. Consider Dean James’ "Wok on the Wild Side stir-fry." While it may have poisoned his Great Uncle Elwood, the dish seems quite delicious and completely safe. "Lois’s Fig Spread," appended to Mary Jane Maffini’s story “Cocktails with the Corpse,” is a perfect accompaniment to her martini recipe. The advice to repeat as needed could be just the thing for many of the characters in these sixteen culinary short stories.

If food, drink, and a cozy mystery aren’t your thing, pick up Karin Slaughter’s latest installment in her Cook County mystery series and you’ll be turning pages, nonstop, till you get to the end. With a plot that shifts seamlessly from a current hostage situation at the police station back twelve years to the early days of Police Captain Jeffrey Tolliver and Sara Linton’s relationship, Indelible (William Morrow, 2004) proves to be the best yet in this excellent crime series. Plenty of blood and gore to keep you awake at night, forensic details that ring true, and characters to care about--this new book by a Georgia native is not to be missed.

If you love local color and you’ve been pining for a book set in Jackson, Mississippi, give Joe Lee’s new book a try. His work in TV news comes through in the details, but you don’t have to know a b-roll shot from a soundbyte to get caught up in the action of Dead Air (Dogwood Press, 2004). Although at times you may need a scorecard to keep up with the myriad of characters, it’s a fun read and a race to the finish to ferret out the good guys from the bad guys.


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Gusty Russel Scattergood, a native Mississippi Deltan, is a retired librarian. Read more of her book reviews at USADEEPSOUTH by clicking here: USADS BOOKS



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