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Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 5 a.m.

'Death on a Platter' by Elaine Viets will leave you hungry for more

By Lisa Allmendinger

Death on a Platter
A Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Mystery No. 7
By Elaine Viets

Paperback, 288 pages, $7.99

We all have them. Favorite authors who we look forward to reading — title after title after title. Elaine Viets is one of my favorite cozy authors. I look forward to each new installment in both her Mystery Shopper and her Dead End Job series


This time, Josie is tasked with eating menu items such as brains, toasted ravioli, pigs ears and St. Louis pizza as she mystery shops several restaurants for an upcoming TAG (Travel America Guided) food tour.

And with the new assignment, her boss, Harry says, "Last time, you complained when I asked you to mystery shop a salad restaurant. Now you're upset because I want you to eat good old St. Louis grease. Choke down the brains and enjoy the rest."

Sampling local cuisine should be a snap for Josie, right? Who doesn't like to eat?

One stop on the mystery shopping tour is the famous toasted ravioli at Tillie's Off the Hill, which is owned by her mother's childhood friend, Tillie. And although the food is to die for, a poisoning at the restaurant might kill off the owner's loyal customer base.

With her veterinarian beau, Ted, in tow, Josie braves a pig ear sandwich "that seemed to get bigger by the second, throbbing, morphing into a red-splattered monster."

And then there was the brain sandwich "that looks like an autopsy on rye." And try as she might to will herself into believing it was a hamburger, it just wasn’t happening.

But Josie takes her mystery shopping assignments, and her amateur sleuthing assignments very seriously. And humorously, as well.

Solving mysteries and outwitting killers is just something Josie does well, while raising an 11-year-old daughter, with the help of her mother, who lives upstairs in their home.

Josie and her mother are feisty and fun. The writing and plots of all of Veits' books are clever, funny and lighthearted.

Take it from me, you can’t go wrong picking up any of this author's 17 titles. In fact, this is the perfect time to plan a winter read-a-thon with cozy loving friends. You won't be disappointed because, unlike the offerings from some authors, each one of Viets' titles is top notch.

Plus, if you decide you'd like to try some authentic St. Louis cuisine but don't want to drive there, Viets has you covered with websites for a number of the unique foodie items found in the book. Gooey butter cake, anyone?

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at In addition, each Wednesday she reviews a cozy mystery in her column called "Cozy Corner."



Wed, Nov 30, 2011 : 2:01 p.m.

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