Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Murder Melts in Your Mouth by Nancy Martin * * * *

After a string of violent, also sadistic, stories, I found Murder Melts in Your Mouth by Nancy Martin a refreshing and relaxing return to the fashion and food genre. While the tale opens with Hoyt Cavendish, longtime partner in the Paine financial empire and generous philanthropist, falling to his death, the murder is merely a garnish to the lavish spread of interesting characters. Nora Blackbird's boyfriend is a reformed mobster. His sister Emma is pregnant to a banker who's engaged to a cold-fish debutante. The other sister Libby is between husbands; she dumps his five children with Nora while she moves into the Ritz-Carlton with a famous chocolate chef. The list is endless and intriguing, but the food and fashion is not ignored either.

All lush blond hair, perfect lipstick and outre fashion statement, my mother was still a beauty. Tonight her bosom was hoisted into a hot pink halter top, over which she'd thrown a Pucci print chiffon fluttery thing that concealed her fondness for desserts. Her snug Capri pants were strategically beribboned to draw attention to her delicate ankles, trim from hours of ballroom dancing. ... Mama looked ten years younger than her sixty years.
Cuban sandwiches ... Some pork that's been marinated in garlic and citrus, then roasted for hours, add some cheese, pickles and a dash of mustard. Then you press it in a double-sided grill. It's called a midnight sandwich because the Cubans ate them after working all day in the sugar refineries.
Fashion and Food:
I ordered a white omelet with mushrooms and whole wheat toast, then excused myself. In the bathroom, I washed as best I could and reapplied some moisturizer and lip gloss, My Furstenberg dress hadn't wrinkled, despite a half a night spent curled up in the backseat of the car.
A wonderful indulgence.

LGBT Book Watch: While the possibility of outing closeted homosexuals is considered as a murder motive, most of the discussions of sexual orientation are free from judgement or surprise. Ultimately, Hoyt Cavendish is revealed to be a woman living the life of a powerful man, but this has nothing to do with his murder.

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