Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beef Stolen-Off - Liz Lipperman


Beef Stolen-Off
A Clueless Cook Mystery
Liz Lipperman
Berkley Prime Crime
 
Mystery
 
Jordan McAllister desperately wants to be a sports reporter.  Times being what they are, though, she’s content (sort of) to keep slogging away at the local paper, doing two jobs: the personals ads, and the food column.  Writing the food column is much harder for Jordan, since she doesn’t cook.  Fortunately, she has lots of friends and acquaintances who are more than willing to pass along recipes for publication.

As the story begins, it’s the food column that pays off for Jordan when she’s invited to the Cattlemen’s Ball.  Jordan isn’t too fond of beef, but it’s big in Texas, and her host simply wants her to write about the Ball and the food in an effort to prop up beef prices in the area.  One huge perk of the night out is Jordan’s escort, Rusty Morales, a young handsome ranch foreman who looks pretty good poured into a tux.  During the evening, Rusty falls ill, collapses and dies.  The medical exam is inconclusive.  Jordan feels a certain guilty responsibility since she was sitting right next to him when he died.  Add this to the fact that Jordan’s brother, Danny, is in town to investigate a current-day cattle rustling ring, and Jordan has more than enough reason to take a closer look at the cattlemen.
 
This is the second in the series, following LIVER LET DIE, and it’s the better mystery over all.  This time there’s the mysterious death, with Rusty surrounded by thousands of people who might have a motive.  According to Danny, Rusty may have been involved in the cattle rustling.  About halfway through the story, there’s a new development that opens up a whole new avenue of investigation, making it almost impossible to suss out the killer.  Jordan’s friendly neighbors in her apartment complex make a return appearance and provide her with crucial support.  And the people around the Cattlemen’s Ball might be great new friends or they might have ulterior motives – probably always a risk run by a reporter.  This entry is solid, entertaining, and fast-paced, and I’m completely on board for Jordan’s next outing.
 
Rating: 7
July 2012
ISBN# 978-0-425-25142-3 (paperback)

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