Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Diva Runs Out Of Thyme

The Diva Runs Out Of Thyme
Author: Krista Davis
Berkley, 2008
286 pages

Once upon a time there were two childhood rivals. Sophie had loving parents and a stable home. Natasha's father disappeared when she was young and her mother struggled to makes ends meet. They both grew up to become domestic divas, sort of. Natasha is a perfectionist with her own TV show and newspaper column on gourmet cooking and home decor. Main character Sophie has a similar type of career but is sort of the "anti-Natasha" -- she's all about simplicity. Oh, and to complicate things? Sophie's ex-husband Mars is now Natasha's boyfriend.

Our story begins when the two divas face-off in a Thanksgiving cooking contest: will Sophie's simple Crusty Country Bread, Bacon, and Herb Stuffing beat Natasha's fancy gourmet oyster recipe? Just as the contest is kicking off, the celebrity host is found dead offstage. Both Natasha and Sophie are suspects, since they were two of the last people to see the man alive.

Sophie expects a small crowd at her 1825 Federal-style house in Old Town (Alexandria, Virginia) for Thanksgiving dinner, but her plans change when several people show up unexpectedly -- including Natasha, Mars, an old friend from England, and a slimy little mortician who has a crush on Sophie. There are LOTS of other characters, too, including in-laws, out-laws, neighbors, and of course, a hot-looking police detective named Wolf. And did I mention there's another murder?

All the characters makes things a little complicated at times, but it all seems quite realistic. Even the murderers have solid motives, and you won't guess "whodunnit" until all is revealed. Sophie is someone you'd want to be friends with, and not just for her cooking ability. (I'd be willing to bet that she's a regular at her local farmers' markets!) Her house sounds awesome. Reading this makes me want to take a trip to the DC area . . . I haven't been there in a really long time. I'll have to check out Old Town Alexandria next time I'm in the area, for sure. Sounds like my kind of place!

BONUS: There are some really yummy-sounding recipes in the back of the book, including the stuffing recipe.

I've now tied my record of reading 8 books in one month (achieved in December 2008). I think things are looking really good for me to break that record this month. The question is, will the next book that chooses me be a quick read? Or something more complex? Only the Magic Library knows for sure . . .