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False Witness by Aimée Thurlo
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Christmas is over; the New Year awaits. For Chloe Carter and her beau Josh Driscoll, it’s a less than relaxing week. Chloe, a graduate student in social work, is interning at “The Organization” (i.e., the Boston Organization against Sexual and Other Harassment in the Workplace). Chef Josh is running hither and yon preparing for the opening of a new restaurant, Simmer, on New Year’s Eve.

But before they can ring in the New Year, the two young lovers are thrown together at Food for Thought. It’s a fundraising event that brings together social service organizations and restaurants at local art galleries -- the Organization is paired with Simmer. Just as over-zealous Naomi Campbell, Chloe’s boss and mentor, is in the middle of her long-winded spiel about workplace harassment, one of the guests is murdered. The weapon is Josh’s heavy-duty food processor.

Josh’s former girlfriend, Hannah Hicks, who worked for the victim and may have been sexually harassed by him, finds the body and is taken in for questioning by the police. Chloe wouldn’t mind if Hannah had done the deed – at least if Hannah were in prison for murder, she wouldn’t be throwing herself at Josh.

Although I tend to prefer mystery heroines with a few more gray hairs than Chloe has, I find myself enjoying her – and the Gourmet Girl Mysteries – more than I ever anticipated. The writing is breezy yet polished, the plotting adept, the overall tone funny without trying too hard. I’m not a big fan of romance in mysteries, but the Josh-Chloe pairing is perfect– he loves to cook and she loves to eat – and doesn’t overshadow the mystery elements.

My only complaint – a mild one – about Steamed, the first in the series, was that the popular culture references went over my head. I didn’t feel at sea with Simmer Down, however. For that reason alone, I believe Simmer Down is even better than the first. This series should appeal to a wide audience and, I believe, has what it takes to go on for a very long time.

By Diana. First published in the Cozy Library August 27, 2007. ( )
  NewsieQ | Dec 26, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thurlo, Aiméeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thurlo, Davidmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312322127, Hardcover)

Our Lady of Hope Monastery can't catch a break. Situated in rural New Mexico, the cloistered monastery squeaks by on donations and various craft and skilled jobs suited to their cloistered, contemplative life. But when a stolen SUV crashes through their outside walls, they are faced with financial demands that far exceed their means. So when a major donor offers a great deal of money for what seems a simple task, they are quick to accept. The very ill John Gutierrez is looking for his estranged niece, believed to be in the area, and having heard of Sister Agatha, the extern nun, and her investigative skills, he turns to them for help. All Sister Agatha has to do is track down the woman, and the monastery's financial worries will be over.
      But nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Sister Agatha's investigation quickly lands her in the midst of a deadly situation, and  it's up to her to uncover the truth before it all takes a deadly turn for everyone involved.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:45 -0400)

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Faced with costly repairs to the cloistered Our Lady of Hope monastery, Sister Agatha, the local extern nun with a talent for detection, accepts an offer by the ailing and wealthy John Gutierrez to search for his estranged niece, who is believed to be in the area.… (more)

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