Beat Until Stiff Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Beat Until Stiff

Poisoned Pen Press, Dec 2002, 24.95, 214 pp.
ISBN 1590580400

Pastry chef Mary Ryan graduated from the Ecole d'Epicure cooking school and found a great job working at American Fare, the top restaurant on the west coast and considered by gourmands to be one of the top three restaurants in the country. She should be very happy since she loves to cook but her divorce turned her into an acrimonious, emotionally upset person.
Click here to see the rest of this review

Her attitude goes downhill when she arrives early for work only to find the corpse of pastry assistant Carlos Perez stuffed in a laundry bag. Besides the shock of discovery, Mary has no clue why anyone would kill him. When the owner of the restaurant also turns up dead, the victim of a homicide, Mary starts asking questions to see if the two deaths are connected and almost winds up as victim number three.

BEAT UNTIL STIFF is a delicious culinary mystery that shouldn't be eaten on an empty stomach because the food descriptions will make the reader ravenously hungry. Despite being upset about her divorce, the audience will take the heroine into their hearts because she is really vulnerable and in “kneed” of kindness. Though why she turned sleuth chef even to insure her own safety seems questionable, Claire M. Johnson shows a lot of writing talent as she bakes a mystery epicure's delight.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Beat Until Stiff

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   food/cooking Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   chef Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   California

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Beat Until Stiff

Claire M. Johnson Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian