Berkley, April 2003, 5.99, 304 pp.
Food columnist Carolyn Blue accompanies her husband Jason to San Francisco where he is going to attend a scientific convention on toxins. She, being a dutiful daughter-in-law, gives Jason's mother a courtesy call, but only gets her answering machine stating that she is in the San Francisco Jail on a charge of first degree murder. When she tells Jason about it, he doesn't take it seriously since his mother, a radical feminist, has been in jail plenty of times due to the protest marches that got out of hand.
Exasperated with her husband, Carolyn takes matters into her own hands and visits Vera Blue in jail where she learns that her opinionated mother-in-law antagonizes the guards and her fellow inmates. Carolyn gets really upset when she hears her mother-in-law isn't taking the charges very seriously. With the police convinced they got the right person in custody, Carolyn decides to start her own investigation and winds up getting shot at by an unknown person who objects to her snooping.
CHOCOLATE QUAKE is a scrumptious mystery that takes the reader on a tour of some of the most popular restaurants of San Francisco. The heroine is a gutsy woman who takes matters into her own hands when she realizes her husband and his mother refuse to deal seriously with the situation. There is a surplus of suspects who wanted the victim dead so Carolyn has her work cut out for her if she wants her mother-in-law out of jail before they head home to Texas.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner