St. Martin's, Jun 2003, 22.95, 240 pp.
The Gourmet Detective expects a luxurious trip including a gourmet meal as he rides the Danube Express on its twentieth fifth anniversary tour of Eastern Europe. He just sits down at the table ready to feast on the seven-course first evening dinner when security supervisor Karl Kramer asks for his help.
The Budapest Times reports that renowned passenger Hungarian stage star Magda Malescu is dead in her compartment. There is no body yet Magda is missing and the compartment smells of bitter almonds. The Gourmet Detective wonders how the reporter learned about the alleged death almost in a quantum physics way before the event occurred. Not even fully certain that the victim is dead The Gourmet Detective soon uncovers a wealth of suspects until the corpse reappears breathing quite nicely. However, murder occurs as someone kills Magda's understudy and a journalist. Karl and the Gourmet Detective wonder if the vanishing act and homicides are a diversion from an attempt to steal a valuable Mozart manuscript or improved grapevines found in baggage.
This novel needs to carry a warning label for anyone who is on the slightest health regimen as this tale abounds with good food and drink to the delight of the gourmand reader. Though fun, the mystery seems like eating rabbit diet food compared with the menu of dining palette that obviously clogs the blood system of the Gourmet Detective and the reader.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner