Avon, Jan 2003, 6.99, 325 pp.
In San Francisco, Angie Amalfi feels love is in the air after SFPD Detective Paavo Smith proposed so she arranges a date between her best friend Connie Rogers and a football star, but the jock fails to show up at the café where they were to meet. Instead, nervous rumpled Max Squires, a former financial guru, plops down at Connie's table. He desperately needs help to clear his name and regain the money embezzled by Veronica Mapes from his clients. Unable to resist the pathetic looking shlump, Connie agrees to assist him.
However, Connie soon finds she needs aid too, as the police make inquiries into her connections to a jewelry robbery, a murder, and Max. Angie knows she must help her buddy so she begins investigating even while her beloved Paavo tries to persuade her that there are already too many cooks on the trail. Her show of friendship places Angie in danger from unknown assailants.
IF LOOKS COULD KILL is a fun culinary mystery that amusingly cautions the audience on the dangers of a friend in need is a pest at least for the Good Samaritan lead cook and her pal. The two women try to help, but jump into pots of dangerous situations. The story line never takes itself too seriously yet master chef Joanne Pence provides fans with a solid amateur sleuth investigation. IF COOKS COULD KILL is the latest five star gourmet delight that will send readers seeking other entrees from Ms. Pence.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner