HarperCollins, Apr 2001, 23.00, 243 pp.
Competing with two other newspapers for the circulation of the DC crowd propels Washington Examiner Managing Editor Bull Stannard to bring in a popular young gun from Los Angeles. Bull believes that thirty-two years old Ringo Laurenge, known for his rap work on the OJ trial, will bring a slew of new readers to the paper, which in turn means new ad money. Bull allows Ringo carte blanch with no one's section protected from the new kid on the block.
However, Ringo proves to be arrogant and nasty rather quickly, earning the hatred of the entire news room in spite of his brilliance at writing a story. No one is saved from his scathing remarks and soon much of the staff wants him dead including restaurant critic Chas Wheatley, who has had the boy wonder steal some of her ideas. However, she believes he crosses the line when he attacks a local restaurant, Two Views. Not long afterward, someone decides to take matters into their own hands and kills Ringo. Chas wonders if perhaps one of her colleagues murdered the odious journalist or perhaps someone involved in the restaurant he dissed did the deed. She starts her own investigation to find out who did it and why.
WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA HAM, the third Wheatley culinary mystery, is an exciting, cleverly plotted who-done-it with a myriad of suspects as the victim is universally loathed. Chas is a wonderful character and the support cast adds to the savory demeanor of a gourmet delight of an amateur sleuth novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner