Retro Reading: Beef Stolen- Off by Liz Lipperman
Murder at the Cattleman's Ball
When we last left Jordan McAllister, the aspiring food critic was still clueless when it came to navigating around the kitchen, but her food column, the Kitchen Kupboard had made her a local celebrity.
The only thing her readers don't know is that her recipes are ordinary casserole dishes just with a fancy sounding name. Jordan's managed to bluff her away around so far, thanks to her friends in the apartment building where she lives. They supply her the recipes and she puts them into her wildly popular column.
As Beef Stolen-Off begins, Jordan is busy getting ready for the annual Cattleman's Ball and her date is a bona fide studly cowboy named Rusty Morales. She's been invited to the ball by cattle baron Lucas Santana who hopes she'll write a positive review of the ball.
Everything seems perfect until Rusty starts to have a problems breathing and soon the date ends in the emergency room where he arrives dead.
She goes to the funeral with her brother, who has been assigned to look into poaching and at the funeral she meets Rusty's mother who's paralyzed from a recent stroke. The woman begs Jordan to look for the killer (with her eyes and motions since she can no longer speak) and after just solving a recent murder, Jordan's not up to the task. Her current problem is to continue bluffing her way through writing the column hoping that she's not discovered as the fraud she is.
Santana starts to take a liking to the columnist and demands that she join him on Sunday's for dinner at his mansion. Since the cattle baron has bought a lot of ad space in the paper, her editor forces her to go to dinner, even though she thinks Santana has other things on his mind.
I had hoped that author Liz Lipperman had worked out the bugs from the debut entry into the series, but once again with all of the characters the story starts to drag. At the end of the first novel, Lipperman did set the premise of the ball up, but when this novel starts it's been months since Jordan began her amateur sleuthing career. In actuality, it should have been just a few days.
Again the author has provided some great recipes and reading on an empty stomach is not recommended. The recipes at the end of the book are enough to make you gain 10 to 20 pounds.