Sunday, February 28, 2010

Throw Darts at a Cheesecake

Title: Throw Darts at a Cheesecake

Author: Denise Dietz

Publisher: Worldwide Mystery

Copyright Date: 1992

Print Date: December 1999

ISBN: 0373263341

Pages: 251

Series: 1st of the Ellie Bernstein\Lietenant Peter Miller mystery series aka Diet Club Mystery series

Book Description (from back cover):
Fat Free Murder

At the weekly meeting of Weight Winners, losing is everything. Group leader Ellie Bernstein herself shed fifty-five pounds of "weight pollution," along with a cheating husband and an unfulfilling life. Now the thin woman within is free and fabulous. Until she discovers losing weight is not only murder, it's downright lethal.

One by one, the group's Big Losers are being systematically murdered. Is some jealous member of the Friday meeting a secret killer? Could this be a closet psycho's demented weight-loss technique — eliminate the competition? Motive aside, Ellie's got to watch her back as well as her calories before she finds herself on the most permanent diet of all...death.

I was really looking forward to reading this book. And found myself both entertained...and disappointed.

I couldn't for the life of me figure out why Ellie Bernstein insisted she was good at solving mysteries. Or why she thought the police should just tell her everything they had. Or why she assumed she could do a better job. Most amateur sleuths I read about start because they feel the police are 1) not giving the murder enough attention, 2) looking at the wrong person, or 3) just curious beyond belief. But Ellie seemed to start her sleuthing because she thought she was good at it...becuase she read a lot of mysteries and figured out the endings before the end. Reality check. Solving the murders in book is completely different than solving an actual murder. Also, the romance with Lt. Peter Miller was rather sudden and quick.

However, the mystery was nice enough. Not difficult to figure out, but still enjoyable to read about. And when she gave glimpses at the murder scenes... well, the murderer did come across as creepy/chilling.

I also found the entire Weight Winners thing rather interesting. The author has been a lecturer for Weight Watchers (which I was a member of for awhile), so I was able to compare some things. And wonder what things were different because of author liberties, branding/copyright issues, or because of changes made in the program over time. For instance, all the Weight Watcher meetings I ever attended stressed that it was not a diet but a "way of life." But the book refers to it as a "diet club" and the author has titled this the "Diet Club Mystery Series" on her website.

So overall, an okay book. I suspect the series probably improves as it goes on, so I will probably read the next one at some point.

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