From Publishers Weekly: "Jill Smith returns to duty as a homicide detective in this exhilarating addition to the series set in chi-chi Berkeley, Calif. Killed by aconite slipped into his private stash of horseradish, Mitchell Biekma was in the kitchen of his wildly popular restaurant "Paradise" when he swallowed his lethally spiced soup. Smith interviews Laura, Biekma's wife, the chef and everyone else present at the crime scene, including a truculent dishwasher who knocks down the investigator and escapes, making himself the chief suspect. But there are others: a rival restaurateur and a neighbor who had tried unsuccessfully to limit the bistro's late hour, consequently producing an uproar from patrons. And there is, Smith discovers, a secret to learn from Earth Man, a hippie left over from the '60s, living on handouts provided by Laura to the rage of her stingy husband. This is an appealing mystery with tangy details on the Bay Area's changing environs and characters." Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal: "Berkeley's "Gourmet ghetto," a street lined with restaurants, is the setting for police detective Jill Smith's current case. The popular owner of Paradise is poisoned in his kitchen amid the remains of the food he served to his customers. Jill, recovering from injuries in a helicopter crash, heads the investigation. The trail twists and turns to a particularly neat solution. Dunlap has a keen eye for detail and sense of place. She gets better with each book." Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Berkeley, California, has been transformed from hippie to yuppie, but it's still home to homicide detective Jill Smith. And even in the Bay Area, some elements of the human condition remain eternal...like murder. Now the owner of a local gourmet eatery has completed his karma: poisoned at his own fabulous Paradise Restaurant. A sixties holdover who had made food his life, Mitchell Biekma also made it a catalyst for deadly rivalries and rage. A street crazy, a disgruntled dishwasher, and a neighborhood activist all would gladly have seen him in hell. Paradise serves the food of the gods, but it leaves Jill with the bitter taste of broken dreams and face-to-face with her mortality.
Enjoyable mystery made all the more interesting by the fact that it took place in Berkeley, California - a city I know well. Recognizable landmarks lent an authenticity to the story. Well-drawn characters, solid plot, and good writing all contributed to the story. I'm looking forward to reading more of Dunlap's books.
A nice quick cozy mystery.