When the owner of the business next door is found dead in his Chicago office, Alene Baron is relieved. She’s been suspicious of the food supplements he’s been selling, not to mention the smoothies he’s been hawking, which are much inferior to the ones Alene sells at the Whipped and Sipped Café. Plus, Stanley Huff never cleaned up his garbage in their shared alley. As a shady businessman, Stanley had enemies, but now one of Alene’s favorite employees is a suspect in his murder. And that employee is missing.
Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery includes 22 of the author’s best, healthy and delicious recipes! (Summary via Goodreads)
One thing readers will love when they read Smothered by G.P. Gottlieb is that there is a list of characters in the front of the book so that readers can turn to it whenever they need to check on a person. And with this cast of characters you are going to want to make sure you know who is who and who is related to or knows who.
In Smothered readers are going to want to make sure they have a drink and a snack on hand because you are going to be spending a lot of time in the Whipped and Sipped Cafe where everything sounds delicious !! You will be working along side Alene Baron, the owner of the cafe, as she navigates being a single mom to three kids, taking care of her elderly father, runs the cafe and tries to have a relationship with homicide detective Frank Shaw. Unfortunately besides her having a busy life, Alene seems to get in the middle of a murder.
When Kacey, an employee at the cafe, goes into the alley behind the cafe and screams, everyone comes running. They find the door to the fitness center, Better Be Fit, open and the owner, Stanley lying on the floor. It doesn’t take long to realize that he’s dead. Alene cannot help but continue to question everything about his death, especially because she knows Stanley’s wife.
When Alene’s dad, Cal, ends up in the hospital and Stanley’s widow, Sylvie, ends up in the room next to him Alene gets to know the family a little more than she would have liked. Sadly everyone begins to look guilty in her eyes and when she learns one of her employees is related to the family and goes missing, she cannot stop from asking questions.
Gottlieb sets the stage beautifully for readers and with providing the list of characters in the beginning, you have your own little cheat sheet of sorts. And with all the twists and turns in Smothered you will be grateful to have the list so that you can keep track of everyone and check off those you believe are innocent. However when the real killer is revealed I’m sure you will be as shocked as I was because I’m certain they weren’t even on your radar.