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The Secret Ingredient Murders: A Eugenia Potter Mystery Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 2002


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The Secret Ingredient Murders: A Eugenia Potter Mystery + The Blue Corn Murders: A Eugenia Potter Mystery (Eugenia Potter Mysteries) + The Nantucket Diet Murders (Eugenia Potter Mysteries)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (February 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440217687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440217688
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of the late Virginia Rich's Eugenia Potter series (The Nantucket Diet Murders, etc.) will be pleased to learn that Genia is back, cooking and sleuthing up a storm in the coastal town of Devon, R.I., where she's come for the summer to help various needy family members, notably teenage great-nephew Jason, who may be violating his probation agreement after a marijuana conviction. Genia plans to host a special dinner party with an old friend and town leader, Stanley Parker, at her rented cottage, but when someone bashes in Stanley's head, Jason, alas, is way up on the suspect list. Investigating on her own, Genia learns that many Devon locals might be more comfortable with Stanley dead. A second murder thickens the broth. While the plot lacks suspense and the secondary characters tend to be caricatures (the flamboyant alcoholic, the devoted swain, etc.), Edgar Award-nominee Pickard, author of the Jenny Cain series, provides mouth-watering descriptions of such Rhode Island specialties as doughnuts and gingerbread, along with recipes for culinary delicacies like ginger carrot soup and lobster bisque. (The appealing cover art shows a lobster steaming in a pot on a stove.) A neat surprise ending is also a plus. Readers will be left licking their lips in anticipation of the next book in this savory series. (Jan. 9) FYI: After collaborating with Virginia Rich on one Eugenia Potter mystery, The 27-Ingredient Chili con Carne Murders, Pickard has continued the series on her own.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

While visiting the Rhode Island coast, returning cook/sleuth Eugenia Potter (The 27-Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders) cohosts a tasting party with an old acquaintanceAbut he's late. Unfortunately, someone (possibly Eugenia's great-nephew) has murdered the would-be cookbook writer. Inspired by the popular character created by Virginia Rich.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Her family asked Eugenia Potter to return home to Devon, Rhode Island to help her grandnephew Jason stays clean following his possession conviction. Unable to say no, Genia leaves Arizona for the East Coast. In Devon, gourmand Stanley Devon persuades Genia to join with him in producing a cookbook, The Secret Ingredient Cookbook. Six guest chefs are providing their favorite recipe.

A special dinner at Genia's rented cottage is arranged for the chefs. On his way over to attend the dinner, someone kills Stanley. Unable to ignore the murder of her long time friend, especially since Jason is the prime suspect, Genia begins to investigate in hopes of finding who had a motive. To Genia's shock, many of the locals, including the guest chefs, preferred seeing Devon dead.

Renowned author Nancy Pickard (see the Jenny Cain tales) affectionately pays homage to the late Virginia Rich by continuing the latter's popular Genia Potter series. The story line does justice to the original novels especially its star, leaving most readers unable to discern any difference between the two writers. As expected with a culinary amateur sleuth tale, the novel is filled with delectable recipes and savory food descriptions. Although the support cast is amusingly stereotyped to the extreme, there is no secret that this novel is a gourmetís delight.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wouldn't go so far as to compare Eugenia Potter with Jessica Fletcher. Potter is too laid back for that. But I do think that for a rather leasurely Cozy, this book is a fine read. Enjoy it for what it is and move on to the next title on your reading list. If you don't feel like spending money on this novel check it out at the local public library. You will still like reading it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Linda G. Shelnutt VINE VOICE on April 7, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This tale opens from the third person perspective of Stanley Parker, a diehard, leathery old man who's feeling, yet not succumbing to deterioration in every skeletal line, angle, and joint, as he inches painfully toward his motorbike. The pivotal character for the story, this spicy, elderly man grows rapidly in the reader's mind. He alternates between the fading sunlight of Genia's view of him, and the spotlights on shadows he has forced into the opinions of others, as various characters expose facets of this archetypal paragon of, is it elemental evil or situational good ...

Cross generational perspectives are drawn with amazing realism here, especially as exposed in the relationships between Jason, a teenage male, and Parker; and in the same complex kid's exchanges with Genia (his aunt), parents, friends, towns people. In fact this plot has a fairly large collection of characters with multiple-unique-relationships; each connection has fluid depth, with bonus intrigue in unanticipated, fluky foibles.

Nancy Pickard seems to have the knack which Virginia Rich had and instilled into Genia, of exposing the flickering nuances between the bright spots and dark alleys in any persona. I continued wondering, throughout the novel, "Is this a good or bad guy? If he's a bad guy, he's not too far off the edge of redemption."

In this uncanny awareness of the fluctuating shift of good and evil, Pickard fertilizes another of the captivating qualities of Genia, a generous wisdom, which Pickard has weeded and pruned around Virginia Rich's rooted and sprouted character seeds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 23, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought this was a good book. It starts out with a missing man who is then found dead. Who killed him.? There were many who hated him.
The book totally keeps you guessing and the ending is great.
It did not deserve only one star. It was a good book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Silver Springer on December 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
There are many similarities between the heroine of this novel, Genia, and Jessica from "Murder She Wrote". Both are older women, who live in a small New England town. The characters in the stories are both very likable and your overall experience is comfortable but predictable. The likable characters, comfort factor and picturesque Rhode Island locale make this a pleasant read. The downfall is the plot--in some cases very predictable and in one case so absurd it is laughable. I really did like Genia, a former rancher who moved to Rhode Island to help her niece and niece's children. Everyone wants an Aunt Genia--a really caring person. As the book begins, Genia is working with Stanley Parker on writing a cookbook. Stanley Parker is killed on his way to a dinner party at Genia's house where he is to make a startling revelation. The "suspects" at the party are likable New England townspeople for the most part. You find out that Stanley is very controlling and some aspects of his character wont be missed. Another murder thickens the plot stew and it is wrapped up very quickly at the end. The absurd part of the plot involved an envelope with newspaper clippings that would have revealed the identity of the murderer that Genia seems not to be able to see in Stanley's cookbook, despite having gone through it in much detail earlier, finding several clues.
A pleasant read with not much heavy lifting to solve the murder. The recipes seemed good as well.
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