Sausalito, California is a quiet, arty town north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge. Underneath its quiet exterior, though, is a roiling mess of snobbiness and intrigue, and at the heart of much of that is Warren Bradley, gossip columnist for the local paper. No one except the doyens of town society is safe from his venomous pen. When a couple from New York move to town, and the husband lands a prestigious art committee position that Warren coveted, they become targets for his vitriol. So, of course, when he’s found dead, with his hands cut off, they are the prime suspects. But, Marin County Sheriff Department detective Eddie Austin and Rob Timmons, editor of the local paper, aren’t so sure the main suspect, a man the snobby old ladies of Sausalito want to literally and figuratively lynch, is guilty, and it’s up to them to work around Sausalito’s inept police department and solve the crime.
The Gossiping Gourmet by Martin Brown is an intriguing mystery that peels the flesh off a dried up social system; the kind that exists in most small towns, and gets to the guts of what makes little towns tick. The characters, even good old Warren Bradley, will be with you long after you stop reading, and if you’re one of those people who has contemplated shucking the big city for small town life after retirement, you might just rethink it. Witty dialogue and detailed (without being overbearing) descriptions pull you in like a high-powered Hoover, and the ending will sucker punch you.
A thoroughly enjoyable five-star book.