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REVIEW: Why is Murder on the Menu, Anyway? by Stevi...

Dear Ms. Mittman,

Why Is Murder On The Menu, Anyway? (Harlequin Next)I’m so glad to learn that the “Next” line isn’t kaput like I thought I had heard it would be and that the second book in this series is already out. Or would you call it the third since there is another book from last year about Teddi’s breakup with her first husband? Was there a mystery in that one too? I’m confused since Teddi met the handsome police detective, Drew, in “What Goes with Blood Red, Anyway?”

Teddi Bayer is trying to show her mother that her interior design business is taking off by taking her mother to lunch at the establishment of her latest client. Her mother isn’t all that impressed with the steak house and keeps harping on a familiar theme: why can’t Teddi find a nice Jewish man to date, like the man in the corner table? Well, that relationship is doomed before it starts when said gentleman is found a few minutes later in the mens room with a bullet between the eyes. Pretty soon Teddi finds herself being interrogated by handsome detective Drew Scoones again, trying to juggle raising her three children with building her design business, trying to get her slimy ex-husband completely out of her life, keeping her blood pressure down despite all her mother does to raise it and desperately searching for a place to hold her eldest daughter’s bat mitzvah reception. It’s all in a day’s work on Long Island.

You’ve got an interesting relationship going between Teddi and Drew. Even after two books, I’m not sure these two are headed towards anything more than a great sexual relationship. I’m enjoying watching it and their sexy banter and times in bed. The scenes of Teddi and Bobbie at the funeral were a scream too.

I have to ask, is Teddi’s mother based on a real person? This woman would slay me. She’s got to be the most manipulative character I’ve ever seen. You’ve written this as a kind of a “sex in the city” crossed with a mystery, very into labels and brands and public image/appearance. Is this based on people you know or did you exaggerate for effect?

This is the second mystery in a row where Drew suspects one of Teddi’s friends. Does he just have a blind spot where she’s concerned? And how can he keep showing up whenever Teddi is in trouble? Doesn’t the man ever sleep?

Though it’s toned down from the first book, Teddi still skates too close to the edge sometimes for a woman who has three young children dependent upon her. All she has to do is think of them living with her parents or her slimy ex-husband to tone down her willingness to head into danger to solve a case.

I think one area where you really excel is with Teddi’s children. Poor Dana acts like a 13 year old would when “her day” is almost ruined and Alyssa’s fear that her place as her father’s “little girl” is being taken makes sense too. I have one more question: is Carmine with the mob or not? I never could figure that out.

Now I need to go back and get a copy of the anthology with the Christmas/ Hannakuh story in it. In the meantime, B- for this one.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

6 Comments

  1. Nicole
    Jan 30, 2007 @ 17:05:28

    Who Makes Up These Rules, Anyway? is the first in the series. Then What Goes With Blood Read, Anyway? and this one. There’s somewhat of a mystery in the first one and I really enjoyed it. I have the rest here to read, too.

    ReplyReply

  2. Stevi Mittman
    Feb 06, 2007 @ 10:10:16

    No Jayne, to steal a phrase, rumors of the death of Next have been greatly exaggerated. They are still buying, and thankfully, still selling. In fact, they are gaining momentum as readers find a variety in them that may be missing in the other books they are reading.
    let’s see what questions I can answer for you: First off, the mysteries really start with WHAT GOES WITH BLOOD RED, ANYWAY? though, as you note, the Teddi series starts with WHO MAKES UP THESE RULES, ANYWAY? Then there is an on-line read at eharlequin called “When Do the Fireworks Start, Anyway?,” another online read at my website, stevimittman.com called “Knock, Knock, Who’s Dead, Anyway?” a novella in HOLIDAY WISHES called “Who Needs June in December, Anyway?” and then WHY IS MURDER ON THE MENU, ANYWAY? There are more stories coming this summer, too.
    As to Teddi and Drew and whether they will wind up together in the end…keep reading!
    June, Teddi’s mom, is not based on anyone I know. At least, not completely! My own mother was nothing like her, but my mother-in-law. . . well, the beige comes from her, the nails, the beauty parlor, the shopping at the best stores and a few other attributes I won’t go into! Every time June opens her mouth it explains why Teddi is only now coming into her own.
    Yes, Drew has a blind spot where Teddi is concerned. Or maybe it’s an excuse to see her again and again.
    Thanks for liking my handling of children. I have two of my own and their childhoods are still very vivid to me. Teddi’s wisdom with them reflects what I wish I’d said some of the time!
    And Carmine’s relationship with the mob is developing. You can’t figure it out because Teddi isn’t sure and you only know what Teddi knows.
    (Of course, I know everything!!)
    Thanks for keeping up with this series!
    Love,
    Stevi

    ReplyReply

  3. Stevi Mittman
    Feb 06, 2007 @ 10:11:04

    No Jayne, to steal a phrase, rumors of the death of Next have been greatly exaggerated. They are still buying, and thankfully, still selling. In fact, they are gaining momentum as readers find a variety in them that may be missing in the other books they are reading.
    let’s see what questions I can answer for you: First off, the mysteries really start with WHAT GOES WITH BLOOD RED, ANYWAY? though, as you note, the Teddi series starts with WHO MAKES UP THESE RULES, ANYWAY? Then there is an on-line read at eharlequin called “When Do the Fireworks Start, Anyway?,” another online read at my website, stevimittman. com called “Knock, Knock, Who’s Dead, Anyway?” a novella in HOLIDAY WISHES called “Who Needs June in December, Anyway?” and then WHY IS MURDER ON THE MENU, ANYWAY? There are more stories coming this summer, too.
    As to Teddi and Drew and whether they will wind up together in the end…keep reading!
    June, Teddi’s mom, is not based on anyone I know. At least, not completely! My own mother was nothing like her, but my mother-in-law. . . well, the beige comes from her, the nails, the beauty parlor, the shopping at the best stores and a few other attributes I won’t go into! Every time June opens her mouth it explains why Teddi is only now coming into her own.
    Yes, Drew has a blind spot where Teddi is concerned. Or maybe it’s an excuse to see her again and again.
    Thanks for liking my handling of children. I have two of my own and their childhoods are still very vivid to me. Teddi’s wisdom with them reflects what I wish I’d said some of the time!
    And Carmine’s relationship with the mob is developing. You can’t figure it out because Teddi isn’t sure and you only know what Teddi knows.
    (Of course, I know everything!!)
    Thanks for keeping up with this series!
    Love,
    Stevi

    ReplyReply

  4. Jayne
    Feb 06, 2007 @ 10:17:15

    Wow, it looks like I need to head over to eharlequin and your site for these freebies. I love freebies. I think I’ve mentioned that in other posts about a gazillion times. ;)

    Thanks for the responses to my questions.

    ReplyReply

  5. Stevi Mittman
    Mar 12, 2007 @ 06:57:23

    Just thought you might like to know that WHO MAKES UP THESE RULES, ANYWAY? (the first Teddi Bayer book) just won a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Next Book of 2006!
    How cool is that?
    Stevi

    ReplyReply

  6. Jayne
    Mar 12, 2007 @ 08:57:54

    That’s very cool, indeed. Congratulations and thanks for telling us.

    ReplyReply

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