Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Book Review: Diet of Death by Ang Pompano (Cooking with Betty Reluctant Food Columnist Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters, interesting twists to mystery
Cons: Plot makes some jumps at times, but everything is logical
The Bottom Line:
Diet guru dead
But what exactly killed him?
Promise in debut

What Killed the Diet Guru?

I’m always on the lookout for cozies written by men since they are few and far between, so when Diet of Death crossed by path, I quickly added it to my towering to be read pile.  Author Ang Pompano’s offer of a review copy helped bump it higher in my list.

Quincy Lazzaro has a secret.  He’s the person behind the popular Cooking with Betty magazine column.  He gets away with it by getting recipe ideas from other and by saying he is Betty’s assistant when he goes to interview someone.  The ruse usually works well, but he’s about to face a serious challenge.

You see, Dr. Alan Tolzer is planning to release a follow up to his incredibly popular Westport Diet, and he wants to bury the hatchet with Betty.  He’s not willing to just talk to Quincy either, as Quincy learns when he shows up to Dr. Tolzer’s institute to conduct an interview.  Before Quincy can figure out how to deal with the demand to talk to Betty, Dr. Tolzer dies.  While the institute is quick to attribute it to natural causes, things Quincy saw in the institute make him think they are covering something up.  Is it murder?

It did take me a couple of chapters to fully get into the book, but then I was hooked.  The characters grew on me, Quincy especially.  I might have identified with him a little too much, in fact.  I enjoyed watching him try to solve the mystery.  The rest of the cast has their secrets they want hidden, and as those come to light, we get to know them better as well.

The mystery needed a little ironing out.  While I knew there was more to what was going on that the official story (this is a mystery novel, after all), Quincy’s conviction that a murder was involved seemed a little much early on.  Having said that, it was obvious the institute was hiding something, and I wanted to know what it was.  Again, there are some leaps near the end.  Now, don’t misunderstand me – everything makes sense by the time we’ve reached the last page.  It just seems like the plot needed a little more smoothing to be the best it could be.

Unlike many culinary cozies I read, this book doesn’t include recipes at the end.  That’s a good thing.  The scenes where Quincy does try to make a few items himself are hilarious with how bad they are.  I don’t think I’d want any of his recipes.

And make no mistake about it, I had fun.  This book includes some unique twists and situations that had me on the edge of my seat.  I wasn’t sure where the plot was going until Quincy pieced it together.  And the ending did make sense.  The characters are great, and I hope to get to know them better in future books.  I’ll definitely be back to see what Quincy gets up to in the future.

Diet of Death is a promising debut.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Quincy and the series grows from here.

NOTE: I received a copy of the book.


  1. I've been reading a lot of cozy mysteries lately, and Diet of Death sounds pretty unique. Great review! :-)

  2. Oh this sounds fun! I especially liked the bit about Quincy's cooking attempts not going so well. I love getting in at the beginning of the series and will definitely be picking this one up. Thanks for sharing!