Ellie Bernstein likes to clip coupons and watch police shows when she isn’t doing her things as leader of a local chapter of “weight winners” or reading a complex mystery novel. That is, when she isn’t helping out her boyfriend, Lieutenant Peter Miller of the Colorado Springs Police Dept. These days find her also babysitting a dog for one of her diet club members.


Rachel Lester has to be out of town and Ellie is in charge of the dog named “Scout.” While the dog and Ellie’s own cat are getting along despite her initial concern, Ellie is a bit bored. September has been very slow on the crime action front and she wants something to happen so that Peter has to consult with her. She’d also like the coach of the Broncos to consult with her on why they just lost to the Chicago Bears.


She soon gets her wish, at least on the murder front, when waitress Sara Lee is found dead in the alley behind “Uncle Vinnie’s Gourmet Italian Restaurant.” Peter tells her some details and admits to not having a suspect. It certainly isn’t for want of trying to find one.


“Everybody liked Sara Lee. And that’s all I am going to tell you.” (Page 31)


Clearly, someone didn’t. Clearly, Peter needs help whether he knows it or not.  Before long, in between thinking about food and how to link movie star Kevin Bacon to anything and everyone, Ellie gets to poking around the case. Her methods aren’t always orthodox, but are always highly entertaining as she solves more than one case bugging the Colorado Springs Police Dept.


This is the fourth installment of a highly entertaining series. It features not only Ellie and Peter, but the other characters familiar to readers such as Ellie’s brother Tab and her overbearing mother. The various storylines weave together slowly with the main focus being on food in various delectable forms.  Ingredients and recipes are described in the text with an additional recipe at the end. Like some series, at least one ongoing storyline is left hanging wide open at the end to entice readers into picking up the next book. Despite that, the overall read is enjoyable with plenty of fun characters, romance, and murder to keep almost any reader who likes the cozy style of murder mystery entertained.


Strangle a Loaf of Italian Bread: An Ellie Bernstein / Lt. Peter Miller Mystery


Five Star Mystery Series

Gale/Cenage/Five Star


May 2009

ISBN 978-1-58414-76909



E-book version provided direct by the author for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2009

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