Beat a Rotten Egg to the Punch is the second in a series featuring caterer and reluctant sleuth Kate Cavanaugh. Kate is the product of a wealthy home and her mother despairs of ever seeing her settled down like a good daughter. Since Kate is now in her early forties, an independent businesswoman and breast-cancer survivor, it looks like Mom is right.
While catering a friend's wedding, Kate stumbles across one of the male guests snorting coke in a bathroom. Several days later Kate takes her dog for an early-morning walk and stumbles across a murder victim -- the same guy from the wedding. There's a suspicious character hanging around the scene, and he immediately fingers Kate as the murderer, much to her indignation.
Kate noticed a piece of jewelry on the victim, and it's not long before she encounters it again -- at a retreat of the Circle of Light, a religious cult that has drawn in Kate's old pal, Jaz. Jaz seems to know more than she's telling. Kate is determined to identify the murderer so she can get the police off her back. In the meantime, the cult gets more bizarre with each passing day, Mother is distraught over Kate and the pink plastic flamingos popping up in her ritzy neighborhood, Jaz looks like she's in trouble, and the catering show must go on.
The characters in this book are particularly lively, especially Kate. The story is told from her viewpoint, so the reader gets to know her well, and she's someone worth knowing. Her underlying sense of humor and her refusal to take herself too seriously balance out the various nutcase members of the Circle of Light, and that can include Jaz, as well.
The identity of the killer is fairly well hidden, though there's one big clue at the beginning that Kate doesn't let sink in. A bit obtuse on her part. But the rest of the story flows like water, and in the end, you'll be cheering for Kate as she saves the day.
The husband and wife author team of Cathie and John Celestri have created a fun new sleuth in Kate Cavanaugh. Beat a Rotten Egg to the Punch is an enjoyable whodunit with a few recipes thrown in for good measure. One might even call it delectable. The next in the series, Carve a Witness to Shreds, is due out any day. Think I'll look for it.
Read an interview with Cathie John!