Zeus Publications.2003. www.zeus-publications.com
ISBN 1 920699 62 7
“Unjust Desserts” is a crime story with a difference, set in the Australian town of Grevillia. Style and atmosphere are immediately and affectionately familiar to anyone who has ever lived in a small town. The characters are believable, from doughty heroine Olivia to sad Queenie and her repulsive husband Harry.
The storyline revolves around Olivia Beaumont’s efforts to keep her café/deli, “Not Just Desserts”, afloat. Even before one of her clients dies after eating one of Olivia’s curries, there is trouble in the air. Harry Oldrich is determined to become Olivia’s sleeping partner, and she’s just as determined that he won’t! A possible development has the townsfolk at loggerheads, and the arrival of an attractive young Australian Chinese teacher named Eddie Wong ruffles quite a few of the more hidebound feathers in the town. Add Detective Richard Brumby as the investigating officer, Olivia’s dysfunctional family, a spot of middle aged sex and some cooking, and you have all the ingredients for a home grown puzzle to suit the most jaded palate.
Along the way, Goldie Alexander makes a few sly thrusts at attitudes and suppositions that are sure to have some readers nodding in rueful recognition of their own, or their neighbours’, quirks.
The production values of this novel are excellent. The type is clear and easy to read, the editing and proofing well done, and the book is sturdy without any tendency to close while I was still reading!
Reviewed by Sally Odgers.