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Stick a Fork in It
Poppy Markham Culinary Cop #2
Robin Allen

Midnight Ink Books
July 2012/ ISBN-10: 0738727954/9781426733888

Reviewed by Cheryl Green

Poppy Markham is a Health Inspector aka "the food police" who is checking out a soon-to-be-opened theme restaurant. This is not your ordinary theme restaurant. This one asks the question: What would you want to eat for your last meal? Capital Punishment will be serving up the last meals of death row inmates before they are executed. Owned by former high school classmates of Poppy's, they will turn it into a regular three-ring circus with waiters dressed as guards, hourly hangings and hypodermic needle drinks. That is,providing they can pass the health inspection. Poppy finds many things wrong in the kitchen - - not to mention the lack of running water in the bathrooms. It seems that while the owners, Troy and Todd, want to open the restaurant things keep preventing this from happening.

Poppy agrees to let the owners get the items to bring the kitchen up to code and let them finish the bathrooms. When Poppy returns to finish her inspection she finds the electricity off and a dead body hanging from a noose in the dining room. The police are calling it a suicide, but Poppy's gut is telling her it was murder. With all the infractions she keeps finding at the restaurant she is there as much as the crew is, and this will give her plenty of time to snoop.

Some other questions that should be addressed: Will Poppy also find time to figure out her love life? Will she stay with Jaime or go back to her very old flame? And why can't she ever find the Pizza Pig food truck she needs to inspect? What is making normally taciturn chef Ursula so happy these days? And will Poppy ever have to go shopping with her stepmother?

Stick A Fork In It is a fun, quick read that brings back the same quirky people we met in the first book of the series. This fast-paced mystery combines what goes on behind the scenes in the restaurant business with a great story. I hope it is not a long wait until I can read Poppy Markham Culinary Cop #3.

Reviewed 2012