Tuesday, March 28

For Better or Hearse by Laura Durham

Review by Gloria Feit
Annabelle Archer is one of Washington DC's top wedding planners, and encounters an unexpected pre-wedding hazard when Chef Henri, the Fairmont Hotel's famed and eccentric chef, chases her from the pre-nuptial kitchen at knifepoint.  Shortly thereafter his body is discovered, impaled on one of the ice sculptures in the reception ballroom.  Although Annabelle herself is initially held by the police, she is soon released.  There is no dearth of suspects, for the chef had a host of enemies.  When Annie's friend and the hotel's catering executive, Georgia, is arrested for the murder, she begs Annabelle to try to clear her.  The charming cast of charac ters includes her assistant, Kate, she of the endearing malapropisms; the eccentric elderly neighbor, Leatrice; and Richard, her close friend who is thought to be the city's best caterer.

For Better or Hearse
, the second in the Annabelle Archer series by Laura Durham, herself a real-life DC wedding planner, is a light-hearted romp depicting a life revolving around planning others weddings, when dead bodies and drunk brides disrupt her best-laid plans.  [I have to admit, though, I was a bit taken aback by a reference early in the book to a pianist playing Œtunes‚ from Madame Butterfly.]


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