Remember the famous fictional teen sleuth Nancy Drew and how mysteries seem to throw themselves in front of her path. Well when it comes to murder mysteries, the same is true with Jack Donne, a "retired" detective now in business with his dad and uncle running a small vineyard/winery in Southern California. I must confess, I really wanted to read this book having recently discovered: 1) William Relling Jr., the novel's author, was a member of the second Pink Tea, and 2) from reading book reviews that the novel features a 300+ pound epicurean critic. Take it from a rather large person: Ain't nothin' more perverse that a fat person over-eating and making a good living telling about it! Also, I must attribute my extreme pleasure in reading about fat villainous characters to novelist extraordinaire Dean Koontz. Examples of such characters can be found in Koontz's/K.R. Dwyer's Dragonfly and Leigh Nichols' A Key to Midnight. I doggedly read Sweet Poison, appreciating that it is a well-written, finely-detailed novel containing far more knowledge and wisdom than would normally be expected from its relatively young author who at publication time would have been 44 year of age. But what I attribute to knowledgeable, wise details helps makes the novel plodding and dense. Sweet Poison is told in first person narrative from protagonist Jack Donne's point of view. Donne resembles Kelsey Grammer's TV character Fraiser Crane in that he has relatively no responsibilities, i.e., he is single: no wife and kids, lives at home with his cane-assisted, older father, and occasionally talks with (and perhaps even connects up with) a steady but extremely busy girlfriend. Donne prefers the safety provided by his family's wine business and is very reluctant to reenter the murderish detective world until Augustus Poole, an influential food critic and soon-to-be guest speaker at the North American Epicurean Society's annual banquet, offers him $900.00 a day to be his body guard while Poole is in town for the five day society's food-fest. During the first evening of celebration, Poole gets involved in a verbal dispute with the banquet's chef after being asked to open and share a rare 1947 bottle of Yquem he earned from being guest speaker. And later that night the same chef is by found dead by Poole after apparently stealing and drunking some of the rare Yquem which is later determined by the local police to have been laced with cyanide. Jack Donne eventually, out of necessity, resumes his detective role and solves the murder mystery.