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In the middle of the biggest party of Madeline's catering career, the host drops over, dead. Bruno Huntley had no shortage of enemies, including his own family. But Madeline's business partner and best friend, Wesley, is the police's prime suspect. Knowing that Wesley could never murder a man, even Bruno, she starts nosing around to find the real killer. But everywhere she turns, she just gets more questions. Can she stay alive long enough to unravel the personal and professional secrets and clear Wes?
This is a truly wonderful book. The plotting is superb, with never a dull moment and some surprising twists. The characters are well rounded and truly come alive. On top of this are an observer's view of Hollywood and a wonderful sense of humor. After finishing this book, I immediately went out and bought the rest of the series.
This is a must read. I look forward to many more adventures with Madeline, Wesley, and their friends.
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on 14 August 1998
Madeline Bean, caterer to Hollywood's most beautiful people, stumbles onto murder when the obnoxious Bruno Huntley is poisoned at his own over-the-top, star-studded Halloween bash. Madeline is truly delightful, and so is her supporting cast. Lots of suspects, numerous surprises, and writing full of wit and humor make this one of my favorite mysteries in a long time. I eagerly await Madeline's next adventure. Jerrilyn Farmer is a major new talent!!!
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on 28 April 1998
Madeline Bean Catering is owned and operated by Madeline and her friend Wesley. They specialize in preparing events for the Hollywood elite. Bruno Huntley may be the most obnoxious producer on the scene, but Madeline has a soft spot for him because he gave her the big break that allowed her company to gain entrance to the highest echelon of society. In turn, Wesley abhors Bruno because the producer cheated him out of $50,000 on a land deal. Therefore, Madeline works with Bruno on his upcoming Halloween party.
They fix up Bruno's estate so that it looks like a haunted house. Bruno also hires a fortune teller, who predicts dark and dire futures for everyone who sits with her. However, catastrophic reality strikes when Bruno abruptly keels over into a spasm and dies from strychnine poisoning. The prime suspect is Wesley who had the motive, the means, and the opportunity. Madeline knows her partner is innocent and begins to investigate what really happened even as she places her own life on the line.
Those of us on a diet need to read the unwritten label of caution attached to this novel: Don't read this book on an empty stomach because the references to delicious food will destroy any thoughts of moderation. Jerrilyn Farmer has created a culinary mystery that rivals the best work of Diane Mott Davidson. However, with SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, the audience feels a much closer connection to the characters than in Ms. Davidson's books. The intrepid heroine contains a wicked sense of humor that pops up at any time, thereby endearing her to the readers, who will be looking forward to more tales starring Bean and company.

Harriet Klausner
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on 23 July 1999
I loved reading this book. Very fast read; kept me totally focused on the mystery and story; was funny and enjoyable from the very first word with no slow-downs. A book I highly recommend.
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on 26 June 1998
This is a great read. It's a highly visual, first person mystery set in today's Hollywood. I thought the protagonist wry, charming and smart. The characters are vivid, the settings interesting, the twists surprising. The pace is fast, clues abound, but you really don't know "who did it" until very near the end. I sort of expected a "woman's" book having great sections which would not appeal to men, but I was wrong. The protagonist and her associates certainly have the potential for many more adventures.
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on 25 February 1999
The first book in the Madeline Bean series is simply great. The characters are extremely likable, and the plot is interesting and fun. The story flows smoothly, making it hard to put the book down. I can't wait for the next entry in this sure-to-be-a-hit series.
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on 23 July 1999
I loved reading this book. Very fast read; kept me totally focused on the mystery and story; was funny and enjoyable from the very first word with no slow-downs. A book I highly recommend.
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