Book Review: Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West

Gone with a Handsomer Man
Michael Lee West
Read by Marguerite Gavin
Tantor Audio, May 2011 (Minotaur Books)
ISBN 978-1-4526-0207-3
Unabridged Audio Book

Teeny Templeton did the unthinkable—she decided her life was heading in exactly the direction she always wanted. She was about to get married to a wonderful, wealthy Charleston man and, being a former pastry chef, she was making her own wedding cake and leaving her less-than-wonderful youth behind. What more could any girl want?

Probably she would want to NOT come across her fiance, Bing, playing badminton…naked…with a pair of equally naked females.  On top of that outrage, he takes out a restraining order against her for throwing peaches at him. So, there she is, stranded in a strange town with no job, no money, no home to go back to and only Bing’s stepmother, Dora, to give her support.

Crushed, heartbroken, Teeny thinks things can’t possibly get worse but then her fiance is found dead and all roads of suspicion are pointing her way.  Her collection of poisonous family recipes won’t help if the cops find it and it seems that one of those badminton players has designs on the mansion Dora has loaned Teeny. Bing’s peculiar sister shows up demanding his money and Dora wants to paint everything pink. It will take an obnoxious private eye and an ex-boyfriend to get Teeny out of the mess she’s in before things spiral completely out of control—or can they?

Gone with a Handsomer Man has all the elements of a terrific Southern mystery—skullduggery, a loveable dog, romance, a dotty stepmother, a cranky P.I., old money charm and sleaze and plenty of misdirection. This is West‘s first mystery after several acclaimed works of Southern fiction and a delightful one it is. Reader Marguerite Gavin adds to the pleasure with her perfect intonations of different Southern accents and I’m looking forward with great anticipation to next April’s A Teeny Bit of Trouble.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2011.