Funeral Food (Tory Bauer Mystery) by Kathleen Taylor
Avon, 1998
Rating: 4
Reviewer: H. Renay Anderson

The story is set in the religious town of Delphi, South Dakota made up mostly of Latter-Day Saints and Mormons. The religious mainstream expected all members of the community to support or participate in church activities and functions. 'Unsaved' was the way the community described 'Tory Bauer' and many of her coworkers who worked at the local Delphi cafe. Tory did not attend church and was perfectly satisfied with her life just the way it was. She was a middle-aged,unmarried, large woman who was always struggling with her weight. She didn't care that she had no sense of fashion either. Her co-worker and sex-craved friend Del on the other hand was a "temptress who could reduce men of all ages to jelly" with her seductive hair and fashion style.

The local cafe was the place where the young missionaries would come for an "afternoon meal or break before returning to their missionary homes in Aberdeen". Aberdeen was a big city compared to Delphi and everyone who was anyone went there to shop or have a night out on the town. Most of the locals stopped into the cafe on the way to Arberdeen to see what Tory had cooked and to eat before leaving out of town. Each customer had their own strange story and Tory and Del knew about each one of them. In fact, Del was involved somehow in many of the stories, especially if a man was involved.

Charles Winston was one of the missionaries who came in often. He was young, handsome and enthusiastic about trying to recruit Tory into the fold. Tory was not interested, but Del was. Del wanted Charles, mostly because he was religious and showed no interest in her. Del was used to getting her way and having affairs with the local men, single and married.

Charles was a challenge for Del who inspite of having a short-tempered boyfriend name 'Big D--k' was determined to keep trying to get Charles into her clutches. Deputy Gerald R. Albrecht(Big D--k) was known for "using his size and power as a weapon or a tool for intimidating" the local folks.

This book is made up of a large cast of characters, but inspite of this the author does a fine job of letting the reader know how Tory will use each character like a puzzle piece to solve the murder of the young missionary Charles Winston who she found dead in the cafe's mop closet one morning. I enjoyed the book and I am glad that I decided to read it.