Good Eats

Annette Meyers is a longtime New Yorker, a former assistant to Broadway producer Hal Prince, and vice president at a headhunting firm and all three professions provide the backdrop and spice to “The Groaning Board,” her seventh mystery featuring Xenia Smith and Leslie Wetzon.

This is a mysteries where the secondary stories are just as entertaining as the whodunit. Wetzon, the former dancer partnered with Smith in their growing headhunting firm, acts as her own Watson as she investigates the death of one of the characters associated with The Groaning Board, the gourmet store partway through its 15 minutes of fame. Its principals are fighting over an initial public offering that can stand to make them millions, and the sharks are circling over this potential gold mine.

Meyers is a writer with the cheek to install a solitary Fabio in the background of a restaurant scene and razz at his declining celebrity, as well as to insert a quotation from one of the book’s characters into the fronts piece. She’s talented enough to create Xenia Smith, a barracuda whose cheerful duplicity and unabashed greed manages to retain the affection of both Wetzon and the reader.

She also does for New York City in detective fiction what Woody Allen does in film: showing us the glamor and the attractions of the city that never sleeps. To Meyers, New York is a nice place to visit and you would want to live there, and it is be a measure of the city’s place in fiction that this attitude comes across as fresh, almost revolutionary.