Six Feet Deep Dish
- Author: Mindy Quigley
- Genre: Cozy Mystery
- Publication Date: August 23, 2022
- Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
CONTENT WARNING: fatphobia (excessive), murder, mention of cancer
Fresh mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce, and murder: the perfect recipe for a delicious first entry in Mindy Quigley’s Six Feet Deep Dish, a delectable new series…
Delilah O’Leary can’t wait to open her new gourmet deep-dish pizzeria in Geneva Bay, Wisconsin—a charming resort town with a long history as a mobsters’ hideaway, millionaires’ playground, and vacation mecca. Engaged to a hunk with a hefty trust fund, Delilah is poised to begin a life that’s just about as delicious as one of her cheesy creations.
Just before opening night, though, Delilah’s plans for pizza perfection hit the skids when her fiancé dumps her and leaves her with a very large memento from their relationship—Butterball, their spoiled, plus-sized tabby cat.
Delilah’s trouble deepens when she discovers a dead body and finds her elderly aunt holding the murder weapon. Handsome local police detective Calvin Capone, great grandson of the legendary gangster, opens an investigation, threatening to sink Delilah’s pie-in-the-sky ambitions before they can even get off the ground. To save her aunt and get her pizza place generating some dough, Delilah must deliver the real killer.
I was so excited for this book when it came to my attention, because I’m always down for a good cozy mystery, and this one incorporates one of my favorites foods – pizza! However, the story fell far short of the mark for me, with a plot that didn’t really grip me, characters that were impossible to connect to, and a story that had bigger issues than the murder our MC (and the police) were trying to solve.
Unfortunately, it incorporates a ton of fatphobia throughout the story, which made it really difficult to connect to the MC. You know those books that feature women written by men who clearly have no concept of how women actually think or function? Yeah, this was exactly like that, except it was a plus-size character written by a thin person who has no idea about how plus-size people live or think. There’s near-constant references to her weight, other people’s weight, the eating habits of our MC and others, and the standout “typical lunch” which included two shots of espresso, “a chocolate chip muffin, a turkey club, and a slice of quiche Lorraine. I had a lot of thinking to do, and … I wanted to do it on a full stomach…” Seriously?
While there was plenty of diversity in the characters, it felt like the author was running through a diversity checklist, so everyone wound up being more like caricatures instead of genuine people. Rather than making the characters feel genuine and inclusive, we wound up with a collection of stereotypes, including:
- The hot, ex-military Puerto Rican hunk, working as a bartender and sending all his money home to his family, struggling to survive in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Highlights include him throwing out Spanish phrases at every opportunity for no apparent reason, then having to translate them because no one understands them.
- The lesbian, Jewish chef who comes from a literal dynasty of lawyers, but she can’t turn to her rich family to bail her out because she decided to go her own way and not be a lawyer.
- The overachieving Asian entrepreneur who is excessively focused on status and luxury items, but doesn’t have much of a personality aside from this and her beautiful looks. Oh, and she’s also super skinny. Of course.
- Can’t forget about the old, doddering, disabled aunt who can’t do anything for herself because she’s old and disabled, so they just kind of push her off on someone else to take care of. She isn’t given any agency, and neither are the other older people in the story, because who cares about old people, right? They’re all just nosy and annoying and meddling, or super sweet and corny, apparently.
As I got deeper into the story, there were inconsistencies that could have been easily solved by simple research or speaking to someone with any experience in mental health or the medical field. The author demonstrated absolutely zero understanding of physical dependence, withdrawal, or how detoxification from substances works, and that is a significant part of the story, so as someone who has worked in that field, I really just found it laughable at how it was handled. As far as Delilah’s “detective work,” she didn’t actually DO any, she just kind of stumbled over everything while repeatedly dreaming about Detective Capone’s “pillowy lips,” which is a phrase I could absolutely do without seeing ever again in my life.
Finally, one of my favorite parts of cozy mysteries comes at the end – the recipes! I was thrilled to see that there was a deep dish recipe included at the end. As a New Yorker, I totally understand that in Chicago-style deep dish pizza, they put the sauce on top of the toppings. Which I feel is weird, but I’m fully prepared to accept as a location based difference. However, this was included IN THE RECIPE:
“Deep-dish pizza goes cheese, then toppings, THEN sauce. If you do it the other way around, you’re not making deep-dish pizza. You’re making hot garbage and you have only yourself to blame.”
I wasn’t prepared to see a personal preference described as “hot garbage” when literally everywhere other than Chicago puts the sauce under the toppings, because duh, toppings are called toppings because THEY GO ON TOP. My opinion? This book and the note at the end of the recipe are hot garbage, and the author only has herself to blame.
Categories: Book Review