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Fitness Kills exercises a good plot

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“Fitness Kills” by Helen Barer


“Fitness Kills” by Helen Barer is a story about Nora Franke, a journalist who reviews restaurants. She’s been asked to help out at a spa retreat in Mexico, to improve the menu, teach cooking classes and write a cookbook. No one is very happy about her presence there. Everyone wants to leave well enough alone.

When she first arrives at the ranch, a group of people who usually gather during the same week each year, begin to wonder what happened to Alan. His car is in the parking lot, but no one has seen him. On the second day, his body is discovered on a mountain trail. It could have been an accident, but he knew better than to hike alone. Something doesn’t add up.

Then Cece, another member of the group, is about to tell Nora a secret, but dies of poisoning. This couldn’t have been an accident, and the police begin to investigate.

Nora’s magazine calls and asks for a story with an “I was there” angle to it. As she gathers info for the article, she begins to wonder who could have done it and why.

This was a very pleasant book to read. I was attracted to the main character because she reminded me of several good friends I’ve had who were vertically challenged and full of vigor. I don’t usually care for first person writing, but this author was chatty enough that it worked quite well.

My only disappointment is the ending. I kept turning pages all the way, enjoying the entire ride, until the very last page. There weren’t enough clues to point to that character. The resolution wasn’t satisfying.