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Savannah Reid is a series of mystery novels by G.A. McKevett, the pseudonym of author Sonja Massie.

Middle-aged Savannah Reid is proud of her Southern heritage and not ashamed of her plus-sized body. After being kicked off the police force because she discovered that some of the higher-ups would be implicated in a case, she opens her own private investigation company. Though it may not be the best-paying job, she's got her friends to help solve the case: Tammy, her enthusiastic assistant; Dirk, the crabby cop with a heart of gold; and Ryan and Gibson, a pair of ex-FBI agents.

The series, in order:

  1. Just Desserts
  2. Bitter Sweets
  3. Killer Calories
  4. Cooked Goose
  5. Sugar and Spite
  6. Sour Grapes
  7. Peaches and Screams
  8. Death by Chocolate
  9. Cereal Killer
  10. Murder a la Mode
  11. Corpse Suzette
  12. Fat Free and Fatal
  13. Poisoned Tarts
  14. A Body To Die For
  15. Wicked Craving
  16. A Decadent Way To Die
  17. Buried in Buttercream
Tropes used in Savannah Reid include:

  • Action Girl: Savannah's a Private Detective with a black belt in karate, and carries her Beretta everywhere she goes.
  • Addiction Displacement: Dirk with cinnamon sticks after giving up smoking.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Tammy. She even occasionally refers to what they do as "sleuthing", much to Savannah's amusement.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Beowulf in Bitter Sweets only grudgingly allows Savannah to pass after she gives him some meat. When she tries this with Hitler, Satan, and Killer in Death by Chocolate, on the other hand, the three little dogs become Savannah's best friends.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Most of Savannah's siblings, except Alma and Waycross.
  • Apologizes a Lot: In one book, Tammy keeps apologizing. Savannah comments that if Tammy keeps it up, she's going to deduct one nickel of Tammy's salary for each time. Tammy's response? "Sorry."
  • Arch Enemy: Captain Bloss and Chief Hillquist are Savannah's.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Savannah uses these frequently, and to great effect.
  • Arrested for Heroism: Not quite, but when Savannah's car goes over a spike strip when she's helping chase the bad guys (in fact, it was thanks to her that they caught them at all), she isn't given any money to cover the cost of the tires because they claim she shouldn't have been interfering with police business. Despite the fact that one of the cops was in her car because his own was broken down.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In A Decadent Way to Die, when Tammy's ex-boyfriend Chad shoots Savannah. She doesn't like the guy already for what he did to Tammy; now she knows she's badly hurt, and actually rationalizes that she's dying, but when she looks down at her gunshot wounds, she becomes more upset by the fact that he ruined her grandmother's nightgown.
  • Audio Erotica: Savannah describes her car-cleaning guy Rory as having a voice like this.
  • Bad Santa: The bad guy in Cooked Goose dresses in a Santa outfit to commit his crimes.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Savannah finds herself in this position a lot, unfortunately.
  • Beauty Contest: Sour Grapes. Of course, Savannah just has to say "What could happen at a beauty pageant?"
  • Berserker Tears: Margie, in Cooked Goose, when Savannah tells her to pretend that Ryan (who's volunteering to help with the self-defense class) is the guy that tried to rape her, so that she can let her feelings out. She attacks him surprisingly ferociously, and it ends with her sobbing.
  • Big Beautiful Woman
  • Big Eater: Savannah absolutely loves her food.
  • Big Stupid Doodoo Head: Savannah enjoys annoying Captain Bloss with childlike insults such as this. Tammy does it about Dirk sometimes, too, when he's not around.
  • Blood Spattered Wedding Dress: Savannah finds her wedding planner dead right before the wedding starts.
  • Blue Eyes: Savannah - the same blue eyes as her Granny Reid.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: One of Savannah's favorite tactics. It works sometimes, such as on Eric Bowman in Just Desserts and Waldo in A Decadent Way to Die.
  • Brain Bleach: Savannah wishes she had some at one point after an encounter with Kenny Bates, complete with steel wool.
  • Bratty Teenage Sister: Atlanta.
  • Breaking Bad News Gently: Mentioned several times in the books when there's news to share.
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: This part in one book:

 Then three shots exploded, filling the room with smoke and the smell of cordite.

Three bullets seared burning paths through living flesh.

Two bodies hit the floor.

  • The Butler Did It: The conclusion of Death by Chocolate.
  • Cake Toppers: Savannah's wedding cake has these. During the first ruined wedding date, they end up getting buried in the frosting, but Savannah salvages them to use again.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Margie to Captain Bloss in Cooked Goose. Things came to a head when her dad came straight from a No-Tell Motel to shout at her for being worthless and wrecking her new car, not even asking if she's okay, not asking why it was wrecked, when she only did it to escape from a rapist...
    • Savannah finally chews out her old man in Sugar and Spite. All those years, she and her siblings had to hear the whispers about how her dad was fooling around with another woman, and yet he never divorced his wife - and that's ignoring the fact that he almost never came home. Now that Savannah's fourty-something, he finally does divorce Savannah's mother... and asks Savannah to be the maid of honor for his marriage to the woman he's had an affair with for decades.
  • Candlelit Bath: Savannah is fond of these. Often, they help her to relax, but unfortunately they frequently get interrupted by phone calls.
  • Captain Obvious: Dirk's words of wisdom in Bitter Sweets.

 Dirk: You never really know who done it, 'til you know for sure who done it.

Tammy: What?

  • Casanova Wannabe: Kenny Bates.
  • Cats Are Superior: Savannah's two cats seem to consider themselves so.
  • Chef of Iron: Savannah loves to cook, but her main purpose in life is to catch the bad guys.
  • Clear My Name: In Bitter Sweets, the San Carmelita Police Department are eager to declare Savannah an accomplice to murder, as she had unwittingly led the murderer to the victim.
  • Clear Their Name:
    • In Sugar and Spite, Dirk's ex-wife is shot in his house, with his gun, after the two of them fought. He's not the killer, but Savannah needs to prove it...
    • In Peaches and Screams, Savannah's youngest sibling, Macon, is accused of murdering the judge. Things aren't looking too good for him at first, but then Savannah realizes it wasn't him...
  • Clueless Deputy: Mr. Jeter, the part-time volunteer deputy of McGill, Georgia.
  • Come to Gawk: Happens on occasion.
  • Compliment Backfire: Just don't say anything whatsoever to Tammy's cousin, Abigail. She will find some way to turn it into an insult about her size.
  • The Coroner: Dr. Jennifer Liu.
  • Country Mouse: Everyone in Savannah's family, to some degree.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever and Everything's Better with Chocolate: Two ideas that Savannah agrees with.
  • Detective Mole: After Titus Dunn commits his crimes, he helps investigate them. Until, during one of them, he gets injured in a car crash - then he "goes missing".
  • Detective Patsy: Fat-Free and Fatal.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Whoever wrote the blurbs for the books, at least. Some of the blurbs on the books claim that Savannah comes from Memphis. Savannah was born and raised in Georgia.
  • Disposing of a Body: Someone attempts this in basically every book.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Tammy, though she'd learned how to properly use one.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Dirk sometimes. Savannah wonders whether that makes it more entertaining or annoying to tease him.
    • This is brought up again in Buried in Buttercream when Savannah tells someone sarcastically, "what a sad story" and he thinks she's being serious. She decides that it's annoying to taunt people who don't understand sarcasm. She says something else sarcastically and that one he gets.
  • Domestic Abuse: Comes up a lot. Happens to someone very near and dear to Savannah in A Decadent Way to Die; is a major plot point in that book.
  • Domestic Abuser: Several minor characters are losers that do this, but the most featured one is Tammy's boyfriend, Chad.
  • Doomed Appointment: Francie Gorton arranges to meet Savannah in Sour Grapes, but someone overhears the phone call, and feeds Francie false information to make her believe she's still meeting Savannah. Instead, she's met by the killer.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Savannah tells her Granny something to this effect after her wedding is postponed a second time.
  • Driven to Murder: Usually goes along with Playing the Victim Card.
  • Dumb Blonde: Inverted. Tammy is a very intelligent blonde.
  • Electrified Bathtub: The way one murder is committed.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect
  • Evil Laugh: Dr. Jennifer Liu is noted as having one of these.
  • Fail O'Suckyname:
    • Jesup's husband (for a short time), Bleak Manifest. His given name, Milton Pillsbury, isn't much better.
    • Savannah thinks that Moon Shadow (the name of an exotic dancer) is one. Turns out that Moon Shadow isn't her stage name - it's actually her real name; she had hippie parents. She has a brother named Star Shadow.
  • Fat and Proud: Size is only a number to Savannah, and not something to judge someone by. She used to worry about her weight, but realized that she'll lead a much happier life if she doesn't make fitting into tiny jeans a life priority.
  • Fat Slob: What some characters see Dirk as, even Savannah. He does fit a lot of it... beer belly, poor table manners, crude language/mannerisms, leaving wrappers everywhere...
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foot-Dragging Divorcee: When Marietta's all set for her third marriage, she claims that her fiance's current wife is trying to drag it out to mess up the wedding.
  • Friend on the Force: Played straight, with Dirk and Savannah always working together.
  • Gas Chamber: How Barbie Matthews is murdered in Sour Grapes... trapped in a trunk with insecticide...
  • Gilligan Cut:

 With Dr. Liu's latest report and professional help within reach for Atlanta, things were defnitely looking up.

(next page:)

Things were in the crapper. Although Atlanta across the room, officially attending the meeting between them and Angela Herriot, she hadn't spoken a single word.

  • Glad I Thought of It: Used a couple times, usually with Dirk.
  • Granola Girl: Tammy.
  • Granny Classic: Granny Reid
  • Gratuitous Japanese: In-universe example. In one book, Savannah's on the news for defending herself at a grocery store when a man attacks her after a little disagreement. Tammy feels the need to give commentary, naming (in Japanese) every karate move that Savannah used, so Savannah resolves to lay off the karate lessons with Tammy for a while.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Though Savannah and Dirk aren't a couple, Savannah finds herself jealous at times when she thinks there might be another woman (and then she notices that she thought "other woman" as if she and Dirk were a couple.)
    • Dirk also shows jealousy when Savannah goes back to Georgia for Marietta's wedding, asking Savannah if she was going to meet up with any high school buddies.
    • Let's just say that both Dirk and Savannah are very obviously jealous when there's even a hint of one of them liking someone else.
  • Henpecked Husband: Poor Butch never gets a break from Vidalia bossing him around.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: True for some characters.
  • Hidden Wire: Used quite a bit... Ryan and Gibson's are better than Dirk's, though. Dirk's actually shocks Tammy once.
  • I Call It Vera: Savannah likes to name her plants, such as a bougainvillea named Bogey (after Humphrey Bogart).
  • Improvised Weapon: In one book, Savannah thinks she's out of luck because the killer's got her cornered, and her gun is out of reach. Luckily, Atlanta sneaks up behind the killer and whacks them with her guitar, breaking it.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • On one case, a ring with a star-shaped marking becomes important. When showing a drawing of it to Bloss, Savannah can't help but say, "What about you? Does this design ring a bell with you?" He isn't amused.
    • Dirk and his "extra-large package" holiday Double Entendre. Savannah tells him "don't you dare say it", but he does anyway.
  • Insult Backfire: In Murder a la Mode, Savannah tells Brandy "You're such a sweet person." Brandy is thrilled at the compliment.
  • Insult to Rocks: There's two instances where Dirk describes someone as a "pussy", and Savannah protests. When asked if she's objecting to the language, Savannah replies no, that as a cat lover, she's objecting to the association.
  • Is the Answer to This Question Yes: Savannah asks Dirk if he wants some ice cream. Dirk responds with "Do bears sh-" before Savannah cuts him off, telling him there's a minor in the house.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: This is said several times.
  • It's All My Fault: Tammy blames herself for her ex-boyfriend shooting Savannah.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dirk. Soooo much.
  • Just Friends: Savannah and Dirk, though everyone can tell that they're perfect for each other. Even though the two of them know they have some feelings for each other, they consider themselves best friends. Dirk finally proposes to her in A Decadent Way to Die, and she says yes.
  • Kick the Dog: A teen knew that his sister's boyfriend was a bad guy even before the guy murdered someone, because he literally kicked the family's dog for no reason.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: Bitter Sweets.
  • Killer Cop: Titus Dunn, killer cop and cop killer.
  • Lame Comeback: Jesup's husband-for-a-couple-days, Bleak Manifest, gives us "You suck worser!"
  • Large Ham: Marietta in Peaches and Screams. True, she was left at the altar, but her fiance was technically still married to his wife, and this was going to be her third marriage.

 Marietta: None of you've got a lick o' sense! None of you have any idea the pain I'm going through here. The soulish agony.

Waycross: (singing) Nooooobody knooooows de trouble I see...

  • Like an Old Married Couple: Savannah and Dirk's relationship, more or less.
  • Location Theme Naming: Shirley Reid named all nine of her children after Georgia towns: Savannah, Alma, Waycross, Marietta, Vidalia, Jesup, Cordele, Macon, and Atlanta.
  • Lost Wedding Ring: At Savannah's second attempt at a wedding day, one of her sisters accidentally throws out the groom's ring, requiring Savannah to go back and hunt it down right before walking up the aisle. It is after she finds it that she also finds her wedding planner dead.
  • Lying to the Perp: Done a couple times, with occasional success.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Happens several times in the series. One of them is Francie Gorton, who, according to the coroner, could have either fallen or been pushed into a stone cellar.
  • Mall Santa: Savannah accidentally injured one, mistaking him for the criminal that dressed as Santa.
  • Mama Bear: Don't harm anyone Savannah considers family or is protecting as part of her job, because she will pay you back double. For example, in A Decadent Way to Die, after Tammy's boyfriend hurts her, Savannah drops in to pay him a visit. She kicks the door in on him hard enough to break his nose, gives him a kick in the spot men least like to be kicked bad enough to require surgery, and holds her gun to his head, threatening him to never even text Tammy again.
  • Meaningful Name: Anthony Villa (rich owner of a vineyard), Barbara "Barbie" Matthews (several-time beauty pageant winner), Tammy Hart (one of the most kindhearted people Savannah knows).
  • Mixed Metaphor: Dirk does these sometimes, and Savannah calls him out on it. She does it herself sometimes, though: "That's a horse of a different feather."
  • Moment Killer: During Dirk's proposal to Savannah... "I love you, Savannah. I loved you from the minute I met you. You walked into that station house with your uniform on. And I said, 'Wow! Look at the rack on that one and...' Oh, sorry, that's not very romantic, but... well... anyway..." Fortunately, he continues on with the sweet things, and so the moment is smoothed over.
  • Motive Rant
  • Murderer POV: Happens several times, but always keeps the murderer's identity a secret.
    • In Cooked Goose, the murderer's identity is eventually revealed to the reader during his POV, though Savannah and friends don't know it yet.
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: Tommy Stafford refers to Dirk as "Dirt" and "Kirk".
  • Mysterious Informant:
    • Tammy started as this in the first book.
    • There's one in Cooked Goose.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Gets inverted more than played straight.
  • Not a Morning Person: Savannah. Dirk, too, to a somewhat lesser degree.
  • No-Tell Motel: Unfortunately, many of Savannah's cases involve the Blue Moon Motel at some point.
  • Not with Them for the Money: Robyn Dante in Poisoned Tarts.
  • Of Corset Hurts: Savannah realizes this when she enters a medieval-themed, reality television show.
  • Old Dog: Colonel Beauregard.
  • Once an Episode:
    • In nearly every book, Savannah has one of her siblings or her Granny coming to visit her.
    • There will almost always be a cookout with the members of the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency. This is the last scene most of the time.
    • There will usually be a scene where Savannah assists Dirk with an ordinary stakeout. Often will be the first scene of a book.
  • Parental Neglect: Macon Reid Sr. is a truck driver that only bothers to come home just once a year. Shirley Reid spends all her time under the Elvis picture at the bar. Life for Savannah and her siblings was greatly improved when their grandparents took them in.
  • Perp Sweating: The San Carmelita PD even calls their interrogation room the Sweatbox. Dirk's pretty good at pulling off interrogations in there.
  • Plain Name:
    • The reason that Bleak Manifest chose his new name is because his birth name is Milton Pillsbury.
    • One of the bad guys decided that he wanted to be called Snake instead of his given name, Maximillian Fernando Schneider.
  • Playing the Victim Card: One character even goes so far as to say that if she plays the victim card for a jury, claiming that the teenage girl her husband was fooling around with was ruining the family with the affair, she'll get off unpunished for murdering the girl if there's even one woman on the jury.
  • Promotion to Parent: Before they moved in with their grandparents, Savannah, the oldest of nine, became the "mother" of her younger siblings. When people say she doesn't know what it's like to be a parent, she often cites this as a reason that she does.
  • Pun-Based Title: Every title is a pun that has to do with food. Just Desserts, Killer Calories, Cooked Goose, Corpse Suzette, Death by Chocolate, Cereal Killer.... to name a few.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Gibson.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Savannah and her eight other siblings were raised by their loving Grandma and Grandpa Reid.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: The first book claims Dirk considers anything that hasn't recently said "moo" (including fruits, vegetables, pastas, and whole grain products) to be "sissy food".
  • Rear Window Investigation: Savannah's done quite a few of these. When someone points out to her that it's breaking and entering, she says it depends on how you look at it, or else calls it "the search for truth".
  • Relationship Upgrade: At the end of A Decadent Way to Die, Dirk admits his love to Savannah and proposes to her. She says yes.
  • Rich Bitch / Spoiled Brat: The Skeleton Key Three from Poisoned Tarts.
  • Save The Archenemy In Cooked Goose, Bloss has a heart attack. An ambulance is on its way, but in the meantime, he needs CPR. Dirk says that with it being Bloss, he just can't do it. So, despite how much she hates Bloss, she steps in - but she lets Dirk know that he owes her big time.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections: As she isn't on the police force anymore, Savannah shouldn't have a lot of the information she gets, but she does have connections with a cop and the coroner...
  • See You in Hell: At one point, Titus Dunn says to Captain Bloss: "We're both dead. But you're goin' to get to hell first, buddy... just a few seconds before me."
  • Series Continuity Error:
  • Book 1 says that Savannah never knew her biological father, and that Stepdad #3 was a truck driver. In book 5, Savannah's biological father is Macon Reid, a truck driver, who she certainly knew, and there are no references to her mother ever having multiple husbands. It is also said in that book that Savannah only has one brother, Waycross. Two or three books later, we meet Macon Reid Jr., one of Savannah's two brothers.
  • In Cooked Goose, Vidalia's youngest twins are named Noel and Merry for their near-Christmas birthdate. In Buried in Buttercream, they're named Peter and Wendy.
  • The Sheriff: Sheriff Mahoney of McGill, Georgia in Peaches and Screams.
  • Smoking Gun: Discussed in one book, when Jennifer Liu says "Since when was a crime ever solved with a smoking gun, anyway?"
  • Straight Gay: Ryan and Gibson. Many characters, when first meeting them, do not realize that they are gay, Savannah included. When Granny Reid learns that they're gay, she comments that she would never have guessed it because they're so masculine.
  • Super OCD: One character has it, and the breaks from his usual routine/cleanliness are what help Savannah and friends realize he was murdered, and how.
  • Supreme Chef: Antoine.
  • Suspiciously Specific Tense: Happens a lot.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: Sweet Home Georgia, that is.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Notably Sydney in Death by Chocolate.
  • Taking the Heat: Ford Chesterfield in Killer Calories makes a False Confession to protect his sister Phoebe, the real killer.
    • Anthony Villa in Sour Grapes also does so, though he was somewhat involved. Once he's brought to jail, however, his wife tries to turn it around and claim that he's completely innocent, so that he can get out of jail.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Toward the end of Murder a la Mode, Savannah gets pushed down a flight of stairs by the killer and is injured. The killer's standing over Savannah with an axe, prepared to kill her. It's only through talking her way out of it, and Tammy's timely arrival, that Savannah survives.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome:
    • Ryan frequently gets described this way, word for word.
    • Titus Dunn in Cooked Goose is described this way once.
  • Team Mom: Savannah
  • Technical Pacifist: Savannah prefers to stop the bad guy without violence, but she will harm if she needs to, and only will shoot to kill if the bad guy is trying to kill her or someone else.
  • Through His Stomach: Savannah discovered long ago that the way to anyone's heart is through their stomach - not just men.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Vidalia has two pairs of twins. The first twins are Jack and Jillian, and the second are Noel and Merry (born around Christmas)... though many books later, it appears that the second set of twins' names has been forgotten, because now their names are Peter and Wendy.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Savannah's siblings, when they come "visit" her.
  • Title Drop:
    • Savannah comments that revenge tastes good, like sugar and spite.
    • Lady Eleanor is baking and taste-testing a cake recipe called Death by Chocolate when she dies.
    • Pete the soundman gives us this one: "Maybe someone smacked her on the head with it. Maybe Tess died... Murder a la Mode."
  • Trademark Favorite Food: If you're bribing Savannah, or she's bribing someone else, expect the price to be a box of Godiva chocolates.
  • Turn in Your Badge:
    • Savannah gets kicked off the police force. It was ostenibly for being "overweight and out of shape", but real reason was that Savannah, during the course of investigating a murder, realized that the chief had an affair with the victim's wife, and that made the chief a suspect.
    • Ryan was dishonorably discharged from the FBI - on paper it was for "Gross Negligence of Duty", but that wasn't the real reason.
  • Twist Ending: Occurs several times in the series.
  • Unknown Assailant: Savannah gets knocked unconscious in book one by a mysterious attacker, though she later learns who it was.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Sugar and Spite.
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: Atlanta. She's not the typical "dim and good" character, however - she is whiny and obnoxious and selfish - but she's not wise in the matters of escort services and thirty-year-old men claiming that they're your soulmate.
  • Weight Woe:
  • What a Piece of Junk!: Dirk's Buick.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: With Savannah, it's snakes. With Dirk, it's heights... and chickens.
  • Your Mom: Savannah to Hillquist:

 Savannah: Yeah, yeah, yeah, and your mother looks like she fell outta the ugly tree and hit every limb on the way down.

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