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Literature / The Savannah Reid Mysteries

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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
  18. Killer Honeymoon
  19. Killer Gourmet
  20. Killer Reunion
  21. Every Body On Deck
  22. Hide and Sneak

At least one spinoff - Murder in Her Stocking, a prequel featuring Granny Reid - is in the works.


  • Action Girl: Savannah's a Private Detective with a black belt in karate, and carries her Beretta everywhere she goes.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Tammy says once, "Colder than a flat frog on a Philadelphia freeway in February?"
  • 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.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Savannah describes her car-cleaning guy Rory as having a very arousing voice.
  • 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.
  • Atrocious Alias:
    • 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.
  • 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: Savannah's got a plus-size body, but very few characters diss her for her weight, and when they do, it's usually scrawny women who think being thin = being beautiful. She gets complimented far more often for being comfortable in her skin, and several male characters comment on how they find larger women attractive.
  • 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-Splattered Wedding Dress: Savannah finds her wedding planner dead right before the wedding starts.
  • 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.
    • Tammy to her mother at the end of Hide and Sneak, after she walks in on her mother insultingly telling Savannah and Granny Reid that her marriage to Waycross and birth of their daughter is a mistake.
  • 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?
    • Dirk also tends to make obvious statements a lot in Killer Gourmet; the others give him glares when he does and Savannah points out to him that it doesn't have to be stated - for instance saying "that was the worst opening night of all time", referring to Ryan and Gibson's chef being murdered at the opening of their restaurant, and also when they talk about how they're going to have to keep the restaurant closed for a bit for various reasons, he adds, "Plus, you've gotta get a new cook".
  • 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.
  • Cop Killer/Killer Cop: The bad guy in Cooked Goose.
  • 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.
  • Curse Cut Short: Dirk occasionally breaks off when starting to swear in the presence of Savannah's granny.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Subverted with Eleanor's dogs, Hitler, Satan, and Killer - they're tiny little fluffy dogs, not what you'd first expect the breed to be if you'd only heard the names. They are quite aggressive at first, but once Savannah starts treating them kindly, they're rather friendly to everyone.
  • Death Faked for You: In Every Body On Deck, Natasha wants to get away with her husband's murder, get revenge on the other woman, and start a new life, so she has one of her biggest fans put the body of said fan's sister (who was awaiting burial due to the Alaskan winter) in place of Natasha, set the car on fire to hide the identity, and then do a switcheroo on the dental records so that they'd still think it was her.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: Savannah loves just about anything deep-fried..
  • Detective Mole: In Cooked Goose, 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: Occurs in both Fat-Free and Fatal and Every Body On Deck. You have to wonder what exactly they were expecting to happen, hiring a private investigation agency with a good track record.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: Umber Viola, almost, in Killer Gourmet: she was abused by her stepfather since she was young, and when she couldn't take it anymore she hired someone to kill him, and she couldn't live with herself after that. Savannah found her standing at the edge of a pier with all her belongings piled up and a note labeled "to Mom" on top. She was able to talk her down though.
  • Dumb Blonde: Inverted. Tammy is a very intelligent blonde.
  • Electrified Bathtub: The way one murder is committed.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Savannah's sister Cordele points out that them being named after Georgia towns is pretty stupid - she says that Savannah and Atlanta are good names, and at least you can shorten Jesup to Jessie, there's not much you can do with Cordele.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: Sometimes it's a twist ending, sometimes you think "it can't be that person, it's too obvious", sometimes the person themselves orders their own murder, but it's pretty much always unexpected.
  • Evil Laugh: Dr. Jennifer Liu is noted as having one of these.
  • Evil Twin: Discussed. In a police office out of town, Savannah and Dirk meet a doppelganger of Kenny Bates. Like Kenny, he works at the desk and is a Casanova Wannabe. Savannah refers to him as Kenny's "evil twin". They meet another doppelganger in Alaska.
  • 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...
  • Foot-Dragging Divorcee: When Marietta's all set for her third marriage, she claims that her fiance's current wife is trying to drag out the divorce to mess up the wedding.
  • Fostering for Profit: Dirk was only adopted from the orphanage because his adopted dad just wanted free physical labor for his business.
  • Friend on the Force: Dirk to Savannah.
  • Friend to All Children: Savannah is good with kids, and she also notes a few times that Dirk is as well, particularly in Killer Gourmet.
  • 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 was across the room, officially attending the meeting between them and Angela Herriot, she hadn't spoken a single word.
    • And in another book:
    "I'll betcha with some women along - gals who ain't been discombobulated, that is - we're gonna find us some murder weapons."
    (break on page)
    "Okay, you boys were right. There ain't no weapons here."
  • Glad I Thought of It: Used a couple times, usually with Dirk.
  • Granola Girl: Tammy, who is obsessed with eating healthy.
  • Granny Classic: Granny Reid, who was Savannah's real maternal figure growing up: kind and selfless, an amazing cook, and a giver of great advice. She'll gladly scold one of her grandchildren if they need it, though, and she even got in on the action once by tasering a man that got into a fight with Savannah's crew (who was beating them even though it was four against one).
  • 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 for the first dozen or so books, 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 and noted by Savannah.
  • Hidden Wire: Used quite a bit. Ryan and Gibson's are better than Dirk's, though: Dirk's actually shocks Tammy once.
  • Hired Guns: There's a few instances of someone paying another person to kill someone.
  • His Name Is...: In Killer Honeymoon, Savannah holds the dying woman in her arms and asks who shot her. The woman says "William..." and Savannah says, "William shot you?" The woman says no, repeats William's name again, and dies. It turns out that William hired someone to shoot her.
  • 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"?:
    • In Cooked Goose, 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.
    • In Killer Gourmet, Dirk asks Savannah if she wants to join him in questioning people in the interrogation room. Her response is, "Does Victoria's Secret have fancy bloomers?"
  • 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. He's got a rough-around-the-edges, grumpy sort of personality, but when you get to know him he's loyal and loving, and he loves kids.
  • Joggers Find Death: Happens a couple times in the series.
  • 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: Happens in 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) ♪ Nobody knows de trouble I see...
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: In Killer Honeymoon, Savannah's gang gets in a fight with a guy and they're losing when it's five against one. They're saved by Granny Reid and a taser. Dirk announces afterward that they should never speak of that humiliating moment again.
  • 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.
  • Loony Fan: In Hide and Sneak, "Kitty Z". She was obsessed with Ethan Malloy, one of his biggest fans, and sent both he and his wife photoshopped pictures of the other in an attempt to break them up. When that didn't work quickly enough, she kidnapped his wife and toddler son (murdering the nanny in the process), and intended to kill his wife and earn his affection by claiming she rescued his son from the person that had killed his wife.
  • Lost Wedding Ring: At Savannah's second attempt at a wedding day, one of her sisters accidentally throws out the groom's ring, requiring the bride 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.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: When Savannah is shot, she looks at her wound, and tells the guy that he's ruined her grandmother's nightgown. Not to sound tough or anything - she's genuinely upset about it and reacts to that before her injury.
  • 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. Another is in Every Body On Deck, when the murder is made to look like a car accident on a bad road.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Tommy Stafford refers to Dirk as "Dirt" and "Kirk".
  • 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.
  • Married at Sea: Tammy and Waycross get married on a cruise ship at the end of Every Body On Deck as their baby is born.
  • Meaningful Name: Anthony Villa (rich owner of a vineyard), Barbara "Barbie" Matthews (several-time beauty pageant winner), Tammy Hart (one of the most gentle and 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: At the end of A Decadent Way To Die, 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: Occurs in nearly every book.
  • Murderer P.O.V.: Happens several times, especially earlier in the series, 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.
  • 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 in Front of the Kid: One time, Savannah asks Dirk if he wants ice cream, and Dirk replies, "Do bears sh-" Savannah cuts him off, saying that there's a minor in the house and he should watch his language.
  • Not with Them for the Money: Robyn Dante in Poisoned Tarts.
  • Obsessively Organized: One character has it, and the breaks from his usual routine/cleanliness are what help Savannah and friends realize he was murdered, and how.
  • Of Corset Hurts: Savannah realizes this when she enters a medieval-themed, reality television show.
  • Old Dog: Colonel Beauregard, Granny's old hound.
  • Once an Episode:
    • There will usually be a scene where Savannah assists Dirk with an ordinary stakeout. Often will be the first scene of a book.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Personal Raincloud: Discussed in Hide and Sneak; Savannah says this to Dirk:
    "I was thinking you're kinda like that. Wherever you go, the sun can be shining to beat the band, but no. You just sit there, generating your own clouds, cooking up your own personal rainstorms, thunder, and lightning."
  • 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 one, and most are puns that have to do with food. Just Desserts, Cooked Goose, Corpse Suzette, Death by Chocolate, Cereal Killer.... to name a few.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Gibson, described as such word-for-word a few times.
  • 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 calls it "the search for truth", or claims that it's all in how you phrase it.
  • Relationship Upgrade:
    • At the end of A Decadent Way to Die, Dirk admits his love to Savannah and proposes to her. She says yes.
    • Tammy and Waycross announce their engagement at the end of Killer Gourmet, and they get married as their baby is born in the next book.
  • Rich Bitch / Spoiled Brat: The Skeleton Key Three from Poisoned Tarts.
  • Save the Villain: Well, it's archenemy, not villain, but 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, Savannah 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.
  • Shipper on Deck: Savannah (and pretty much everyone else) thinks that Tammy and Savannah's brother Waycross would make an adorable couple (and they do become one.)
  • Smoking Gun: Discussed in one book, when Jennifer Liu says "Since when was a crime ever solved with a smoking gun, anyway?"
  • Special Person, Normal 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.
  • Spin-Off: Murder in Her Stocking is a spinoff about Granny Reid solving a mystery when Savannah and her siblings were children.
  • Stock Animal Name: Granny Reid's dog is named Colonel Beauregard. In a later book it's revealed that all the dogs she's owned have been named Colonel Beauregard: each is given a different first name (e.g. Colonel Abraham Beauregard), which is quickly forgotten.
  • 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.
  • 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 is this to pretty much everyone. It's actually pointed out by Granny Reid in Killer Gourmet:
    "You've had a mother's heart almost from the very beginning of your years. Sadly, you had to. But it's done you good in the long run. And you've done a lot of good for others because of your early trials. You've played the motherhood role for so many orphaned souls who've crossed your path."
    Savannah considered her words, then said, "I guess I've always felt maternal toward my brothers and sisters, but..."
    "And those two cats, which you rescued from the pound, and all the critters you had before them. And the thousands of people in need who you encountered when you were a police officer, and even now in the work you do. How many tears have you wiped away? How much good advice have you handed out? How much practical, everyday help did you offer to people? How many wounds have you bound and how many broken hearts have you ministered to? Thousands, Savannah. That's how many. And if that ain't bein' a mother, then I don't know what is."''
  • 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.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: Occurs several times in the books.
  • 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."
    • "This sure is a killer honeymoon we're having, huh, babe?"
  • Trademark Favorite Food: If you're bribing Savannah, or she's bribing someone else, expect the price to be either a box of Godiva chocolates, or chocolate chip cookies with macadamia nuts.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wardrobe Wound: When Savannah gets shot, the thing she's most upset about is that her nightgown is ruined; it once belonged to her grandmother.
  • Weight Woe:
  • What a Piece of Junk: Dirk's Buick. By book 19 it was scrapped.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: When Savannah meets a girl named Chicago and mentally smirks at the name, she reminds herself that she of all people can't judge, considering her own family. In Savannah's defense, her own name is, while not exactly massively popular, not unusual for a girl's name, especially in the South. "Chicago", on the other hand, is practically unknown as a person's name, male or female.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: With Savannah, it's snakes and especially spiders. 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.

Alternative Title(s): Savannah Reid