Table of Contents
? ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE SIX SEVEN EIGHT NINE TEN ELEVEN TWELVE THIRTEEN FOURTEEN FIFTEEN SIXTEEN SEVENTEEN EIGHTEEN NINETEEN TWENTY TWENTY-ONE TWENTY-TWO TWENTY-THREE TWENTY-FOUR TWENTY-FIVE TWENTY-SIX TWENTY-SEVEN TWENTY-EIGHT TWENTY-NINE
? RECIPES Gourmet Girl Mysteries
by Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant
TURN UP THE HEAT FED UP
Dog Lover’s Mysteries by Susan Conant
A NEW LEASH ON DEATH
DEAD AND DOGGONE A BITE OF DEATH PAWS BEFORE DYING GONE TO THE DOGS BLOODLINES
RUFFLY SPEAKING BLACK RIBBON
ANIMAL APPETITE THE BARKER STREET REGULARS
EVIL BREEDING CREATURE DISCOMFORTS
THE WICKED FLEA THE DOGFATHER BRIDE AND GROOM GAITS OF HEAVEN ALL SHOTS
Cat Lover’s Mysteries by Susan Conant
SCRATCH THE SURFACE
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This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product ofthe author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons,living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. Thepublisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author orthird-party websites or their content.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written.The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may requiremedical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipescontained in this book.
Copyright ? 2009 by Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
eISBN : 978-1-440-68717-4
1. Carter, Chloe (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Cooks—Fiction. 3. Boston (Mass.)—
Fiction. I. Conant, Susan, 1946- II. Title. PS3603.O525F43 2009
For Melissa, a friend for life
For contributing mouthwatering recipes, we thank Angela McKeller, Ann and Michel Devrient, MegDriscoll, Josh and Jen Ziskin, Nancy R. Landman, Barbara Seagle, Raymond Ost, Bill Park, andDwayne Minier.
And for testing some of those recipes, we thank Mary Fairchild, Gina Micale, and Rita Schiavone
For detailing icky restaurant health code violations, we thank Deborah M. Rosati, R.S., foodsafety consultant.
Many thanks to Natalee Rosenstein and Michelle Vega from Berkley Prime Crime and to our agent,Deborah Schneider.
And for rescuing the real Inga, Jessica thanks her husband, Bill, who knew that the starving,neglected Persian would be the perfect addition to our home.
I peeked in the rearview mirror of my car, touched up my lip gloss, and ran my hands through myhair. I was, after all, going to be on television, so I had every excuse in the world todouble-check my appearance. Okay, well, it was actually my boyfriend, Josh, who was going to beon television. Still, I was going to be in the vicinity of the taping of a television show, andif the camera just so happened to find its way to me, I had to be prepared. My hair disagreed;far from behaving itself, it was doing everything it could to fight the anti-frizz andstraightening products that I had slathered on this morning. I got out of the car, slammed thedoor, and cursed Boston’s triple- H weather: hazy, hot, humid. I should’ve taken my friend
Adrianna’s advice about wearing my hair curly. I had taken her advice, however, about wearinga cute, if uncomfortable, outfit. I tugged at the hem of my lime green and sky blue retro-print dress and tried to smooth out the wrinkles that had developed during the drive. And thesedarn toeless pumps that matched the green in the dress were going to be hell; I could alreadyfeel my big toe whining about being squashed. You have to suffer to be beautiful, you have to
I repeated to myself.suffer to be beautiful,
The parking lot of the upscale grocery store, Natural High, was moderately full for fouro’clock on a Monday afternoon in late August. I was there—on location, as I liked to think ofit—because Josh had been invited to participate in a local cable reality TV show called Chefly Yours. I was tagging along, but Josh was one of three local chefs competing to win theprize of starring in a new eight-part cooking show. The other two contestants were Josh’sfriend Digger and a woman named Marlee. Chefly Yours was scheduled to have nine episodes,
three for each chef, with the contestants competing in rotation. Josh, Digger, and Marlee hadeach filmed one episode. Today was Josh’s second turn. When all nine episodes had aired,viewers were going to call in to vote for the winner. Each episode followed the chef contestantinto a grocery store, where the chef approached a shopper and persuaded the surprised strangerto participate in the show. The chef then selected and bought food and accompanied the shopperhome to cook a gourmet meal. The hope was that the chosen shopper would have a spouse orpartner at home, an unsuspecting person who’d provide moments of drama by expressingastonished delight—or filmworthy rage, maybe—when the TV crew burst in. Crew: considering
that the cable station, Boston 17, provided one producer-director, Robin, and one cameraman,Nelson, the term struck me as a bit generous. Also, the premise of Chefly Yours hit me as
disconcertingly similar to the premise of a big-time national program hosted by a hotAustralian chef, but when I’d told Josh that Robin was copycatting, he’d brushed me off.
Still, my boyfriend’s first episode had gone well in spite of an unexpected challenge. Becausethe “lucky shopper,” as Robin called her, turned out to have numerous food allergies, Joshhad been forced to cook an incredibly simple seared fish fillet with practically no seasoning.To his credit, instead of throwing up his hands in frustration, he had used the episode toshowcase his technical culinary skills, and he’d taught his shopper and the audience how tobreak down a whole fish and cook it perfectly. Nonetheless, I was hoping that today he’d finda truly adventurous eater. I hadn’t been present for the taping of Josh’s first show. WhenRobin had given me permission to watch today’s taping, she’d made me swear that I wouldn’tmake Josh nervous. I’d given her my promise.
The location, Natural High, was an elite market in the Boston suburb of Fairfield, which ourlocal papers always described as the wealthiest community in Massachusetts. As the store’sname suggested, its specialty was organic produce, but it also sold fresh meat and seafood. Asthe automatic doors opened and I stepped in, I felt a surge of irritation at the show for whatwas obviously a search for wealthy guest shoppers. It seemed to me that the people for whom it
would be a big treat to take a chef home were middle-income and low-income shoppers at ordinarysupermarkets. The station, however, evidently preferred to have a good chance of shooting in alavish-looking house with a luxurious, well-equipped kitchen. I consoled myself with thethought that Natural High did have a few advantages. The butcher at the meat counter, a guynamed Willie, was the brother of my friend Owen, so at least Willie would get some airtime,and Josh was hoping to stop at a nearby cheese and wine shop run by Owen and Willie’s brotherEvan.
I found Josh huddled close to Robin in the produce section of the market, where both werescanning for a desirable shopper.
“Found any victims yet?” I placed my hand on Josh’s lower back.
“Hey, babe.” He grinned and then gave me a quick kiss. Clearly fired up for today’s filming,Josh was wearing his white chef’s coat from the restaurant where he worked, Simmer, and hisgorgeous blue eyes twinkled with energy. Josh usually left his dirty blond hair to its owndevices—a look I found adorable—but today he had obviously spent a little time in the mirrorstyling his waves. As delicious as he looked in person, Josh had managed to look even yummieron TV, as if his enthusiasm for the competition had seeped into the camera. Although he wrappedhis arm around me and pulled me in tightly, he continued looking at Robin’s clipboard.
“Hi, Robin,” I said to the producer.
Robin whipped her long brown ponytail to the side without dislodging her headset. She gave me acurt smile. “Chloe. I didn’t know you’d be here today. Nice to see you.”
She did so know I was going to be here! “Nice to see you, too.”
Robin looked back down at her clipboard and began frantically writing as she talked. “Okay,Josh, so I’d prefer to find a male shopper this time. We’ve already had three women. And hehas to be camera friendly. Since we don’t have hair and makeup people, it’s got to be someoneattractive. And find out about his kitchen. We don’t want to end up in some hellhole withcockroaches and no cooking equipment.” Robin’s sharp voice matched her appearance: a small,pinched nose; perpetually squinty eyes; and pursed lips. She had a very thin, dainty frame, andher no-nonsense clothes fell shapelessly on her body.
Josh and Robin started peering around the store again. When I stepped aside to let them work, Ibumped into Nelson, the cameraman, and nearly toppled over.
“Um, hi, Nelson.” I stared into the big black lens of his camera, which was pointed directlyat me. The light shining from the camera made me squint.
Nelson briefly leaned out from behind the camera to beam at me. “Hi, Chloe.”
Nelson, who was in his early thirties, had a prematurely bald head so shiny that I longed topat his scalp with blotting paper or dust it with talc. His eyes formed two perfect circles, asthough they’d been drawn on his face by a first-grader. He was close to six feet tall, and hisbulky build must have made it easy for him to carry the heavy camera.
After tucking himself back behind the safety of the camera, he asked, “How are you today? Hasschool started back up yet?”
“No, I have a few more weeks.” My second and final year of graduate school was looming, but Iwas nowhere near ready to give up on summer. “Oh, I see Digger and Marlee are here. I’m goingto say hello.”
Josh and his chef friend Digger had enjoyed a friendly rivalry during the past month of taping.The other two chefs were along not just to watch how their competition performed but to serveas sous-chefs if Josh needed them.
“Hey, Chloe!” Digger called out in his husky voice. “What’s up, kid?” His curly brown hairwas pulled back in an elastic, and his dark skin was even more deeply tanned than the last timeI’d seen him. Digger had strong, angular facial features that I found somewhat intoxicating;although he wasn’t traditionally handsome, he was masculine and striking. “Has Josh gotanyone, yet? We’ve been here for twenty minutes, and Robin has already rejected four people