Crime Fiction Joanne Pence Too Many Cooks

ISBN 13: 9780061081996

Too Many Cooks

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9780061081996: Too Many Cooks

After talking her way into a job on a pompous, third-rate chef's radio call-in-show, Angie Amalfi has visions of a new career to go along with her hot, new romance with Paavo Smith, a gorgeous homocide detective.

When a successful and much-envied restauranteur is poisoned however, Angie finds the case far more interesting than trying to make her pretentious boss sound good. Some cooks might shy away from such a sizzling case, but Angie can take the heat and stay in the kitchen.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Joanne Pence was born and raised in San Francisco. A graduate of U.C. Berkeley with a master's degree in journalism, Joanne has taught school in Japan, written for magazines, and worked for the federal government. She now lives in Idaho with her family, which includes a multitude of pets.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

Angelina Amalfi sat on the edge of her chair at radio station KYME, scarcely breathing for fear the sound might be picked up and carried over the airwaves. She watched Henry LaTour hit the button that opened up the telephone line.

"Hello," Henry said into his microphone. "Welcome to Lunch with Henri. What may I do for you today?"

"Good afternoon, Chef Henri. I'm Bonnie from San Francisco."

An exuberant female voice pierced through the headphones Angie wore. Wincing with pain, she lifted them off her ears and looked for the volume control. But which knob to turn, button to push, or switch to flick was a mystery. Luckily, as Bonnie continued talking, her decibels dipped a bit.

"Thank you so much for taking my call. I'm a first-time caller, and I'm a little nervous."

She's nervous, Angie thought. She reached for a glass of water, then pulled back her hand. What if she spilled it? Or the ice rattled? Or she gulped too loudly? Never before had she thought about how noisy drinking a little water could be. As she tried to ignore the sudden dryness of her throat, Henry LaTour, called "Chef Ahnree" by his devoted followers, rocked his corpulent body forward in his chair, closer to the microphone, and half closed his eyelids. "No need to be nervous, my dear." His tone was too sweet, too oily--much like his cooking, Angie thought.

"I love your program so much," Bonnie gushed.

Henry's jowls jiggled as he nodded appreciatively. "Why, thank you, Bonnie." His headphones, Angie noticed, pressed grooves into his snowy white pompadour.

She breathed a little easier now that Henry and Bonnie had begun to converse. She knew Chef Henri could waste more valuable airtime listening to a woman sing his praises than any other human being ever. The man was devoted to his own wonderfulness.

This was Angie's second day at the station and her first day performing her new job. Last Friday, she'd sat in the studio and observed the program, then met the station manager, his assistant, his secretary, and the radio engineer.

Henry had introduced Angie to them as his personal assistant, announcing that she would take the names and addresses of callers who requested helpful hints, recipes, or other information about cooking from Chef Henri; write down any particularly prescient statements he made about food and its preparation so he could put them into his next cookbook; and answer his many pieces of fan mail.

None of it was true.

Chef Henri couldn't admit to anyone that he was going to get help from Angie. Their little secret, to Chef Henri, was as hush-hush as the recipe for Classic Coke.

That they ever found each other was a miracle. KYME was a little-listened-to station in the nether regions of the AM dial that blended together a blur of talk shows, sermons, and popular music. A couple of weeks ago, after hitting the "SEEK" button on her car radio, Angie mistakenly stopped it on KYME. On the air, a pompous sounding man humbled his way through a simple, question about pickling green tomatoes. The germ of an idea took hold. She listened to Chef Henri for the rest of the hour and every day for a week thereafter with a mixture of amusement and slack-jawed horror at his assault on the Bay Area's collective palate.

He needs me, she'd concluded. And since she was currently out of work, she had the perfect solution for his predicament.

KYME's small broadcasting studio was located in an old building in San Francisco's South-of-Market area, a rough low-rent district recently showing signs of revitalization into what was being called "SoMa"a poor man's Greenwich Village. Angie drove there, then paced the hallway until Chef Henri, his show completed for the day, stepped out of the station's executive offices.

"I'm exactly what you need, Mr. LaTour." Angie hurried up to him, her hand extended in greeting. As soon as he got over looking startled, his expression turned skeptical. In fact, he looked at her as if she were crazy and, ignoring her outstretched hand, walked past her, head held high, almost strutting.

"My name's Angelina Amalfi." She chased along beside him and stuck her card in his hand. "I've had my own newspaper food column, where I discussed food preparation and presented recipes. The paper, unfortunately, went out of business. Also, I've written reviews of restaurants for a number of local magazines and newspapers."

He stopped walking and gazed down a long ski-slope-shaped nose at her. "So what?"

"I've got a terrific idea," she said. "I'll sit quietly in the studio with a bunch of specialty cookbooks in front of me. As soon as a caller mentions a topic, I'll find the right book and look it up. Then, if you get stuck--"

"Chef Henri never gets stuck, Miss Amalfi!" He proceeded toward the elevators.

Didn't the man ever listen to himself? No, a man who refers to himself in the third person rarely did. She followed. "Well, what I meant was, if the question was a really bizarre one, I'd hand you the book so you could see what the answer was."

"Oh. "

At last he was paying attention to her. "And then," she continued, her enthusiasm growing with each word, "we could discuss some special menus or rare foods, which would be really interesting for your listeners."

"We?" She got his peering-down-the-ski-slope-nose routine again. "As in you and I?"

"That's right."

The elevator doors opened and he got on, blocking her entry. "I hardly think so."

Her mouth snapped shut and her smile faded as she watched the doors shut in her face.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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