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A Sense for Murder (A Sally Solari Mystery)
by Leslie Karst
About A Sense for Murder
A Sense for Murder (A Sally Solari Mystery)
6th in Series
Setting – California
Severn House (August 1, 2023)
Hardcover : 224 pages
ISBN-10 : 1448309050
ISBN-13 : 978-1448309054
Digital ASIN : B0BXPY61Q1
Chef Sally Solari has – to her own bewilderment – built a reputation as a talented sleuth who keeps tripping over dead bodies. But getting mixed up in the curious case of a cookbook killer threatens to be the final chapter in not just her investigating career . . . but her life.
It’s the height of the tourist season in Santa Cruz, California, and Sally Solari has her hands full, both juggling crowds of hungry diners at her French-Polynesian restaurant Gauguin, as well as appeasing her father, who’s distressed at the number of homeless people camped out in front of Solari’s, the family’s Italian seafood restaurant out on the historic fisherman’s wharf.
Nevertheless, when Sally gets the opportunity to volunteer at a farm-to-table dinner taking place at the hip new restaurant and culinary bookshop Pages and Plums, she seizes the chance. Not only is it a fundraiser for an organization aiding the homeless and seniors, but up for auction at the event is a signed boxset of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Sally’s hero, the renowned chef Julia Child.
But then the Pages and Plums dining room manager turns up dead – the locked cabinet containing the precious books now empty – and the irrepressible Sally once again finds herself up to her neck in a criminal investigation. She may have a sense for murder, but can Sally outwit a devious killer with a taste for French cooking before the villain makes mincemeat of her, too?
A Sense for Murder is a fast-paced, super fun culinary cozy mystery that will have your brain working and your mouth watering. And if you haven’t met sleuthing chef Sally yet, it’s safe to jump right in.
If not for the clatter of my bicycle bouncing down the wooden planks of the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, I felt certain that every tourist I whizzed past would have been startled by the loud rumblings emanating from my empty stomach.
I’d set off on my morning ride with only a cup of coffee for sustenance, and the effects of the initial caffeine buzz had now been replaced by a severe case of low blood sugar. As a result (notwithstanding the million-dollar view of the historic fisherman’s wharf stretching out from the sparkling beach and the iconic roller coaster rising up behind), the only thing on my mind at that moment was the prospect of biting into one of my father’s famous ricotta-and-mascarpone-filled cannoli.
I spotted Dad’s tall, stocky figure standing in front of Solari’s Restaurant as soon as I rounded the bend near the end of the wharf. He was turned toward me, waving, so I waved back, then quickly grabbed hold of my handlebars as I hit a nasty bump in the road. Once closer, however, I realized he wasn’t waving at me. He hadn’t even noticed my arrival. Rather, he was shouting and gesticulating at a form sprawled on the sidewalk at the corner of the building.
‘Why the hell do you insist on camping out here?’ I heard him yell as I approached. ‘You and your kind are driving away my business!’
Wheeling up to the front entrance, I clipped out of my pedals and leaned my red-and-white road bike against the restaurant’s whitewashed wood siding. Through the neon Budweiser and Amstel Light signs hanging in the window above, I could see a table of early lunchers chowing down on plates of crab salads and linguine.
‘Hey, Dad. What’s going on?’
‘Sally.’ He turned to me with a frown. ‘I didn’t hear you ride up.’
‘Probably because you were making quite a bit of racket yourself.’
The person at his feet – a thin, gray-haired man wrapped in a dark green sleeping bag – pushed himself to an upright position and regarded the two of us with dull eyes. A fat seagull pecked at a discarded French fry not three feet from where he sat.
Dad returned the man’s gaze with an angry stare. ‘I’ve been trying for five full minutes to get this guy to move his sorry ass away from my restaurant, but he pretends like he doesn’t even hear me. Maybe I should just call the cops on you,’ he said to the cocooned man, ‘and let them deal with it.’
‘Maybe if you tried treating him like a human being, your powers of persuasion would be a little more effective,’ I responded. ‘I mean, really: “you and your kind”?’ But my father merely shook his head and turned to walk back inside Solari’s, clearly now annoyed not only with the guy in the sleeping bag but also his only daughter.
About Leslie Karst
Leslie Karst is the author of the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari mystery series and Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, and Cooking for RBG. After years waiting tables and singing in a new wave rock band, she decided she was ready for a “real” job and ended up at Stanford Law School. It was during her career as an attorney that Leslie rediscovered her youthful passion for food and cooking and once more returned to school—this time to earn a degree in culinary arts. Now retired from the law, Leslie spends her time cooking, cycling, gardening, observing cocktail hour promptly at five o’clock, and of course writing. She and her wife split their time between Santa Cruz, California, and Hilo, Hawai‘i.
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