BEAT UNTIL STIFF by CLAIRE M. JOHNSON
Experienced pastry chef Johnson whips up an insider look at
San Francisco's cut-throat restaurant trade. Cranky Mary
Ryan has sunk a lot of time and talent into the in-vogue
American Fare, the town's hottest spot, while grieving over
her broken marriage. At work very early one morning, she
steps on a laundry bag stuffed with the dead body of one of
her employees. The investigation soon exposes all the dirty
secrets that the food business would like to keep secret:
the philandering chefs, the silly whims of the dining
public, the hiring of illegal aliens, and the
subsistence-living pay scale. Events begin to spiral that in
time take out the restaurant's celebrity chef and force Mary
to use her unique skills to uncover a poisonous scheme....
Beat Until Stiff gives a frank view of the
cooking/restaurant scene and explores why food has become
theater, with all the waiters, the busboys, the chefs, and
the dining public on stage, each with their own parts to
learn and perform. Dessert is the last word, the amen of a
meal. And Mary Ryan always has to have the last word. Hard
edged, filled richly with restaurant lore, sharply
characterized, this is a debut to savor.
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