Whoever came up with the adage “the customer is always right” clearly never worked at a a place like Solari’s. With its prime location out at the end of the historic Santa Cruz Wharf, my family’s restaurant attracts tourists from around the globe—and not all of them particularly well-behaved.
Case in point: Right now, I’m busy chasing down a pair of toddlers running through the dining room snatching francese bread from all the other tables. Their German parents have apparently gotten the impression that child care is included with their orders of spaghetti carbonara.
To make matters worse, if I don’t get out of here soon I’m going to be late for chorus rehearsal. And our director, a fiery Neapolitan named Marta, does not take kindly to tardiness. Corralling the errant children and steering them back to their booster chairs, I deposit my Bolognese-stained apron in the dish room hamper, wave goodbye to my dad at the six-burner stove, and head out the door for my ’57 T-Bird convertible.
Free at last! I have just enough time to go home and scarf down a cheese and avocado quesadilla, take Buster for a walk, and then swing by my other restaurant, Gauguin, to make sure our reach-in fridge has been repaired, before heading downtown to the church where we’re rehearsing the glorious Mozart Requiem.
Tonight, however, we are a tenor short. And not just any tenor, but the section leader, who’s fallen out of the second story window of the church and broken his neck. I know one shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, but I can’t say I’m too terribly sorry. For in addition to being the head of the tenor section, he was a real head case, too, as far as I can tell.
As a result, when his soprano girlfriend starts trying to convince me his death was not an accident, I’m of two minds. Clearly, plenty of folks had good reason to dislike the guy, but I’ve learned the hard way that sticking your nose into other people’s murders can be dangerous business.
I agree to keep my ears open and ask around a bit, nothing more.
But then someone starts a suspicious fire at Gauguin and that’s when the case becomes personal. Because no one messes with an Italian’s kitchen and gets away with it.
* * *
You can read more about Sally in A MEASURE OF MURDER, the second book in the Sally Solari culinary mystery series.
Sally Solari is busy juggling work at her family’s Italian restaurant, Solari’s, and helping plan the autumn menu for the restaurant she’s just inherited, Gauguin. Complicating this already hectic schedule, Sally joins her ex-boyfriend Eric’s chorus, which is performing a newly discovered version of her favorite composition: the Mozart Requiem. But then, at the first rehearsal, a tenor falls to his death on the church courtyard—and his soprano girlfriend is sure it wasn’t an accident.
Now Sally’s back on another murder case mixed in with a dash of revenge, a pinch of peril, and a suspicious stack of sheet music. And while tensions in the chorus heat up, so does the kitchen at Gauguin, set aflame right as Sally starts getting too close to the truth. Can Sally catch the killer before she’s burnt to a crisp, or will the case grow as cold as yesterday’s leftovers?
“Engaging characters, terrific writing, and a savory blend of musical and culinary erudition…polymath Karst sauces her plot without masking its flavor. And she’s a dab hand with the red herrings.” Publishers Weekly starred review
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Meet the author
Leslie Karst is the author of the Sally Solari culinary mystery series, published by Crooked Lane Books (Dying for a Taste, A Measure of Murder). The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie has degrees in English literature, law, and culinary arts. After graduating from Stanford Law School, she worked for twenty years as a research and appellate attorney before turning to mystery writing. Leslie now spends her days cooking, gardening, cycling, singing alto in the local community chorus, and of course writing. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix, Ziggy, split their time between Santa Cruz, California and Hilo, Hawai’i. Visit her online at lesliekarstauthor.com and on Facebook.
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A Measure of Murder is available at retail and online booksellers.