Cranky Mary Ryan has sunk a lot of time and talent into the American Fare, San Francisco's hottest spot, while grieving over her broken marriage. At work very early, 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 is the first book in the Mary Ryan series.