The heat is on
Life's a banquet for Angelina Amalfi—a gourmet chef and food writer with enough sass and spunk for two. But things start to go really bad really fast when the man who's been contributing unusual recipes to her column is discovered dead and Angie suddenly finds herself being stalked by a killer whose appetite was merely whetted by the first deadly course. On the plus side, Paavo Smith, the homicide cop assigned to the case, is one delectable dish. But when more people start to fall all around her like ruined soufflés, ever-resourceful Angie realizes she'll have to cook up a survival scheme quick before her personal goose gets cooked. This case may be too hot to handle and the stakes are high, for she's about to take on deadly arms smugglers and lethal food fanatics. But if anyone can keep her cool, Angie can.
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.
Read an Excerpt
Wine Eggs Mornay.Poached Eggs on Canapes with Cheese Fondue Sauce.Souffle Aux Blancs D'Oeufs.
Angelina Amalfi tossed the recipes aside. They'd never do. They were simply too common.She sat cross-legged on the floor of the den in her Russian Hill penthouse apartment. Stacks of recipes sent to her by readers of her food column -- as well as those she'd clipped over the years from other newspapers, magazines, and fund-raiser cookbooks-lay scattered around her. It was Sunday., She had barely one hour left to fax Mon& Monday'scolumn to the newspaper, but even so, she was being choosy. She needed a recipe that was eye-catching and appealing,' perhaps with some particularly interesting ingredient.I
She ran her fingers through her hair in frustration, then let herself slump, her elbows on- -her knees and her head in her hands.
How could a sweet, little old man like Sam have failed her this way? He frequently contributed to her column. Her readers loved his unique recipes, as did her editor. And Sam enjoyed seeling his words in print, even if they were only recipes. When he had called that morning and said he had a recipe for her next column, she had offered to meet him at a nearby park to pick it up. Nice though Sam was, she felt uneasy about inviting him to her home. Besides, he dyed his hair black, and something about a man in his late sixties with hair the color of Count Dracula's was just plain weird.
They should have met two hours ago, but he hadn't shown up. She had waited for him for over an, hour, enjoying the warm October sun, and then hurried back to her apartment to meet, her deadline.
She frowned as sheglanced at the unrelenting clock.
Chocolate Meringue. Almond Mocha Torte. Italian Rum Cake. Yes, these recipes were much more her style than the ones for breakfast foods. Sam usually gave her.
There was a knock on the door to her apartment. Now what? she wondered. She didn't have time for interruptions.
The knocking grew louder.
Irritated, she stood up and stuffed her silk blouse back into her slacks asshe hurried through elegant antique-laden living room. Shereached the front door and it swung open.
No one was there.
Puzzled, she stepped onto. the plush carpeting of the hallway. The well-polished doors of the elevator were closed, as was the door to the stairwell.
As was quiet.
As she turned back, she saw a small, brown package, aboutthe size of a pound of butter, propped up against the doorframe. She looked around again, puzzled, and then picked it up and shut walked back inside, kicking the door shut shut as she searchedfor the sender's name and address. There was none.
Whowould hand-deliver ai package to Occupant?
Occupant! She'd been interrupted, her deadline upon her, for nothing hut a lousy sales pitch? These advertising companies were getting pushier every day.
She stomped into the kitchen to toss the package into the trashbad under the sink, then hesitated. Today was Sunday. Would a sales delivery be made on a. Sunday?
The package was, heavy for its size. Quite heavy. She gave it a little shake.
Nothing seemed to move inside. She raised it to her ear and shook it again. A soft tick-tick-tick filled the cold silence of the kitchen.
She shuddered. This was silly. She reached for the string binding the package, but her hand shook. She clenched her hand A moment, then relaxed and tried to touch the string again. She pulled her hand back as if burned.
This was nothing short of foolish, she told her self Still, it might be even more, foolish to take chances.
The police. She'd ask them what to do. She laid the package on the counter above the dishwasher and tiptoed backward out of the kitchen. Once in the living room, she looked up the special phone number her father had given her from his Mend, the police commissioner. She avoided relying onher father's money or influence under normal circumstances, a mysteriously ticking package was definitely not normal.
"Police," a youthful sounding voice answered.
"My name is Angelina Amalfi. Commissioner Barcelli told me to use this number if I ever needed special assistance."
"Yes, ma'am."This is Officer Crossen. Whatcan I do for you?.
"I've got a strange package here."
"It's wrapped in brown paper and it, ticks."
"Someone sent the package to you?"
"It was left at my door. It's marked Occupant."
"Occupant? Are you sure it's not some advertising campaign? A sample from Timex or something?"
That gave her pause. "Are you suggesting I open it and find out?"
No, ma'am. Please don't do that. I'll send someone out right away.He'll take care of everything. What's your address?"
"1010 Green, apartment 1201. What should I do in the meantime?"
"It's probably nothing dangerous but to be safe, don't touch it."
"But it's in my kitchen!"
"That sounds like a good place for it, ma'am."
She hung up.
She went back to the kitchen and stood in the doorway, looking at the. package. Her kitchen. was a food columnist's dream. She loved her oversized, fire engine red' stove imported from France, her Cuisinart, espresso machine, Belgian waffler, pasta maker, her Magnalite pots and pans, Henckels knives, cast-iron bakeware, microwave, and even her electric wok. These things filled her shelves, walls, and snowy white Corian countertops. Was the ticking louder, or was it her imagination? She should leave the package alone, as the policeman said, but then he didn't seem to think it was a bomb. No one would send a bomb to Occupant, for pity's sake. But if it did go off...
She hurried across the kitchen, opened the door of her dishwasher -- a Maytag, advertised as indestructible -- gingerly placed the package inside, locked the door, and spun the dial to start the water flowing. Whatever the wretched thing was, she'd just defused it, she hoped.
She returned to the living room and sat down, one hand against her chest, breathing deeply to still the rapid id pounding of her heart.
A loud blast from the kitchen shook the walls and rattled the windows. Angie clutched the arm of the sofa as a Dali lithograph fell off the wall, shattering its glass facing.Something's Cooking. Copyright © by Joanne Pence. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Pence gleefully grabs reader attention in chapter one with Angie¿s disaster loadstone magnetized on all angles. The '... don't bother to send a bomb expert. Send a plumber' was a perfect opening for a promising series. In chapter two Pence opens with a narrative setting which could cajole Joseph Conrad to leap out of the grave and compete. In a fun contrast to the eternal perk of Angie¿s catastrophe-prone personality, the love of her life is introduced through a leisurely, macho Sunday afternoon as Pence¿s sensual syntax sets the scene: ¿The San Francisco Hall of justice, a massive, grey, granite structure, cold and intimidating, stood quiet without the chaos that routine police business brought during the week. The slip into this novel was so seamless I didn¿t have time or inclination to analyze (past the first couple chapters) what was drawing me in. I was just there, though I did periodically surface to notice the awesome talent of a true novelist at work behind the scenes. Angie possesses a repeating character ¿flaw¿ which is spicy and fun, as well as scarey for those who come to care about her. She pauses, rests, and plays a bit within any protective prison she¿s been contained within. She rambles around the cage, dutifully and sensibly. Then a spark from the ozone (or from somewhere over the rainbow?) surfaces and she leaps into crazy, chaotic situations most of us would maybe consider cautiously in a conquering hero day dream, but wouldn¿t have (wouldn¿t WANT) the chutzpah to ever, ever act upon. Yet, that makes Angie a perfect fictional heroine, instead of an every day person dancing with drudgeries outside the pages of a book. Being an every-day person is my job (when I¿m escaping into fiction instead of writing it). That¿s why I was able to relish Angie¿s surging leaps, even as I cringed and skidded on the breaks of the ottoman upon which my feet were resting, with an afghan covering them cozily. I¿m still not certain if Pence¿s Amalfi series is a cozy culinary, a crime novel, a romance, or a mainstream offering. Honestly, at the beginning of my reading through this series, I didn¿t care about its precise category I cared only that I had 11 more novels in that series to read. Yum!
I enjoy a mystery that also makes me laugh and this book qualifies! Angelina Amalfi lives a privileged life but something is missing. Along comes a handsome cop to help her survive unexpected and puzzling attempts on her life. But she is not the quivering little victim. Angie's own resourcefulness, intelligence, (and stubborness) help solve the puzzle. Will there be a happy future for these two caring, likeable people? I sure hope so!