Pastry chef 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. Then, arriving at work very early one day, she discovers a laundry bag stuffed with the dead body of one of her employees. The ensuing investigation soon exposes all of the dirty secrets that the food industry would like to keep hidden - philandering chefs, illegal aliens, and subsistence-level pay scales. Events begin to spiral and in time take out the restaurant’s celebrity chef and force Mary to use her unique skills to uncover a poisonous scheme.
“Highly recommended!” (Midwest Book Review)
“Johnson's delicious debut…mixes an unglamorized, behind-the-scenes view of the upscale restaurant trade with a plot replete with well-timed shocks…The down-to-earth Mary, with her keen sense of humor, casts a sharp eye on the novel’s flashier characters...The restaurant business - its food, financing, and philosophy - is here in all its complexity for discriminating mystery palates.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Not since Nero Wolfe and Faith Fairchild have mystery and food been yoked together so well as they are now in Claire M. Johnson's Beat Until Stiff. An authentic and fast-paced mystery novel.” (John McAleer, Edgar-winning author)
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