A MATTER OF TASTE
A restaurant owner couldn’t possibly be murdered for having veal and farmed salmon on her menu—at least so thinks Sally Solari, a civil attorney who practically grew up in the kitchen of an old-style Italian eatery. But now she’s beginning to wonder if maybe she’s wrong.
A Matter of Taste juxtaposes the world of a traditional, family-run restaurant with that of trendy, politically-correct foodies. Sally’s Aunt Letta has been found stabbed to death at Gauguin, a swank Polynesian-French restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, and Sally is astounded to learn she has inherited the place. When the Gauguin sous-chef becomes the prime suspect in Letta’s murder, Sally—utterly unprepared to run the restaurant without his expertise and convinced of his innocence—agrees to investigate on his behalf.
Delving into her enigmatic aunt’s past, Sally is thrown into the unfamiliar world of organic and sustainable farming, Chez Panisse-style restaurants, and animal rights activists. Not to mention a lesbian love affair her Aunt Letta had been hiding from the family. As she gathers clues on her way to solving the case, Sally begins to shed her preconceived notions about the “food movement,” ultimately coming to appreciate that not all of what these zealots have to say is so crazy after all.
First 150 Words:
“It wasn’t only that he severely pruned the Angel’s Trumpet...”
Wanda Eldridge—a fussy woman just this side of elderly with a fresh perm and, from where I was sitting at least, way too much eau de cologne—was on a roll. Leaning forward, she glared at the gray-suited attorney seated across the table from her. “He also hacked back—I mean, you should see them—he positively mutilated my beautiful Westerland roses.”
Agitated though Wanda was, my mind kept wandering off. Maybe I should have listened to my dad, after all. Maybe instead of hightailing it off to law school as soon as I finished college I should have just stayed put at the family restaurant. Rolling out pasta and serving plates of osso buco to hungry tourists wouldn’t be such a bad life...
A remote part of my brain observed as Wanda leaned back in her chair, adjusted the cuffs of her floral-patterned chiffon blouse, and sniffed.