cover image Dead Man's Broth

Dead Man's Broth

Timothy Hemlin, Tim Hemlin. Ballantine Books, $5.99 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-345-42002-2

There's quite a shake-up in Houston's glamorous culinary world in Hemlin's latest mystery. While TV chef Sherwood Welles is ruling the airwaves, his assistant chef, Warren Clay, comes knocking on the door of rival cook Neil Marshall, proposing that they go into business together. Neil refuses and Warren goes away angry. Meanwhile, Neil overhears Agnes Berryman, owner of Texas Tastes lifestyle magazine, arguing with Neil's boss, Perry Stevens, Houston's premier caterer, whom she had hired to cater an event and then refused to pay. The next day, Neil begins to receive several anonymous death threats in the mail. When Welles is found dead, stabbed in his kitchen studio, Perry is named the prime suspect, and it's up to Neil to solve the crime. If he can't deduce how all the pieces fit together, his boss will do time. Events reach fever pitch as preparations begin for Perry Stevens Catering's much touted Fifth Annual Crawfish Boil. Hemlin (A Catered Christmas) spices his South Texas brew with a lively cast of characters and fast-paced plotting. (Nov.)