Berkley, Feb 2008, $7.99
In Santa Monica, California Della Carmichael accepts the offer from the better Living Channel to host a cooking show In the Kitchen with Della so that she can pay the rent on her cooking school studio. However, one hour before she is to make her live appearance on the air debut, the previous Cooking Diva Mimi Bond verbally assaults her; accusing her of sleeping with Mickey Jordan as that would be the only reason he gave her Mimi’s show. Trying to remain calm, Della insists she only met Mickey four times and his wife was with him each time. She keeps to herself that the rumor Mimi was fired was too much 100 proof sauce in her sauce. To her chagrin Mimi takes Della’s famous KILLING MOUSSE and claims it is terrible before falling down to her death. From the audience the woman sitting next to Mimi shouts “You killed my mother”.
Police Detective Hall leads the investigation in which all the evidence points towards Della. The mousse, which had been in the nearby refrigerator for a few hours, contains two ingredients that Della claims she did not use: Intesteral the chocolate laxative and peanuts, which Mimi is deathly allergic too. Realizing at a minimum her career is ruined and at maximum face an official accusation of first degree murder, Della investigates starting with how Mimi who could not boil water became the COOKING DIVA.
This is an interesting culinary amateur sleuth as the heroine cook has a genuine reason to find the real culprit; she recognizes she is a bumbling amateur but cannot afford a professional. Della keeps the plot fresh with her inquiry as she uses her cooking process to guide the steps she takes. Readers will enjoy the recipes provided by Della, the support cast and some guests (Barbara Rush and her sister Ramona Hennessy) ranging from the title dessert to “Gangster Chicken Cacciatore”, and “Funeral Salad” (by guest Regina Cocanougher).