Hannah Starvling – Former FBI. Part-time sleuth. Full-time Chef. Cool, calculating, methodical, and distant.
Catherine “Cate” Jordan – Full time librarian. Part-time sleuth. Full time sassy best friend to the head chef.
Buster Jordan – The Adonis bodied, Apollo smiling, often clueless cousin of Cate, friend of the head chef.
Louie Woolridge – Food critic and friend of the featured entrée. He disagrees with the proposed preparation.
Hymnal “Hym” Miles – Zebulon Law Enforcement. Handsome and curious, he is equally interested in who is looking into the case as to the case itself.
Asa Karas – Mega wealthy, controlling, jealous, and potentially adulterous, husband. He loved the entrée but has several billion reasons to want her removed from the menu.
Jazlyn Karas – The morally questionable, social party girl, ‘replacement Chef’ niece. She had much to gain if the entrée turned up cold and soggy.
Jack Miller – Media manager, paramour of the replacement, and full time manipulator. Payoffs and ironclad contracts are his stock and trade. One poorly constructed entrée could mean the collapse of his otherwise solidly built connection to the house that the Karas built.
Xabiere Dauphin – The French accented sous chef to the entrée, and new head Chef of Julia’s Kitchen on the Water, he has a taste for Karas women and a distaste for their partners.
Vera Bessinger – Protégé Chef and handpicked successor of the entrée. Served with naiveté and secrets not even she is aware of, her role serves to complement the meal.
A la Carte
Alexander Borg – Retired police chief who, like Woolridge, questions the preparation of the meal.
Lin Niu – Wealthy medical examiner who has more and knows more than she should.
Today’s Featured Dish
Julia Karas, ‘America’s Darling of the Kitchen’.
Prepared accidental, suicidal, or murderously.
*Please Note* This dish is served cold and at the water’s edge.
Hannah Starvling, in preparation of traveling to an epic event with two of her best friends, began online research pertaining to news coverage about the year-old death of a famous chef. Cold cases were her forte, netting her an invitation to look into the matter by a close friend. The news was scant, to say the least, on a famous woman who died by accident. The case ended a little too quickly, so it seems. Hannah knew that famous people die every day and there are always the conspiracy theorists who want to dramatize events. She settled at her computer to gain perspective through the media news on the case.
Now, here is an interesting bit, she thought ...
One Year Prior
Peter Grimes surveyed the property of the Karas estate. He worked long and hard to maintain the enormous area, and it showed. The lawn was lush and green. Trimmed shrubs and sculpted hedges defined the area. Everywhere the fifty-six-year-old looked, there were pink flowers from a variety of plants filled beds and designated areas. His broad smile, rigid stance, and curled fists placed on his hips displayed a hardworking, fulfilled man. “This should do her proud,” he said.
The ‘she’ to whom he referred was Julia Karas, one of his two employers. She was a famous chef, and there was no one in the world Grimes admired more. He found her beautiful, kind, charitable, and charming. She was the one person he never wanted to disappoint. Thus, he had much to do before the tours that came with the annual Ball for Bellies charity event.
Grimes’ other employer was her husband, Asa. While admiring his work, on more than one occasion, Asa had said to him, “I didn’t understand at first. But this is what Julia always saw in you.”
Grimes could not agree more. Still, while Grimes liked his employer, he found Asa to be cold, distant, and controlling at times. He often wondered about the relationship Asa had with Julia Karas. “I’ll never see it,” he would tell himself before carrying on with his work.
Putting the wheelbarrow down before a small area around a large old oak, Grimes saw Asa Karas approaching. He was in formal business attire, even at this early hour. He moved in the groundskeeper’s direction. His walk had an urgency about it, which Grimes took to mean something was upsetting the man.
“Peter,” Asa called out.
“Sir. Good morning to ya.”
“Good morning. You haven’t by any chance seen Ms. Karas, have you?”
Peter noticed the anxiety in the man’s voice.
“No, sir. I do know that, upon occasion, she has taken to walk early mornings. She usually heads out toward the greenery. I can take a look there, if you like.”
Asa gave a quick glance over the area. “No. No. That won’t be necessary. I’m sure she’s out and about. Taking a walk, as you said.” He frowned, and added in a stern voice, “If you do happen to run across her, call me immediately.”
“I’ll do just that, sir.”
With that, Asa headed back toward the front of the house.
Finishing his work on the bed, Grimes made his way back to the grounds shed behind the garage. After rinsing the shovel and wheelbarrow and stowing them away, he picked up a trash bag and ‘stabbie’, as he referred to the item. It was a long rod with a sharp spike for picking up trash. The day guard had told him that there was a party on the property next door the night before. In the past, this always meant that the next morning would bring debris. Empty bottles, papers and all sorts of other items would float ashore. He sighed, as it was the one job he hated of all on the estate. It reminded him of his past, with each bottle tossed in the bag. “Quit your complaining,” he told himself. “Just get out there and do your work.”
Grimes was about halfway down the shoreline when he looked out next to the gazebo at the water’s edge. There was something floating in the water. Something large, and pink. At first, he thought it might be a lounge chair. Or perhaps a tent top. He made his way over closer to see. His eyes widened. His mouth fell open. Tossing the bag and stabbie to the ground, he jumped into the cold water, yelling at the top of his lungs for help. He had found Julia Karas.
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