Table of Contents
“A saucy Southern mystery!”
—Krista Davis, national bestselling author of
The Diva Runs Out of Thyme
Murder in Memphis
Lulu felt queasy. She was not a fan of scenes and there had been far too many over the past twenty-four hours.
Tony thumped his fist on the door. “Rebecca!” he bellowed. “Rebecca! I want to talk to you.”
Tony tried the door, but of course it was locked. He thumped loudly on her door again.
“You don’t think,” asked Lulu, “she killed herself, do you?”
“With poison? No way. If she’d planned it, she’d want to be found tucked in her bed, looking like Sleeping Beauty. Besides, being banned from Aunt Pat’s wouldn’t have made her suicidal, you know.”
“When you put it that way, it does sound a little silly.”
Ten minutes later Tony was back with the manager and one of the hotel’s security men. The manager inserted a master key and opened the door a crack. “Miss Adrian?” He waited, listening hard, but hearing no response. He pushed the door open farther. “Miss Adrian?”
He stepped into the room, then backed up a step. The security man pushed them back into the hall, but Lulu was able to see a sprawled figure on the floor of the room. Rebecca Adrian—quite obviously dead.
“Don’t let that folksy facade fool you. Lulu Taylor is one intrepid amateur sleuth.”
New York Times
bestselling author of
Eggs Benedict Arnold
“Lulu Taylor serves up the best barbeque in Memphis. Never been to her restaurant, Aunt Pat’s? Well then . . . follow Lulu as she tracks down a killer with the help of her wacky friends and family. You’ll feel transported to Beale Street.”
—Julie Hyzy, author of
“Riley Adams’s first book,
Delicious and Suspicious
, adds a dash of Southern humor to a sauté of murder and mayhem that is as good as cold banana pudding on a hot summer day.”
—Joyce Lavene, coauthor of
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.
DELICIOUS AND SUSPICIOUS
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / July 2010
Copyright © 2010 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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eISBN : 978-1-101-18862-0
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
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For my family, with love.
Special thanks to Ann and John Haire for their warm hospitality, helpful information, and for so generously introducing me to their hometown of Memphis.
My appreciation and thanks to my editor, Emily Beth Rapoport, for her enthusiasm and hard work.
My sincere thanks to my agent, Ellen Pepus, for her thoughtful professional advice.
Thanks to Tom and Dottie Craig for all their help during my visit to Memphis.
To Henry and Beth Spann for being careful first readers.
Thanks to Mary and Jed Peterson and Douglas and Jennings Boone for all their support.
Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration from the online community of writers.
And last but not least, to my husband, Coleman, and children Riley and Elizabeth Ruth for their constant encouragement and love.
Memphis, Tennessee, is a little bit of heaven in the springtime. The azalea bushes burst with blooms, magnolias perfume the air, and daffodils nod sassily in the breeze. Children scamper right down the middle of the street, with their scolding mamas hustling after them. Folks pull leashes from the closet and take Buddy and Princess for a little stroll.
The barbeque business goes into full swing. It’s never out of season, mind you. But in the springtime, it’s God’s gift. Order your barbeque to go and eat it in W.C. Handy Park on Beale Street. Listen to some live blues music, realize how good you have it to be in Memphis in the spring, and hand out a couple dollars to the street musicians who are serenading you.
And right there on Beale Street, you can find the reigning queen of the barbequing art, Lulu Taylor. She’s not back in the kitchen anymore, of course. You’ll find her holding court in the dining room, cutting up with some customers, and buttering up others.
“Get a load of this,” breathed Ben to his wife Sara. He steered her to the heavy wooden door of the back-room office of Aunt Pat’s. Sara peeped around the door. “Mother’s really flipped her wig this time.”
Ben’s mother, Lulu, perched behind the desk and beamed out at empty space like it was her dearest friend. She brandished, oddly enough for the office, a pair of tongs.
“Friends,” she said earnestly. “Great barbeque is made with great tools. Your tongs and spatula need to be nice and long so you won’t burn yourself.” She sadly shook her head at the empty air again, “I’d hate for my friends to burn themselves.” At that moment, the entire effect was destroyed when the hairpin she’d carefully stuck in the hair piled up on top of her head fell out. Her white hair cascaded down. “Shoot!”
Sara walked in the office. A slow smile spread over her good-natured, freckled face. “Having a wardrobe malfunction, Lulu? And by the way . . . what exactly are you doing?”
“I’m practicing for my new Food Network show, naturally. This qualifies as more of a coiffure malfunction, I think.” She wound the hair up onto the top of her head again. “I’m going to have to figure out something to do with this hair of mine. Got to be ready for my close-up, you know.”
Ben fingered his mustache as he absorbed the notion of a close-up. The mustache was a recent addition to his features—a new hairstyle to make the most of his few remaining follicles. Unfortunately, the styling necessary to give the illusion of hair on top of his head resulted in a helmetlike effect. Ben had fancied that the mustache might make him look like Tom Selleck. He had sadly come to terms with the reality of looking a lot more like Captain Kangaroo.
Ben said, “But, Mama, this
Food Network coming. Don’t you remember? It’s that
cable food channel.”
Lulu said, “Shoot! I keep forgetting. The Cooking Channel is the name of it, that’s right. Ben, we have to be
. We’ve got to act like the Cooking Channel is the only cable station out there! ’Cause you know they feel bad having to compete against Food Network . . . they’ve only been around for a little over a year now, and they’re small potatoes next to them.”