Published by Maze/Harper Collins
Ebook: 24 July 2017
I took part in the recent cover reveal for A Taste of Death and am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour. I had ordered this one as it really does appeal but as it was only published yesterday, I haven’t had time to read. For my turn on the tour, I have an extract to hopefully whet your appetite!
I heard about the first murder while I was making meringues.
Meringues, so simple, yet so fiddly. They are like a metaphor for leading a good life. On the face of it so easy, yet the potential for disaster is huge. So, there I was in the kitchen, the gigantic Hobart mixer was running, fitted with a balloon whisk attach¬ment. I had separated five egg whites and put them in the large stainless steel mixing bowl with a hundred and sixty grams of icing sugar. Sugar gives a meringue both body and weight. Body and weight. Always crucial, for both people and solidified foam dishes.
There was a pounding on the kitchen door. As insistent as the noise of the mixer, but not as comforting. It wasn’t a polite announcement of someone’s presence, it was an angry statement of intent. I slowed the mixer down, and it quietened itself from a deafening rattle to a comforting whir, then I went to open the door. I think I knew who it was before I even touched the handle.
‘Do come in, DI Slattery,’ I said politely.
The inspector entered with his usual air of haughty disdain. In the short time, only about a week, that I had known him, I had learned that the DI had what is charitably known as a forceful personality. It was typical Slattery that, instead of politely ringing or knocking on the front door, he had let himself into the kitchen yard and used the kitchen one, off limits to the public. But that’s Slattery for you, given to making statements as well as taking them down. His cold, angry eyes were aggressively trying to find any excuse to arrest me, or at least that’s the impression he gave. I could be wrong. It was certainly the look that he usually wore. Maybe deep down Slattery warmly empathised with me. Somehow I doubted it.
‘Busy, Ben?’ his tone sarcastic.
I shrugged. ‘As you see.’ I turned up the machine, watching the white mixture whirl around until stiff peaks formed. If you overbeat meringues they can weep syrup, creating an unpleasant, sticky soggy mess. In short, a disaster.
No one likes a mess.
I turned the machine off and moved the bowl to a work-surface.
DI Slattery looked at me.
‘Have you been out this morning?’ he asked. I considered the question as I sifted icing sugar and some cornflour into the mix. I think I knew that he wasn’t checking on how my running regime was going.
‘Did you know that undissolved sugar can lead to grittiness and weeping in a meringue?’ was my reply. I started folding the white powder into the very white egg mix. It’s why I was using icing sugar, rather than caster.
He gave me the kind of look which made me thankful for modern policing. Slattery, six feet two and although carrying a fair bit of surplus flesh, was a powerfully built man. Now in his forties and with nearly three decades in the force, he could doubt¬less remember more robust CID interrogation methods than polite conversation.
I had the feeling nothing would have pleased him more than a return to the good old days of police questioning.
‘In answer to your earlier question, no I haven’t,’ I said. ‘Why?’
‘Because,’ he said, ‘Dave Whitfield’s dead.’
| About the Book |
Midsomer Murders meets The Great British Bake-Off in this foodie delight with murder at its heart.
The first murder happened while I was making meringues…
When Ben Hunter moves to become head chef at the Old Forge Café in the quiet village of Hampden Green, a tricky recipe for egg-based desserts isn’t the only thing he gets embroiled in. As he struggles with a whisk in his first week, he gets an unexpected visit from DI Slattery – there’s been a murder and he’s a suspect.
Ben resolves to get to the bottom of the mystery, and he soon discovers that this sleepy Chilterns village is covering up a whole lot more than an appetite for sweet treats…