Categories
Books Diversity Reading Challenge

The Curse of the Bridal Chamber by @YeahHunter is My JAM!!

Yall, run to your local bookstore, online store, resident hoarder, or wherever you get books and get this book NOW. Go ‘head. I’ll wait.

bridal-chamber

There. Did’ja get it? Now, here’s what is so AWESOME about this book. Read a little blurb:

The indomitable senior sleuth Imogene and her outrageously endearing Alabama family find themselves in hot water while on a family vacation at a mermaid convention in sunny Florida. When Imogene and her brood, including Goose the bulldog, encounter a dead body floating in the freshwater springs beneath their glass-bottom boat, the local police immediately arrest one of the Alabama visitors for the crime.

Now the aging amateur crime solver must exonerate her own family, but unearthing a killer among the park’s past and present mermaids and employees promises to be no easy task, since so many of them are thrilled that the victim is sleeping with the fishes. And a decades-old curse that has deposited more than one dead body in the Bridal Chamber spring now seems focused on Imogene and her kin, who are wading into dangerous waters indeed. Witty and colorful, The Curse of the Bridal Chamber will keep you enthralled until the final surprising revelation.

So, Imogene is like 70 and her sister is older. But these two rascals don’t let their age get in the way. When I get to be that age I want to be as bad ass as them! These old broads have southern spunk, charm, and family pride that will make you cry from laughing so hard.  The best bit about this book is that two of the characters are gay, but it’s not the driving motivation of the story. They just happen to be that way. It doesn’t detract from the story and it’s in no way in appropriate. It’s good, clean, fun! Heck, even the cursing is cleaner than I’ve seen in recent YA books, although this isn’t targeted to YA.  Mild violence, but again, seen worse from middle grade books.

Imogene, and I believe the correct Southern pronunciation is I as in eye, mo- geen, will be your next favorite read. It’s perfect for EVERYONE!

Totally calling myself Maw Maw when I’m an older person. Heck I think I’d like to be called it now.  Total Diversity Reading Challenge material.

Did I mention MERMAIDS??

 

Categories
Books Lists resources

An Unconventional Librarian Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are just around the corner (eek!) and now’s the time to start thinking about gifts for the bibliophile on your list.  I’m compiling my list and I’m checking it twice, making sure Santa knows what book goes to which lucky reader.
An Unconventional Librarian Holiday Gift Guide
I am now curating books in the following categories:
Cookbooks make great gifts: aka cookbooks for the terrible cook (COOKBOOKS)
Books Dad wants but doesn’t know it (HISTORY, BIOGRAPHY, ROCK AND ROLL)
Books that will keep the little ones busy on Christmas morning and out of Mom’s hair (MIDDLE GRADE AND PICTURE BOOKS)
Books Mom will curl up under the blanket and enjoy: aka Mommy’s Day off! (CHICK LIT, MYSTERY, POP FICTION)
Book related items: bookmarks, book themed clothes, jewelry, etc.
Want your title in this list? Email me at [email protected] SUBJECT: 2015 Holiday gift Guide
Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books

Imogene in New Orleans by @YeahHunter


IT’S IMOGENE DAY!

Imogene in New Orleans by @YeahHunter

Because words aren’t enough, here’s my video review:

Remember, while this isn’t necessarily for teens, there’s nothing raunchy that an older teen couldn’t enjoy. But mostly this is for grown folks. Totally fits the Diversity Reading Challenge.

Also? Stay tuned for an interview with the author!

Categories
Books

Bookburners is My New Favorite

Have you ever been in a situation in which you’re dying for a good read, like a psychological thriller or something, but you donBookburners‘t have the time or mental energy for a 400 page tome?

That’s where Serial Box comes in. They are offering serial books! Kinda like penny novels of the twenties, you can get short installations of great stories in a length that’s just right for you.

I devoured the first installment of Bookburners which is a fast paced tale of a female police officer whose mysterious younger brother is somehow connected to weird people through eccentric magical books.  If I am reading adult fiction I love fast paced action; I love to be breathless from page one.

Bookburners delivers!

These are the perfect serials for summer reading fun on the beach.

I can’t wait to follow up and see how my gal Sal is doing.

 

Categories
Books Children

#AnniMoon & The Elemental Artifact; A Guest Post by @Melanie_Abed @JKSLitPublicity

So I have this friend and I begged her to write a guest post for me. Reluctantly, she relented. I wanted her to tell me about her new book, Anni Moon & The Elemental Artifact.  Here she is:

Anni MoonAnni Moon & The Elemental Artifact is a modern day fantasy, action-adventure, with a dash of mystery, for readers aged 10 to 100, but more importantly, it’s a story about friendship, and two girls who will do whatever it takes to save the other.

In the creation of this story, I intentionally built a world with lots of ethnically diverse characters, defined by their personalities and choices, in hopes that children everywhere might feel represented. I, myself, grew up in a culturally diverse environment, that plus being from a large city I was always surrounded by multicultural ethnicities, so it was important to me that the characters in my story represent that, and celebrate this kind of diversity.

I started working on the world of Anni Moon well over ten years ago. The idea for Anni herself had been floating around in my head long before I started writing about her. As a child, I was always searching for a story about a tough, spunky girl who was brave in the face of danger, and adventure, very much like a female Indiana Jones, or a girl who saves the prince rather than the other way around. Yet, as a writer I’ve learned that it can be a challenge if the development of the character is too rigid and, I’ve found that in the writing, Anni has surprised me a lot. For example, Anni is very stubborn, probably more so than I had initially planned on, which has been useful in creating some humorous situations. The reader will find Anni dealing with all kinds of adversity, again, and again, and again, which was largely inspired long ago by editor Cheryl Klein’s workshop, The Essentials of Plot, which I basically used as a bible as I crafted the structure of my story, ad nauseam, to be sure I did it correctly.

Developing the Elemental world, I had my heart set on creating a truly unique one. Although I researched all kinds of different MelanieElemental lore, I favored elements (no pun intended) of the Asian legends most, and found myself blending that with some Western folklore in order to create something truly distinct. For example, from the traditional Asian element Wood was born the Elemental travel sector, where Elementals utilize TreeTransport as their favored way to travel the globe in the bustling transportation center of LimBough. Throughout the story, I focused on the larger picture of the Elemental world showing: how Elementals lived and worked in their community, and how they deal with the dreaded Funk; how they existed alongside the human population – or in the case of the Wood Realms, not at all; how the Fectus used humans and infiltrated their world; how the Elofficial government’s rules regarding Funk and travel inhibits younger Elementals from traveling to human realms without proper DeFunkification; and, ultimately, what it would be like to throw a human into their world completely unaware of their existence.

The most challenging aspect of writing has been balancing what the reader needs to know, especially while introducing a huge new world, and striving to create an engaging plot that pushes the story forward. Even though this is the first in a planned series of six books, the reader can walk away feeling satisfied with the end. However, in future books, there is much to learn and explore in this world, especially for readers who love to speculate about different characters and plot lines, this is the kind of book they can look forward to digging into.

Fectus, what?

There are a few points I can agree with:

  • need a spunky girl character
  • i love digging into a new world; but it has to be engaging

This book kind of reminds me of Harriet the Spy, no? I’m not an Indiana Jones fan, though. Too masculine and full of himself. I sure appreciate Melanie dropping by to chat with us, don’t you?

 

AnniMoonVBT

 

 

 

 

Categories
Adult Fiction Books

Solomon’s Whisper by @Sandra Brannan #LivBergen @SamiJoLien

I don’t read many thrillers, but I always look forward to anything Sandra Brannan writes!  Her latest title, Solomon’s Whisper, is just as good as her other books.  Here’s a bit about the book:

As Liv Bergen investigates the long-ago murder of her niece, she uncovers a well-guarded secret—and stumbles into one the most prolific killer she’s faced yet.Solomon's Whisper

Once an amateur sleuth, Liv “Boots” Bergen has now found her footing as an official FBI agent. It should be Liv’s dream career—she’s working closely with a bureau legend, Agent Streeter Pierce, as well as the exotic Agent Jack Linwood, with whom she shares a growing romance. Liv has proven to be an adept agent, and the whole office has been moved to a brand new, state-of-the-art facility in central Denver.

And yet, doubt plagues her. Liv is tormented by the knowledge that her work with the FBI could endanger her extended family—and has almost resolved to leave the bureau as a result. Agent Streeter Pierce, who harbors an affection for Liv that sometimes transcends the professional, comes up with an unorthodox plan to keep her around: she can investigate a cold case that’s especially important to her, the kidnapping and murder of her ten-year-old niece, Brianna.

Liv jumps at the chance, but her focus on finding Brianna’s killer is soon diluted. Piece by piece, the case reveals itself to be just one point in a harrowing series of murders. Spanning decades and the country, the web of crime Liv uncovers causes her to question everything—including the integrity of her own colleagues. (SandraBrannan.com)

 

So. I love Brannan’s books because just when I think I’ve figured it out, Brannan shows me that I am completely and utterly stupid. Not only have I not figured it out,  there’s this side complication that I didn’t even consider!

Much love for female agents and girl power and all that. Bergen’s character is tough but also not afraid to show an affectionate side for her dog, her family, and maybe her boyfriend.

And who doesn’t love the name Streeter Pierce?

Brannan, not only do I need a beta copy of your next book, I need a Streeter Pierce PREQUEL.

Can you get on that?

Thanks!

Proud to be part of the JKS Blog Tour.

SolomonVBT2


Categories
So This is Paris

So This is Paris: a book review of The Paris Lawyer by Sylvie Granotier

From my literary vacation to Paris, here’s my book review.

Categories
So This is Paris

So This is Paris: Treachery in Bordeaux

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Here we are with more of the winemaker’s mystery! This is the series that starts it all.  Here’s an excerpt:

The drive was short between Saint-Julien-Beychevelle, where Grangebelle was nestled, and the pier in the small port town of Lamarque. Benjamin drove the nine miles slowly to savor the crisp morning air and make the most of the always-comic show his quivering dog put on, his impertinent snout up to take in the view. The car was quickly loaded on the Médocain, a modern functional ferry stripped of all poetry. Benjamin felt nostalgia for the old captain, Commander Lemonnier, who skillfully piloted a straight-from- the-past boat called Les Deux Rives, an ancient pot-bellied tub whose curves became graceful when, in the hands of a real sailor, they caressed the sea foam. Lemonnier, a former Cape Horner and a formidable master mariner, had started piloting this fresh-water crossing between inland Médoc and the Blaye citadel when he was well beyond seventy. He was capable of steering his boat through fog and dark nights without using any sophisticated navigational instruments. All he needed was a compass, a chronometer, and a tide schedule to avoid the mud banks and skirt the treacherous islands of Île Verte and Fort Pâté, with its headlands. It took him barely twenty minutes to reach the other bank, and it was a pleasure to watch him in the wheelhouse, examining his little black Moleskine notebook, wherehe had noted maneuvering speeds and course durations, giving orders with a authoritative voice, and landing at the pier without even lifting his eyes from his chronometer’s silver box.

The other side was a foreign land, a place that you could reach with a cannon ball, if not with the lob of a slingshot. Like the kids from the Médoc, young Benjamin had dreamed of bloody attacks, galleys in distress, pirate raids, toothless buccaneers, and wild mutinies when he had spent summers here. And after a stormy night, when the current carried knotty peat, empty containers, and puffed-up plastic bags, he could still imagine combats and skinned corpses, their bellies filled with saltwater.

As soon as Benjamin landed on the right bank of the Gironde, he had the same feeling of adventure that had captivated him when his grandfather Eugène had taken him to visit Blaye. He parked the convertible in a downtown lot and headed toward the citadel. Bacchus barked and had already gone through the king’s gate when Benjamin started over the bridge leading to the ramparts.

Their walk continued for two full hours. Dog and master explored the fortress at great length: the Minimes Convent, the barracks, the prison and the powder magazine, the Dauphine counterscarp, the Liverneuf gate, the central pavilion, and the fortified flanks. Benjamin perchedon the Cônes stronghold, pausing for a long time to watch the estuary’s slow-moving muddy water. He stared at a swirling eddy in the distance, then set his gaze on a sailboat before eyeing some lone branches washing against the foot of the cliff.

Afterward, he climbed the Eguilette tower and took out his spiral notebook. He unscrewed the top of his fountain pen and jotted down some notes in his precise, swirled writing:

Vauban, a man from Dijon (develop this idea)… the two visits from the King (check the dates)… Fort-Médoc kids… fishing for freshwater river shrimp… plaice fillets, court-bouillon (recipe with fennel)… Roland de Roncevaux (be concise)… do not forget Ferri, layout of Fort Pâté… arms factory, troop housing… the water is yellow, brown even, flowerbeds of the houses on the right… shops without giving any details, clock above the bridge, stone watchtower.

He crossed out “stone” and replaced it with “suspended.”

It was nearly noon when he turned back toward the middle of town. Bacchus was thirsty and was beginning to show signs of fatigue. Benjamin walked over to a cast-iron fountain and knelt beside the running water, cupping his hands to catch it for his dog to drink. They had enough time before the next ferry to visit an antique shop downtown.

Thanks for traveling to France with me and Le French Book!

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Categories
Adult Fiction So This is Paris

So This is Paris: Nightmare in Burgundy

Welcome! If you’re new here I’ve been featuring French books in honor of my daughter’s trip to Europe. You’re just in time to hear about Nightmare in Burgundy, part of the Winemaker Detective series.

His head nightmare_cover_480_300was spinning. For three hours now, he had been sitting at the table between the wife of the ambassador to the Netherlands and a film star whose name he dared not ask for fear of offending her. He vaguely remembered having seen her in a period piece where she played the harpsichord in a château full of mirrors and china. He had to lean in a bit to exchange a few words with the guests across from him. Bunches of red and yellow tulips cluttered the tables. People smiled at each other between the stems.

The dinner was sumptuous, as elegant as it was generous. You could read the satisfaction on the faces of the guests. As the feast continued, attitudes relaxed, looks of collusion replaced polite nods, and witty remarks cut the air with great panache. After savoring a duck pâté accompanied by a Bourgogne Aligoté des Hautes Côtes, perch supreme served with a chilled and fragrant Meursault, and crown loin of veal sprinkled with green peppercorns, along with a 1979 Côte de Beaune Villages, the guests thought the meal was finished. But this was underestimating the hos- pitality of the venerable knights of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. A cockerel and morel fricassee seasoned with Chambolle-Musigny added to the feast, and no one had trouble finishing it. Meanwhile, the Cadets of Bourgogne, decked out in black caps and wine-merchant aprons, had accompanied the arrival of each dish with a great many wine songs, comical tales, and jovial melodies. Beaming, with sparkling eyes and gleaming whiskers, they bellowed verse after verse at the top of their lungs.

Always drinkers, never drunk,

They go along their way

And thumb their nose at fools who grump.

Always drinkers, never drunk,

They happily proclaim

Their credo without shame.

Always drinkers, never drunk,

They go along their way!

The cheese course was announced. Platters arrived filled with creamy Epoisses washed in marc brandy and aged on rye straw, a soft farmhouse Soumaintrain cheese, mild Saint-Florentin that gave off the scent of raw milk, lightly salted and creamy Chaources, and supple La-Pierre-qui-Vire. Accompanying them were small rounds of goat’s milk cheese, including an especially full-bodied tomme du Poiset. To top it off and honor this Chapter of the Tulips, the hosts had elegantly slipped in some soft Dutch cheese with amber and orange hues. Benjamin Cooker pre-pared a nice plate for himself, enhancing it with a 1972 Latricières-Chambertin that sensuously tickled his taste buds.

Here come the Cadets of Burgundy,

Sowers of life and of sun;

Lovers of water are mad.

Here come the Cadets of Burgundy,

A bottle in each hand!

Open the door to some fun

Here come the Cadets of Burgundy,

Sowers of life and of sun!

 

The chamberlain stepped to the podium. The association’s slogan—Never whine! Always wine—was inscribed above it in gothic letters.

He tapped the microphone, waited for the brouhaha to subside, and greeted the assembly. He congratulated the chef for the excellent dinner and declared the meeting of the Chapter of Tulips open. Then, in a solemn voice, he briefly praised Benjamin Cooker, introducing him as the most recognized wine specialist in France and one of the most sought-after winemakers in the world. He spoke of the Cooker Guide, whose publication all vintners dreaded, and emphasized that the most recent edition had excellent evaluations of certain Vougeots. Finally, he invited the inductee to join him on the stage, next to the members of the association whose gold and red vestments shimmered in the spotlight.

There was a ripple of applause. Leaning on the edge of the table, Cooker rose slowly. He emptied his glass of water, discreetly loosened his bowtie, tugged down the jacket of his tuxedo, and made his way between the tables. He felt the weight of all the eyes turned toward him and slowed his pace a bit for fear of getting tangled in the train of an evening gown or tripping on a chair as he made his way to the dais. He was welcomed with a quotation recited with good-natured pomposity. The crudeness of its kitchen Latin made all the guests laugh.

Totus mundus trinquat cum illustro pinot Imbecili soli drink only water!

So, Brother Cellarer, fill our cup Because, as the saying goes: in vino veritas

Cooker was handed a chalice. He emptied it and proceeded to the dubbing, which fell somewhere between schoolboy farce and ritual solemnity. He swore fidelity to the wines of France and Burgundy and then bowed his head while the grand master of the order tapped his shoulder with a vine shoot.

By Noah, father of the vineBy Bacchus, god of wine

By Saint Vincent, patron of vintners

We dub you Knight of the Tastevin!

Cooker was then invited to take the microphone. He looked over the assembly, and a silence as thick as a wine coulis filled the room. One last clearing of the throat, and his voice resounded under the enormous girders of the wine warehouse.

“Grand Chamberlain of the Order of the Knights of Tastevin, Grand Constable and all of you, knights of the brotherhood, ladies and gentlemen, good evening!”

 

Wow. That’s some kind of party, non? Here’s the wine route in Burgundy.

Burgundy

 

The wine tasting room.

wine-tasting-valdeloire

Everyone has one of those, right?

Until tomorrow.

Eiffel Tower Unconventional Librarian

 

 

 

Categories
Books So This is Paris

So This is Paris: Deadly Tasting Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen

What fun I have for you today!

We get to experience another new title from Le French book. This title, Deadly Tasting750x1200, isn’t due to be released in print until October; but look at you: you get a sneak preview now!

Let’s take a look:

Drinking unsweetened Darjeeling tea was not a problem. Resisting the three crispy little biscuits taunting him from the white porcelain dish was another thing. The evening before, his wife had told him the time had come to shed the extra pounds that were making his shirts gape between the buttons. Benjamin Cooker had, indeed, filled out a bit over the past few months. He preferred to think that his heavy neck and chin, full cheeks, prominent belly, and belt hooked in the first notch gave him the look of a bon vivant, a well-off and satisfied man in his fifties.

Elisabeth Cooker, however, did not agree. The extra weight wasn’t good for his looks or his health, so she had taken matters into her own hands. She had gotten hold of a cabbage soup diet purportedly prescribed by the cardiology department of a large urban hospital for obese patients who needed to lose weight before surgery. Elizabeth had cut a large head of cabbage, four slivers of garlic, six large onions, a dozen peeled tomatoes,six carrots, two green peppers, one stalk of celery, and plunged them into three quarts of water with three cubes of fat-free chicken broth. The mixture, seasoned with salt, pepper, curry powder, and parsley, had been boiled for ten minutes and then simmered until all the vegetables were tender. Benjamin was supposed to eat this soup whenever he was hungry over the course of seven days. It was not meant to be the only source of nourishment, and to avoid nutritional deficiencies, he would be allowed fruits, additional vegetables, rice, milk, or a piece of red meat, depending on the day.

The first day promised to be especially grueling. Other than the soup, fruit was all that Benjamin was permitted. And that was limited. He couldn’t have any bananas. Benjamin surmised they were too tasty for this Spartan regimen. For drinks he could only have unsweetened tea, natural fruit juice, and water. The wine expert had initially rebelled, citing his professional obligations, upcoming wine tastings, and business lunches. Elisabeth had responded by giving one of his love handles an affectionate pinch. Surrendering, he had leaned over her and planted a grumpy kiss in the hollow of her neck.

There were only a few patrons on the terrace of the Café Régent in downtown Bordeaux, and the damp morning foreshadowed the first chill of fall. Benjamin drank his scalding-hot tea,reached for the small white dish without looking at the perfectly golden crust on the biscuits, and offered it to the person at the next table: an elderly lady with hair pulled back in a bun who was attentively reading the last pages of the local daily newspaper, the Sud-Ouest, which contained the weather forecast and the horoscopes. She thanked him and gobbled the pastries in three quick bites. He stood, nodded good-bye, and resolutely took off toward the Allées de Tourny.

He was about to climb the large staircase to his office when a digital toccata rang out from the cell phone deep inside the pocket of his Loden. He dug the device out, pressed the answer button, and Inspector Barbaroux’s gravelly voice assaulted his eardrum. Getting straight to the point without so much as a greeting, the police inspector asked Benjamin to come immediately to 8B Rue Maucoudinat. The detective had a clipped, authoritative tone, perhaps to give away as little information as possible. Irritated, Benjamin made a quick about-face and headed for the Saint Pierre neighborhood. He was not in the habit of complying so swiftly, and he was almost angry with himself for doing what the captain wanted without getting any explanation.

Arriving at the Place Camille Jullian, Benjamin spotted two police cars blocking the narrow street, their doors wide open and lights flashing. An ambulance was parked nearby. The street hadalso been cordoned off. A uniformed officer recognized Benjamin from afar and unhooked the crime-scene tape to let him pass. He explained that the captain was waiting for him on the third floor of the small building at the corner of the Rue des Trois Chandeliers. Other police officers were holding back a crowd of onlookers, many of whom were standing on their toes to catch a glimpse of whatever was happening behind the flowerpots on the balcony. Benjamin rushed up the two flights of wooden stairs without so much as holding onto the railing and made his way down the hall where two plainclothes detectives were talking with a woman in a white coat. They all turned and looked him up and down without a word.

“Hello,” Benjamin panted. “I believe the inspector is expecting me.”

“I don’t know if he can be disturbed,” said one of the men. “Access to the area is prohibited.”

“This way, Mr. Cooker,” Barbaroux bellowed from inside the apartment.

In the hallway, an empty gurney sat next to an umbrella stand, which was also empty. The wallpaper, with tedious rows of droopy floral bouquets, oozed a musty odor. Faded prints of religious scenes, shepherds on the heath, and dove hunters added little charm to the stuffy dark tunnel that opened onto a cramped living room furnished in birch veneer.

“Sorry to trouble you, but I needed to see you right away,” the inspector said, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his trousers. “Thanks for coming so quickly.”

“What happened?” Benjamin asked, overlooking the fact that Barbaroux hadn’t bothered to shake his hand. “It must be serious if you’ve blocked the road off.”

“Everyone says you’re the most brilliant wine expert of your generation,” Barbaroux said.

“Some even claim that you’re one of the best in the world. Is that true?”

“You didn’t bring me here to shower me with compliments, I hope.”

“Don’t think I’m being sarcastic, Mr. Cooker. That’s not my style. But it happens that I need your expertise right now.”

The woman in the white coat came into the room. Her hand was raised, and she appeared to be asking permission to cut the conversation short. Two morgue attendants wearing serious expressions were standing behind her.

“My team has finished, Chief. Can we remove the body now?”

“You haven’t forgotten anything?” Barbaroux growled.

“Everything’s ready to go. We have what we need.”

“What about those samples we rushed to the lab?”

“They should be getting back to you any minute.”

“In that case, get him out of here!”The men pushed a gurney through a doorthat Benjamin had not noticed before, leaving it open as they attempted to lift the half-naked and bloody body. It took several tries, and at one point they almost dropped the corpse. The wine expert averted his eyes and made a sign of the cross.

“Jules-Ernest Grémillon, ninety-three years old,” said Barbaroux. “Not a bad age to die.”

“Are you going to tell me what happened in this apartment or not?”

“Do you really want to know?” he asked, looking Cooker in the eye. “Well then, follow me.”

They went into the kitchen, which looked hardly bigger than a few square feet. The floor, laminate counter, and wall tiles were splattered with dark stains that looked nearly black, except where the dim ceiling light reflected ruby red spots. Cooker felt his stomach lurch, and he was grateful there wasn’t much in it. He frowned.

“Total carnage!” Barbaroux said. “The old man was butchered like a pig. What a mess! According to preliminary findings, the victim tried to defend himself before he was struck. Itlooks like the killer attacked quickly. Over there, the clean dishes on the drain board fell onto the dirty dishes in the sink. They’re all smashed. Andthere, the pans were knocked off the hooks. A box of macaroni is spilled all over the floor.”

Benjamin looked on without a word, trying to control the revulsion he felt in this ravaged, bloodstained kitchen, a repugnant cesspool where the most barbaric violence had mixed with the ordinary misery of everyday life.

“But the strangest thing, Mr. Cooker, is behind you,” the inspector said, touching the winemaker lightly on the shoulder. “Turn around. I want you to see this. Odd, isn’t it?”

On a small wooden table wedged behind the door, right beside the refrigerator, a dozen wine glasses were arranged in a semicircle. Only one, the glass on the extreme right, was full.

(cue scary music).

Wow. I’d better watch myself with my wine, right? See you next time!

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