HARD EVIDENCE by Barbara D’Amato


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Spenser and Angelotti’s is the sort of place you go for the best coffee in Chicago, or for the selection of 104 different cheeses. And now it’s the place, as Dr. Sam Davidian, freelance reporter Cat Marsala’s favorite trauma surgeon, realizes, where the soup bones, at least on the right day, are human. Miraculously, the mayor and public health department agree to a noncomittal recall of contaminated meat that will contain the scandal while they look for clues to a murder and while Bruno Angelotti hires Cat to go undercover as a catering consultant to discreetly question the staff. Even after the police establish the identity of the donor—it’s Serge Gretzka, the catering manager who won’t be answering the phone in his Florida vacation retreat—there’s precious little evidence against his missing wife Sophie or her alleged lover, head baker Nicholas Lane. Instead, D—Amato serves up a series of harassing but non-lethal attacks on Cat (her windshield is smashed, she’s shot at and dosed with ipecac) alternating with picketing by concerned vegetarians and mouthwatering catered meals at a Lake Shore apartment and a funeral parlor. D’Amato, on holiday from the intensity of Hard Bargain (1997), ebulliently folds all these incongruous ingredients together with a clever solution to whip up the driest and wittiest food mystery of the season. A final bonus is a pair of recipes for butter cookies and osso buco—just in case you’re still in the mood.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-83354-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1999


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