Chicanery takes second place to cookery in Babson's latest--as we meet the owners and staff of the fledgling Executive Meal Service. At the top are Jean Ainsley, her brother Nick (an advertising exec made redundant), and Nick's foot-dragging yet capable wife Mona. And their apprentice staff includes: earnest, clumsy Gretel; rich debutante Sidonie; and poor debutante Lexie--whose Uncle Tristam, of Quardon International, has been the catering firm's best customer so far. But then, while Jean and her cohorts are preparing a boardroom luncheon for Quardon's merger talk with legendary financier Ongar Manganian, merger opponent Mark Avery is found electrocuted in his office. . . so the poached salmon never gets its garnish. Worse yet, Uncle Tristam himself is victim #2--succumbing at a charity ball catered by Jean & Co. An ingenious modus vivendi and goofily logical motives--but the mystery here is strictly incidental to the next round of vol-au-vent and sherried crabmeat: dandy one-sitting fun--with time out for raids on the refrigerator.