USA Today best-selling author
An attractive sous chef at the famous restaurant L'Elfe Is murdered and half of the employees are suspect. The lack of police progress toward solving the murder leads Chef Jean Bouvier to seek a quicker solution. He hires private eyes James Lessor and Skip Moore to go undercover and discreetly investigate his restaurant staff. But their Investigation turns up far more than they bargained for. Skip's charming girlfriend, Emily, confesses that the murder victim and she had been close friends at one point in their lives and had shared a very dark secret. But Emily refuses to elaborate, building a wall of defense between herself and the two young detectives. The more James and Skip investigate the background of the victim and the people she knew, the more they are convinced that this shared secret has far-reaching implications that may lead to the motive for the murder. The closer they get to the answer, the more desperate someone is to stop them.
Bruns s lukewarm sixth semicomic Stuff mystery (after 2011 s Too Much Stuff) finds inexperienced and immature Miami PIs James Lessor and Skip Moore of Moore or Less Investigations going undercover to solve the stabbing murder of sous chef Amanda Wright. Skip s girlfriend, Emily Minard, the victim s longtime friend, helps persuade chef Jean Bouvier of the posh restaurant L Elfe, Amanda s last job, to hire the two to eliminate his staff as suspects. James s culinary arts degree gives him credibility as Wright s replacement, and anyone, Skip learns, can be a dishwasher. Fragile egos and shady backgrounds, from absent dishwasher Juan Castro to owner Bouvier, provide suspects aplenty, but it s revelations about Amanda herself that prove most revealing. A rough introduction to Det. Ted Conway morphs into uneasy cooperation, but doesn t keep James from becoming a suspect before the bumbling amateurs discover the secret to a killer s cold dish. Bruns concocts a recipe for mystery too bland to inspire many return visits.