Cover image for Slice and dice
Slice and dice
Hart, Ellen.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
345 pages ; 18 cm.
General Note:
"Fawcett books."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

On Order



MURDER A LA CARTE If all goes according to plan, Connie Buckridge's culinary empire will soon boast a state-of-the-art cooking academy and restaurant in her home town of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Unfortunately, just when the kitchen queen and her bickering entourage hit town on a publicity tour, so does a bestselling investigative writer who is hot on her scandalous trail. Primed by an anonymous e-mail informer, Marie Damontraville is preparing to cook Connie's goose with a major expose of her strategies for success. The one missing ingredient in this unsavory stew is murder, and when food critic Sophie Greenway finds a cooking colleague stabbed with his own kitchen knife, a fire that has been smoldering for forty years suddenly bursts into flame. . . . SPECIAL AUTHOR INTERVIEW INSIDE

Author Notes

Mystery author Ellen Hart was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in August 1949. She received a B. A. in Theology from the Ambassador College in Pasadena, California. She writes the Jane Lawless and the Sophie Greenway series. Five of the Jane Lawless books have won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery. She has also won the Minnesota Book Award for Best Crime Fiction twice. She currently lives in Minneapolis with her life partner.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Constance Buckridge is an American success story, rising from humble beginnings to queen of the food and hospitality industry with restaurants, hotels and a very profitable cooking school. Her clan has gathered in Minneapolis to scout possible additions to the family empire. Sophie Greenway, restaurant critic and owner of the Maxfield Plaza Hotel and once in love with Constance's son, Nathan, is now happily married to handsome talk-show host Bram Baldric. They live at the hotel where the Buckridges are in residence, as is the much-feared Marie Damontraville, who is researching her next unauthorized biographyÄthis one about Constance, who has much to hide. Hart's (Murder in the Air) work has all the makings of a potboiler since Connie and company provide their own secret ingredients and Marie's e-mail informer feeds her deliciously ripe inside information. In a further twist, Sophie's father's friend, Harry Hongisto, owner of the once-renowned Belmont Hotel, has been savaged twice by restaurant critic George Gildemeister's bad reviews. The pace quickly bubbles from simmer to boil when Sophie drops in to consult George about the editorial position he's given up and she is about to take overÄand discovers his lifeless body oozing blood from several wounds. Not surprisingly, Harry is soon in custody. Could there be any connection with the single-minded Constance? While the complexity of Hart's novel is admirable, the overabundance of disparate ingredients add up to a story that feels... sliced and diced. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Sophie had hoped that after a couple of martinis and a plate of the Belmont's famous tiger shrimp on a bed of spicy couscous, Bram would be in a good enough mood for her to drop the bomb. She'd been preparing her speech all afternoon--ever since she'd talked to her son, Rudy. Rudy was currently biking and backpacking his way across Europe with his partner, John Jacoby. On the phone, they'd made an important decision, one she needed to tell Bram about right away. However, not only were the tiger shrimp no longer on the menu, but the usually prompt and friendly service at the restaurant was tonight a study in indifference. Any good mood the drinks might have engendered had been destroyed by the annoying boy-waiters buzzing about the dark, intimate dining room. Neither Sophie nor Bram had eaten at the Belmont since last fall. Almost all the old wait staff was gone, replaced by a more youthful crew, lads who seemed to think having fun was the essence of their job description. They clumped together at the wait stations, chuckling at little in-jokes, and occasionally, when the mood struck, wandered off toward one of the gilt-edged mirrors to check their look. They were exceedingly adept at pouring water, but that was about the extent of their skills. Initially, Sophie and Bram were so amazed by the staff's bustling inactivity that they hardly noticed that their waiter had hardly noticed them. Twenty minutes after their arrival, having received nothing more than two glasses of water and a couple of menus, Bram reached his limit. At first he tried some polite arm-waving, but when that was ignored, he stood, placed two fingers between his teeth, and gave a piercing whistle. Not only did that catch their waiter's attention, but every other eye in the place as well. Most of the other diners nodded their approval. Some even clapped. According to local restaurant scuttlebutt, the Belmont, an institution in downtown Minneapolis, was currently having problems. This was clear not only from the lax service but also from the wilted rose on the table, as well as the pile of dry toast and a slice of bland pétÈ the waiter brought them when he finally sauntered over to take their order. "What the hell's happened here?" muttered Bram as the young man strolled off toward the kitchen. Sophie just shook her head. Harry Hongisto, the owner of the Belmont since the early Fifties, was an old poker-playing buddy of her father's. They were both Finlanders from the Iron Range, both born and raised in Hibbing. During the past winter, Sophie had been sad to see a restaurant review in the Times Register trash the food at the Belmont. She couldn't believe the place had sunk that low, especially since she knew the bias of the reviewer, a man with whom she rarely agreed. And yet, perhaps in this one instance, the review had foundation. For the first time, Sophie felt as if she was sitting in the faded glory of what had once been a premier restaurant in the Twin Cities. That wasn't to say that Harry hadn't done his best in the last few months to stem the tide of decline. First, he'd hired David Polchow as the new head chef. Arriving with the highest of recommendations, David was a graduate of the New Orleans Cooking Institute and had studied under some of the best chefs in Europe. He'd worked at Sur la Mere in Boston before coming to Minnesota. His attempts to improve the food service at the Belmont, however, didn't seem to be working. Sophie couldn't understand how a chef of his caliber could have produced such an insipid pétÈ, though perhaps it was an off night. Or, more likely, the rest of the kitchen staff wasn't working at his level. He could do his best to educate and make demands, but he couldn't do all the work himself. Harry had also begun to modernize the interior, though interior decorating seemed to be the least of the restaurant's problems. It was true, of course, that the wine-colored leather booths, once the height of elegance, had begun to look a bit tired. So had the pool-table-green walls and the heavy-handed gold accents. In an earnest attempt at modernity, Harry had replaced the carpeting, a bold playing-card design of clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades, with a dreary putty color, all wrong for the more aggressive Las Vegas-style ambience. And plants, totally unnecessary greenery, seemed to be starving for light in every corner of the room. The Belmont had history and tradition going for it. It had a flavor, a style. All it needed was some retouching--not a whole new look. Ferns and minimal furnishings belonged in a more self-conscious Uptown bistro. A less self-conscious, more overt Fifties take on opulence was the name of the game here. Why not appreciate it for what it was? "A piece of rancid pétÈ for your thoughts," said Bram, gazing at Sophie over the rim of his martini glass. Her smile was wistful. "Oh, I was just thinking about what this place used to be like." "You came here with your parents a lot when you were a kid, right?" "In those pre-cholesterol-conscious days of yore." She sighed. "Well, at least there's one upside to the evening. We're not here so that you can review the place. That headache is finally behind us." Sophie did her best to hide her startled look. "You never told me you hated my reviewing." "I didn't hate it, but on those rare occasions when you convinced me I had to come with you, you insisted I wear one of those silly disguises, too. It made me feel like a freak--not, I might add, the best way to enjoy an evening out with one's wife." "Come on," she said, smiling and chucking him on the arm. "Restaurants today are theatre. You simply have to think of yourself as one of the cast." He grunted. "I never understood how you could enjoy eating a meal dressed like a biker's moll." "I had other costumes." "Right. The professor with the beard and pipe. Very sexy." Excerpted from Slice and Dice by Ellen Hart All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.