Table of Contents
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Betty Hechtman
HOOKED ON MURDER
DEAD MEN DON’T CROCHET
BY HOOK OR BY CROOK
A STITCH IN CRIME
YOU BETTER KNOT DIE
BEHIND THE SEAMS
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This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reaction to the recipes contained in this book.
Copyright © 2011 by Betty Hechtman.
All rights reserved.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hechtman, Betty, 1947–
ISBN : 978-1-101-54538-6
1. Crocheting—Fiction. 2. Murder—Investigation—Fiction. 3. Los Angeles (Calif.)—Fiction. I. Title.
Once again, Sandy Harding has done a great job of editing. I am so glad to be working with her. My agent, Jessica Faust, amazes me how she manages to do it all so well. Natalee Rosenstein continues to make Berkley Prime Crime a great place to be. The art department has come up with another fantastic cover.
I want to thank my team—Roberta Martia for crochet and yarn, Judy Libby for legal, LAPD officer Kathy Bennett for cop questions and Dr. Howard Marx for everything medical. Thank you, Michael Duffy, for sharing your rescue story. Burl, thanks for letting me tag along on all the backstage adventures. Max and Samantha, I wouldn’t have made it to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway without you.
Linda Hopkins offered invaluable help with the crochet patterns. Thank you for your generosity and eye for detail.
Rene Biederman, Connie Cabon, Najme Chawdhry, Alice Chiredjian, Terry Cohen, Tricia Culkin, Clara Feeney, Pamela Feuer, Lily Gillis, Winnie Hineson, Linda Hopkins, Debbie Kratofil, Reva Mallon, Elayne Moschin, Margaret Prentice, Tillie Sanchez and Blanche Tutt are my knit and crochet group. I keep learning so much from them. Paula Tesler has turned the group into something special.
Burl, Max and Samantha, you guys are still the best!
“OKAY, ACTION,” I SAID. “SORRY, I DON’T HAVE ONE of those little black chalkboards to click.”
“Dear, those are only when you’re actually filming. This is just a run-through,” CeeCee Collins said. Whatever it was called, CeeCee instantly went into character and gestured toward the setup for a cooking demonstration spread out in front of her. A series of glass bowls with ingredients, a mixing bowl and a nine-by-thirteen pan, along with an assortment of cooking tools, sat on the dark wood trestle table in her dining room.
She looked the picture of domesticity with her apron, and it was obvious she’d gone into character, because the real CeeCee didn’t know which end of a wooden spoon was up.
“I’m so glad to be here,” CeeCee said, all smiles as she glanced over at us as if we were the audience. “And to be able to share one of the Collins’ family recipes is a real treat. I know this recipe so well, I could make it with my eyes closed.” She picked up one of the small bowls, checking the label I’d attached to it. “Let’s start with the cinnamon.” Before anyone could stop her, she’d poured it into the large bowl. Continuing to chat on about how she’d learned to cook by watching her mother, she added the contents of each of the small bowls to the larger one, then grabbed a spoon and began to stir everything together. We all cried out no in unison as she upturned the bowl and the clump of ingredients thudded into the baking pan amid a puffy brown cloud of cinnamon.
My name is Molly Pink and the
are the Tarzana Hookers. That’s hookers as in crochet. And the Tarzana refers to the Southern California San Fernando Valley community where we meet. We’ve been together for a while now and our lives have become intertwined. That’s not to say we’re all sugary and sweet about each other, exactly. It’s more like a family—you have your differences but accept each other anyway. In lieu of our regular meeting at the bookstore, we had gathered at CeeCee’s, and instead of crocheting, we were playing audience for CeeCee. Only our one male member, Eduardo, hadn’t been able to come.
Along with being the leader of our group of yarn fans, CeeCee was our resident celebrity. Up until recently, she’d always been referred to as a veteran actress, which really meant career over. She’d had her own sitcom years ago, and then had been in some movies and television shows before her career slid into the occasional cameo appearance. Everything had changed when she became host of
. But the reality show turned out to be small change compared to the boost her career had just received from her new film. Though the role she’d gotten was as a secondary character,
Caught By a Kiss
was a hit movie from the moment it premiered a couple of weeks ago.
CeeCee ignored our nos and, smiling all the while, headed toward the part of the table we’d designated as the oven—without any concern that all the ingredients were in a big mound in the middle of the baking pan.
“Anybody got any yellow tape?” Rhoda Klein said. “Because this looks like a crime scene to me.” Rhoda was one of our newer members. She’d lived in Southern California for over twenty years but had never lost her New York no-nonsense attitude, or her accent.
“I don’t understand. What did I do wrong?” CeeCee said, glancing around at us as I grabbed the pan and set it aside.
The recipe for Apple Bumble Crumble was really my recipe, and even though I’d already shown her how to assemble the ingredients, apparently it hadn’t sunk in that everything didn’t get thrown in the bowl together. So far, the only part she’d excelled at was tasting the recipe at the end of my demonstration.
While I prepared a new setup of ingredients, I tried once again to explain that she needed to spread the apple slices and raisins in the baking pan, then measure the cinnamon and sugar, then in a separate bowl cut the butter into the flour, and finally add the brown sugar, oatmeal and nuts. She reacted to the word
like it was a foreign language. It wasn’t much better when I demonstrated with the pastry blender.
“This is ridiculous. You should be doing a crochet demonstration,” Adele Abrams said. She’d popped out of her chair and glared at CeeCee. “You’re going to be on a national talk show with millions of viewers. Imagine showing off the wonders of crochet.”
CeeCee sank into a chair. “Tell me about it. Do you think I would choose to do something I’m clueless about? Believe me, a cooking demonstration was not my idea. But getting on the
Barbara Olive Overton
show is a real coup. They’re devoting the whole show to me. Do you know what that means? So when they were insistent about having me do something on the show and they wanted cooking, I wasn’t about to make waves. I was told they wanted to have something to serve the audience at the end.”
“I’m with Adele,” Elise Belmont said. Her voice was a little on the wispy side and we barely heard her. It didn’t help that she wasn’t facing the group, but instead was admiring the movie poster propped on a chair. It featured a photo of Hugh Jackman with just the hint of fangs, holding a crochet hook. The title,
Caught By a Kiss
, was in red letters across the top. They’d done something to the lettering to make it look like dripping blood. Under the information about the female lead, it said, “Featuring CeeCee Collins as Ophelia.”
“I just think they ought to have you and Hugh on together. Maybe you could both crochet something.” Even before the movie, Elise had been enamored with the series of books featuring Anthony, the urbane, handsome vampire who’d learned to control his lust for blood by crocheting and was now trying to use his immortality to help mankind and also snag his love interest. She wasn’t the only one to love the series. It was still a huge seller at Shedd & Royal Books and More where I worked. Elise had just been a little more over the top than the rest of us.
“I see your point,” CeeCee said, taking one of the apple slices out of the pan and dipping it in some sugar before eating it. “You’d think since I had such a great comeback-kid story and there was already Oscar buzz for me and the movie is barely out, that I’d have carte blanche to do what I want.”
My late husband, Charlie, had worked in public relations and I’d helped out with his business, so I knew a bit about how things went. Barbara Olive Overton was the top talk show host. In the scheme of things, she trumped CeeCee in importance, so if she wanted CeeCee to cook, it was that or nothing.