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Authors: Kerry Greenwood

Cooking the Books

BOOK: Cooking the Books
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First published in 2011

Copyright © Kerry Greenwood 2011

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in

any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,

recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior

permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968

(the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10 per cent of this book, whichever

is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational

purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has

given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act.

Allen & Unwin

Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, London

83 Alexander Street

Crows Nest NSW 2065


Phone: (61 2) 8425 0100

Fax: (61 2) 9906 2218

Email: [email protected]


Cataloguing-in-Publication details are available

from the National Library of Australia

ISBN 978 1 74237 021 7

Set in 11/14 pt Adobe Garamond by Midland Typesetters, Australia

Printed in Australia by McPherson’s Printing Group

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ebook production by
Midland Typesetters

For David Greagg, an angel in wombat form . . .

With many thanks to Jenny Pausacker, Ika Willis, Chip Granger, Jean Greenwood and the people who send me intriguing emails in the middle of the night. And to Belladonna, my constant companion while writing.

Please note that although there is a film studio at Docklands, it is not called Harbour Studios and bears no resemblance to my studio. This whole book is a work of fiction. As is the city of Melbourne itself.


‘. . . the fifth in the Corinna Chapman series . . . like the previous books in the series . . . is an absolute delight . . . I can thoroughly recommend this one to anyone who is looking for a pleasurable read.’

Bookseller + Publisher

‘Fans of the series will know and new readers will soon realise, once Corinna takes control, the baddies might just as well give up; resistance is only postponing the inevitable . . . entertaining, enchanting and enjoyable.’—
Good Reading

‘Greenwood is a modern master of the gracious detective story. We happily slip into the well-ordered ebb and flow of life around Earthly Delights and the other inhabitants of the Insula building, but she meticulously blends a hint of unease into the mix . . . Greenwood knows a proper feast includes the savoury and the sweet. Hers is a unique voice in crime fiction.’—
The Age
, A2

‘Melbourne writer Kerry Greenwood’s two sleuths could not be more dissimilar. Aristocratic dynamo Phryne Fisher inhabits her historic crime stories and the more down-to-earth Corinna Chapman finds the answers in her contemporary novels . . . Chapman’s eccentric staff and neighbours give readers plenty to chew over.’—
Herald Sun

‘One of Australia’s cleverest mystery writers delivers a very pleasurable concoction for Christmas, involving baker Corinna Chapman’s fabulous recipes for glace cherries and a search for star-crossed runaways.’

Australian Women’s Weekly

‘A new Corinna Chapman novel is a delight—like settling into a really comfortable old sofa . . . It’s a gently amusing, cheerfully eccentric book as they all are and will leave you wishing you could visit the Earthly Delights bakery and feeling sorry the book is finished . . . Charming.’

Townsville Bulletin

‘Brimming with food, lust, friendship and the barefaced evils of our everyday world,
Forbidden Fruit
presents not one but two nasty surprises at the end . . . Fortunately there is a heavy dollop of humour, an excess of cats and enough delicious bakery delights to temper any bad taste left by the seedier side of things.’—
Southern Highlands News

Kerry Greenwood is the author of many bestselling novels and the editor of two collections. The first five books in the Corinna series are
Earthly Delights
Heavenly Pleasures
Devil’s Food
Trick or Treat
(2008) and
Forbidden Fruit
(2010). Previous novels in the Phryne Fisher series are
Cocaine Blues
Flying too High
Murder on the Ballarat Train
Death at Victoria Dock
Blood and Circuses
The Green Mill Murder
Ruddy Gore
Urn Burial
Raisins and Almonds
Death Before Wicket
Away with the Fairies
Murder in Montparnasse
The Castlemaine Murders
Queen of the Flowers
Death by Water
Murder in the Dark
Murder on a Midsummer Night
Dead Man’s Chest
. She is also the author of several books for young adults and the Delphic Women series. When she is not writing she is an advocate in Magistrates’ Court for the Legal Aid Commission. She is not married, has no children and lives with a registered Wizard.

Also in the Corinna Chapman series:

Earthly Delights

Heavenly Pleasures

Devil’s Food

Trick or Treat

Forbidden Fruit

I was supposed to be on holiday. So what, you may ask—in fact, Daniel was actually asking—was I doing in the bakery? Apart from, self-evidently, baking?

‘Bosworth Jumbles,’ I explained.

He smiled at me. My heart did a complete flip-flop with pike. Beautiful Daniel, my Sabra turned private detective, who out of all women in the city picked me, an ample size 20 who worked too hard making bread at my bakery, Earthly Delights. Since the advent of Daniel I have become suscept- ible to the idea that miracles might really happen. He is tall, dark and gorgeous with a faint whiff of mystery. I am short and mousy and smell mostly of flour and honest labour. Not seductive.

‘Why jumbles and why Bosworth?’ he asked.

My apprentice, Jason, a recovering heroin addict, had taken his holiday pay and gone surfing. My shop was closed until the end of January and my two assistants had gone to an audition for a soap of some sort. I should have been relaxing, but I didn’t seem to have the knack.

‘The cook died rather than disclose the recipe,’ I said. ‘Mrs Dawson is giving an afternoon tea and she wanted some traditional English munchies. And as she is a famous retired society hostess I like to think that the fact that she chose me as her baker is a great compliment.’

‘How do you mean, died?’ Daniel sounded intrigued.

‘Was executed. He deserves to be remembered. He was Richard the Third’s confectioner, a highly paid position,’ I told him, forming the jumbles into little heaps on my baking sheet. ‘He went with Richard to the battle of Bosworth Field, where the King was defeated and the cook was captured. Henry VII offered him his life if he would give him the recipe for these sugary little treats. He refused, and after a week Henry VII had him executed. But the cook gave the recipe to one of his jailers and the local bakers made them for centuries, all through the Tudor period. Just to remind the rulers that there had been a good king who was usurped and murdered.’

‘Sedition by cookery. Impressive,’ he murmured. ‘What else do we have here? Isn’t that fruit mince?’

‘For Eccles cakes,’ I agreed. ‘When the parliamentarians banned Christmas, the bakers of Eccles made these little mince tarts instead of Christmas pudding. I don’t know if it was just because they had a stockpile of the main ingredient, or because they wanted to bring a little joy into people’s hearts in those joyless times.’

‘Possibly both. And these?’

‘You can have one. Or two,’ I conceded. ‘They’re singing hinnies. Like the song.’

She can cook an Irish stew, aye, and singing hinnies too
,’ he sang, a pleasant tenor somewhat obscured by crumbs.

‘And otherwise there are some Bath buns and a sand cake.’

‘Sand cake,’ he said flatly. ‘Even for a superlative baker, sand is not a good ingredient. I recall those childhood beach picnics. It grits the teeth. Love the singing hinnies, though.’

‘Sand cake is not made of sand,’ I informed him, opening the oven to insert the jumbles and remove the cake. ‘It’s made with cornflour so it’s sandy in texture, but no real sand is used in the construction, I promise. Otherwise she has potted shrimps, which I made yesterday, to eat with brown bread, and cucumber sandwiches, which also contain—’

‘No sand. I understand now,’ he assured me. ‘How much longer will these historical sweeties detain you?’

‘Just have to get the jumbles out of the oven—ten minutes or so. Can’t ice the cake until it’s cold.’

‘I notice that none of the feline contingent have descended from the sun porch to supervise your labour,’ he observed.

‘Lazy creatures have been taking non-stop naps,’ I said, wiping flour off my forearms onto my strong green apron. ‘Though the Mouse Police are still catching rats down here at night. But they probably think that is sport, not work.’

‘Cats don’t do the “w” word,’ he agreed solemnly. ‘Even the maître d’hôtel Horatio only supervises.’

Horatio is my tabby and white gentleman and he does, indeed, oversee the moral and aesthetic standards of Earthly Delights. I sometimes feel that I cannot live up to him. He is an aristocat.

‘Have you heard from Jason?’ he asked, leaning a hip against a mixing tub.

BOOK: Cooking the Books
5.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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