Death of a Kitchen Diva (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktail Mysteries) (10 page)

BOOK: Death of a Kitchen Diva (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktail Mysteries)
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Chapter 16
 
Hayley sat alone in the jail cell at the police station wondering how she had gotten to this point.
A murder suspect?
She had raised hell in high school, bought beer with a fake ID, bounced a check once at a local boutique when she needed some new lip gloss. But never in her thirty-five years had Hayley Powell ever come close to killing anyone.
But now it seemed like the whole town, even the police, were convinced she had gotten her hands on some arsenic and added a few drops to Karen Applebaum’s homemade New England clam chowder. The recipe she apparently stole from Hayley.
Hayley stood up and brushed the dust off the back of her dress. The cell rarely got used except by an occasional drunk or teenage vandal so cleaning it was usually an afterthought.
Hayley walked over and grabbed ahold of the bars separating her from Donnie and Earl, who were eating sandwiches they had bought at a sub shop down the block.
“Excuse me, guys, don’t I get to make a phone call?” Hayley asked.
Donnie and Earl looked at each other, waiting for the other to speak first. When Earl took another bite of his sandwich, Donnie figured he should probably say something. “Uh, I don’t know. Do you?”
“Yes, it’s the law, I think,” Hayley said, unsure whether this was actually true or not. “I mean, I see it done on TV all the time.”
No one except Lex knew she was in jail. Her kids were home and upstairs, oblivious, doing their homework. Scratch that. They were probably chatting on Facebook or playing with the Xbox. But, in any event, they had no idea their mother had been arrested. They might get a little worried tomorrow morning when no one was there to scream at them to get out of bed and ready for school.
“Can one of you give me my cell phone so I can let my kids know where I am,” Hayley said, trying not to cry.
Donnie and Earl looked at each other again.
“Think we should call the chief?” Donnie asked.
“Yeah, see if it’s okay,” Earl said, nodding.
Hayley stepped away from the bars and sat back down, putting her head in her hands. She could only imagine the gossip mill tomorrow when word spread about her arrest.
A few minutes later, Earl came over with a big set of keys and began unlocking the door to the cell.
Hayley jumped to her feet. “So it’s okay to make a phone call?”
“No. We got his voice mail. Cell service sucks between Bangor and Ellsworth. He’s probably not getting a signal. You have a visitor.”
For a moment Hayley thought it might be Lex. Her knight in shining armor. Here to assure her he would do everything in his power to fight these bogus charges and defend her honor if it was the last thing he ever did.
It wasn’t Lex.
Bruce Linney appeared behind Earl as he slid open the door. Earl waved him inside and Bruce offered Hayley a weak smile.
Her heart sank.
Then she turned her back on him. “Come to gloat?”
“Of course not,” Bruce said. “I came to see how you’re holding up.”
“That’s rich,” Hayley spat out. “You’re the reason I’m in here.”
“I didn’t have a choice, Hayley,” Bruce said, slowly approaching her, and gently putting a hand on her shoulder. “If I didn’t hand over the poison, I would’ve risked being charged as an accessory.”
“You really think I did this?”
“No. I don’t. But how do you explain the cyanide in your bag?”
“I can’t explain it.”
“It killed me having to turn that evidence over to the chief. You must know that.”
“How could I possibly know that? You’re constantly ribbing me and giving me a hard time. I thought you hated me.”
“Far from it,” Bruce said, eyes downcast. “I think you’re ... Let me put it this way. If there is one silver lining in this situation, for me at least, it’s that your arrest totally screwed up your date with that caretaker guy.”
Hayley smiled. She appreciated his honesty. She had no idea Bruce was remotely interested in her.
“So you were jealous?”
Suddenly Bruce snapped out of whatever romantic notions were swirling about in his head. He never wore his heart on his sleeve, and decided for the sake of his own reputation that now was certainly not the time to start.
“No! I just meant I like you as a friend and I just don’t trust that guy.”
Hayley shook her head.
Typical Bruce. A macho jerk to the very end.
Then Hayley noticed Bruce holding his iPhone in the palm of his right hand. There was a small flashing red light on the screen.
“What’s that?” Hayley asked.
“What?”
“That red light on your phone. What is that?”
Bruce’s face turned beet red. Hayley snatched the phone out of his hand and looked at the screen. It was an application for an audio recording device.
“Are you taping our conversation?” Hayley asked.
Bruce noticed the phone. “Oh. Yeah. I forgot to mention that when I came in.”
“What for?”
“I’m a reporter, Hayley. It’s what I do.”
“So this is an interview for the paper? I can’t believe you! I wouldn’t be surprised if you planted that evidence just so you’d have yourself a big scoop!”
“You know that’s not true,” Bruce said.
“We’re done talking, Bruce,” Hayley said and sat down on her cot with the thin, musty mattress. A puff of dust floated up from the impact.
“What are you going to do, Hayley? Talk to the
Herald
? Sal will fire your ass if you don’t give us the exclusive.”
“Exclusive what?”
“Your story. How you’re feeling about being the chief suspect in Karen Applebaum’s murder.”
Hayley knew it was true. But hearing it out loud brought it all home. She was the focus of the investigation now. And there was no escaping that reality.
“Get out.”
“Don’t do this, Hayley,” Bruce pleaded.
“Out! I’m not saying another word to you until I talk to my lawyer. I can only imagine what you’ll say about me in the article.”
“Do you need anything?”
“No! Not from you, anyway. Just go.”
Defeated, Bruce called for Earl, who shuffled back over, and after fumbling with his keys again for a few seconds, let Bruce out of the cell.
Hayley fought back tears as she curled up in a fetal position on the cot and debated her next move. Someone put that poison in her bag to frame her for the murder. She had to get out of jail somehow.
Because, she knew she was going to have to conduct her own investigation to prove her innocence.
Chapter 17
 
Sergio arrived at the station shortly after Bruce left, and Hayley was finally able to make her phone call. She quickly got in touch with Mona and told her to get over to her house and fill her kids in and then call Ted Rivers, a local lawyer, in fact one of the only lawyers in town, and see what he could do about getting her out of jail. He had an office right upstairs from Liddy’s real estate business.
Soon after, Liddy called the station. Word was spreading fast. She insisted she be able to talk to the prisoner, so after getting the okay from Sergio, Donnie handed Hayley the phone.
“This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me and it’s not even happening to
me
,” Liddy cried through the phone.
“It’s all right. Mona’s calling Ted Rivers. Judge Carter is an old family friend. I’m sure he’ll let me post bail until all of this is straightened out.”
“How could Sergio, of all people, have you arrested?”
“He didn’t have much of a choice. The evidence is kind of overwhelming.”
“Well, still, he’s your brother’s boyfriend. Don’t you worry, Hayley, I’m going to organize a protest demanding they spring you immediately.”
“You know, Liddy, I’m not sure that’s really such a good ...”
Liddy had already hung up.
Hayley handed back the phone to Donnie.
Sergio appeared outside the cell. He had a pained expression on his face.
Hayley knew this couldn’t be easy on him.
“I’m sending Donnie out for some food. I thought you might be hungry,” Sergio said.
“I can’t possibly think about food at a time like this.”
“Okay. I understand,” Sergio said and turned to walk away.
“Where’s he going?” Hayley quickly asked before he got too far.
Sergio shrugged. “I’m not sure. I told him to drive around town to see what’s still open.”
“I was on my way to Havana when Donnie and Earl arrested me.”
“We can’t afford Havana, Hayley. I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay. How about some fried clams?”
“Sure,” Sergio said, just grateful she was still speaking to him.
“With french fries. Maybe a salad. Dressing on the side. No, forget it. Why bother rationing my salad dressing with all the fried food I’ll be eating? Just have them pour it on. But make it a light dressing. And I’d like extra croutons.”
Sergio was trying to remember the entire order. “Extra croutons. Got it.”
“And something sweet. Chocolate. Chocolate makes me feel better when I’m stressed out. And do you have any Jack Daniel’s around?”
“I can’t give you alcohol, Hayley. I’m sorry.”
“I figured. Thought I’d give it a shot.”
Sergio smiled. “I’m going to make your time here as comfortable as possible, Hayley. I promise you that.”
“Thank you, Sergio. I know you’re just doing your job.”
Sergio reached through the bars and took Hayley’s hand and gave it a squeeze. Then he headed back to his office.
Forty-five minutes later, Hayley heard what sounded like chanting coming from outside the station. Sergio was shouting and there was a lot of commotion out in the reception area, but she couldn’t tell what was going on.
Finally, Earl ran back near the cell, a look of panic on his face. He flung open a storage closet door and began rummaging around.
“What’s going on out there?” Hayley asked.
“A bunch of unruly women are protesting! Chief’s trying to get them under control! I’m seeing if we have any riot gear.”
Liddy and the cavalry had come to her rescue.
“Oh, Earl, relax, you have nothing to fear from Liddy Crawford,” Hayley said.
“She just hit me in the head with her sign!”
Hayley stifled a laugh. Liddy had a flare for the dramatic. Plus, she always felt she had been born too late, and would have really shined as a late sixties radical advocating free love and protesting the evils of corporate America.
That was before she made a killing in real estate and discovered the personal benefits of tax cuts for the rich.
“Damn, we don’t have any bulletproof vests or helmets or anything. How can a police station not have any riot gear?” Earl asked.
“Probably because there’s never been a riot in Bar Harbor,” Hayley said.
That satisfied Earl.
He slammed the closet door shut and ran back outside.
Hayley paced back and forth. She intermittently heard Sergio trying to reason with the crowd and then a chorus of shrill, deafening voices drowning him out. She felt bad for him. But at the same time, she had a warm feeling about the dedication of her friends to get her out of the slammer.
A few minutes later, Mona arrived in a huff, and was allowed to see Hayley.
“There must be fifty women out there waving signs. How’d Liddy get them organized so fast?” Mona wondered.
“I’m sure all it took was one posting on Facebook,” Hayley said.
“Project Runway
is on tonight and they all chat about it online, so I’m sure she had an entire army of bored women on call.”
“Gemma and Dustin are fine. They’re over at my house right now watching a movie with my kids,” Mona said. “I tried to bring you a lobster dinner, but Barney Fife out there was afraid you’d use the cracker to loosen the bars and escape. Dimwits!”
“It’s okay. They’re bringing me fried clams.”
“We’re going to get you out of here,” Mona said. “Liddy said Ted Rivers has already called Judge Carter and they’re arranging a hearing for eight o’clock tomorrow morning. It’ll be their first order of business.”
Donnie arrived with a brown paper bag with grease stains on it. He had his keys in his hand and was about to open the cell door, but Mona blocked his way. She stepped closer toward him, mustering up the most intimidating stare she could. Mona was even taller than Donnie and far more imposing and her breasts were practically smothering him.
Hayley noticed Donnie’s hand shaking slightly.
Once Mona made her point, which Hayley assumed was
Don’t mess with my best friend
, she moved aside and allowed Donnie to enter the cell and hand Hayley the bag.
“It might be a little cold. It took me awhile to get through the crowd out there,” Donnie said. “One of them tried to give me a wedgie. I mean, come on, it’s been years since high school!”
“That’s okay, Donnie. Thank you,” Hayley said, and removed the container of fried clams from the bag.
“Where’s the tartar sauce?” Mona asked.
“What?” Donnie’s voice cracked.
“How do you expect her to eat fried clams without tartar sauce?” Mona bellowed.
“I-I can go back and get some. It’ll only take me a few minutes. If the protestors let me through.”
“No, I don’t need tartar sauce, Donnie. This is just fine. I appreciate all you’ve done,” Hayley said.
Donnie nodded and smiled. Mona threw him one last threatening look. His smile quickly faded and he retreated to the front office.
Mona then turned to Hayley. “Anything else you need while I’m here?”
“No,” Hayley said, popping a fried clam in her mouth. “If everything goes well with Judge Carter, I should make it home before the kids go to school.”
“Cool beans. Now try to get some sleep. You’ll be out of here first thing tomorrow morning.”
“I wouldn’t survive without you, Mona. Both you and Liddy.”
“But me more, right?”
Hayley laughed. “Just don’t tell her.”
“Are you kidding? I live to make her crazy jealous.”
Mona blew Hayley a kiss and left.
The protest died down around 10
P.M.
due to the fact that most of the women wanted to get home to see who was going to be eliminated on
Project Runway
.
Hayley tried to get comfortable on the cot, and had just begun drifting off to sleep when she was jolted awake by more shouting. This time it wasn’t a gaggle of her would-be activist girlfriends.
It was one voice. One very recognizable voice. It was her brother, Randy. And he was hopping mad.
“I have to hear from one of my customers that you’ve arrested my sister for murder?”
Sergio was speaking low, and trying to keep a lid on the escalating situation with his boyfriend.
It wasn’t working.
“Why didn’t you call me? I was at the bar all night!” Randy yelled.
“Because I had to drive back from Bangor after I got the poison tested and you know there is not good cell service on the way, and when I got back I had to deal with all of these Protestants ...”
“Protestants? What Protestants?”
“Hayley’s friends showed up with signs and were blocking the entrance to the station ...”
“You mean protesters!”
“Isn’t that what I said?”
“I’m living with Ricky Ricardo!”
Hayley felt terrible for Sergio. The poor guy was under a lot of pressure and she was obviously the only one who understood why he had to make such a difficult decision to arrest her.
“If it’s any consolation, the clams were delicious!” Hayley called out.
Randy pounded down the hall to the holding cell. When he saw Hayley behind bars he gasped. “I tried to mentally prepare myself all the way over here to see you like this, but you can never truly be ready.”
Like Liddy, Randy also had a flair for the dramatic.
“I’m fine, really,” Hayley said, trying to give her brother a hug, which proved impossible given the metal bars separating them.
So she settled for petting his shoulders to comfort him.
Randy spun around to Sergio, who had followed him, a hangdog expression on his face. “My own sister ...”
“Randy, I’ll be out before breakfast,” Hayley said, trying to be reassuring. She was handling her own arrest better than everybody else in her life.
Randy was still focused on Sergio. “It’s inexcusable that you are taking out our relationship issues on a beloved family member.”
Sergio’s mouth dropped open. “What relationship issues?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” Randy said.
Hayley studied Sergio’s face for a moment. “Actually, I don’t think he does, Randy.”
“Well, this isn’t about the cracks in our relationship,” Randy said. “This is about you. And how we’re going to make all this go away.”
“What cracks?” Sergio said, starting to get upset.
Randy ignored Sergio and focused on his sister.
“Do you have bail money?” Randy asked.
“Depends. If it’s under twenty dollars, we’re good,” Hayley said, forcing a smile.
“Well, don’t worry. I can put up my bar as collateral.”
“Oh, I don’t want you to do that,” Hayley said.
“I trust you not to skip town,” Randy said, smiling.
“Don’t assume anything,” Hayley said with a wink.
“You call me if you need anything. Fresh sheets, a DVD player, some air freshener ...”
“I’m only going to be here one night.”
“Okay. I love you, Hayley.”
“Love you, too.”
Randy turned and flashed Sergio an angry look before marching out.
Sergio turned to Hayley.
“I don’t see cracks! What cracks is he talking about?”
Sergio chased Randy outside, finally leaving Hayley alone.
Hayley was confident that in just a few hours she would be standing before Judge Carter, who would immediately grant bail, and then she would be out with enough time to get the kids to school and make it to the office without having to take another personal day.
And she would finally be free to find out just who wanted her to take the fall for Karen Applebaum’s murder.
There was also the matter of her column. She couldn’t ignore what was happening anymore. She had to address the scandal head on ... along with a tasty recipe of course.
Island Food & Spirits
 
by Hayley Powell
 
 
 
By now I’m sure some of you have heard all about my unfortunate (and might I add) very short stay in our local jail. I can honestly say some people didn’t even know I was gone (like my kids).
I will address the jail situation head-on in just a bit but first, because of my brief encounter with our local law enforcement and subsequent lockup, let me tell you that my eyes have been opened to a very serious crisis that we have brewing right here in our very own town, and in our very own police station. And that is, our local jail food, or should I say, the lack of it, when it comes to the all important four food groups.
Frankly, I was appalled that our local law enforcement was not prepared to serve some kind of healthy and decent meal to anyone that might have a minor incident, and have to be detained for the evening, or God forbid, a few days.
Now, I’m not saying we need to treat the incarcerated with a seven course meal. Which reminds me. I have the most wonderful orange sorbet recipe for our fourth course this week that is to die for! Well, I guess I wouldn’t go that far given recent local events, but I swear you will love it!
And I would also like to publicly thank Martin Applebaum for giving me this great idea for the sorbet when I saw the spiffy bright orange shirt he was wearing just the other day. It inspired me. I must say Martin’s bold color choices just suit that man, and really make him stand out and be noticed in a crowd!
Well, back to the situation at hand.
I think our local police force, which otherwise does an outstanding job (shout out to you, Sergio!), is a little behind on this issue. So I’d like to suggest that volunteers sign up to prepare a quick, light, and healthy meal for those who have been unforeseeably detained. I don’t think we will have to do this very often, but with this one small gesture, our visitors should go away with a better appreciation of our town and our law enforcement, not to mention a full stomach.
I have some really simple meal recipes I’d be willing to share with you and I’m sure many of you have some great ideas of your own! So give me a call and let’s get the ball rolling on this project.
Now unfortunately, I do have to address another matter that has been getting quite a bit of unwanted attention around town. There has been a lot of talk that the dear late Karen Applebaum and I were having a sort of nasty feud. Suffice it to say, Karen and I were not friends. But I would like to go on record as saying that no matter how much I may detest someone (detest is a strong word, but some people just don’t make it very easy to be civil), there is no way I would or could actually do harm to that person.
And I am also secure in the knowledge that I will be proven one hundred percent innocent of the crime that many of you may be thinking I committed.
But let me repeat. I have never broken the law. Wait. Let me rephrase. I have never brought harm upon anyone. And I never will.
So enough of this unpleasantness. It’s time to unwind with a well-deserved, relaxing, and refreshing cocktail or two, and then move on to our fourth course, this week!
The Orange Blossom
 
2 ounces of good gin (or a bit more, depending on what kind of day you had)
1 ounce orange juice
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
 
Combine your gin, orange juice, and sugar in a shaker glass that you have half-filled with ice cubes. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of orange and enjoy! A hint: These are so good you won’t want to drink just one, so make up a nice big batch of them and you can sip on them at your leisure.
For our fourth course in our seven course meal, it’s time to cleanse our palates before we move forward, and you are really going to enjoy this mouthwatering orange sorbet.
Mango Orange Sorbet
 
4 cups cubed chilled mango
½ cup cold water
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup white sugar
 
Blend your mango, water, and orange juice in your blender until smooth, then add your sugar until all blended together.
Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions and enjoy!
BOOK: Death of a Kitchen Diva (Hayley Powell Food and Cocktail Mysteries)
4.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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