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Authors: Julie Hyzy

Grace Under Pressure

BOOK: Grace Under Pressure
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Table of Contents
 
Praise for the White House Chef Mysteries
HAIL TO THE CHEF
“A gourmand’s delight . . . Julie Hyzy balances her meal ticket quite nicely between the glimpses at the working class inside the White House with an engaging chef’s cozy.”
—Midwest Book Review
“The story is entertaining, the character is charming, the setting is interesting . . . Fun to read and sometimes that is exactly what hits the spot. I’ve found all of Hyzy’s books to be worth reading and this one is no different.”

Crime Fiction Dossier
, Book of the Week
 
“[A] well-plotted mystery . . . The White House Chef Mystery series is a must-read series to add to the ranks of culinary mysteries.”
—The Mystery Reader
 
STATE OF THE ONION
“Pulse-pounding action, an appealing heroine, and the inner workings of the White House kitchen combine for a stellar adventure in Julie Hyzy’s delightful
State of the Onion
.”
—Carolyn Hart, author of
Dare to Die
“Hyzy’s sure grasp of Washington geography offers firm footing for the plot.”
—Booklist
“Topical, timely, intriguing. Julie Hyzy simmers a unique setting, strong characters, sharp conflict, and snappy plotting into a peppery blend that packs an unusual wallop.”
—Susan Wittig Albert, author of
Holly Blues
 
“From terrorists to truffles, mystery writer Julie Hyzy concocts a sumptuous, breathtaking thriller.”
—Nancy Fairbanks, bestselling author of
Blood Pudding
“Exciting and delicious! Full of heart-racing thrills and mouthwatering food, this is a total sensual delight.”
—Linda Palmer, author of
Love Her Madly
 
“A compulsively readable whodunit full of juicy behindthe-Oval Office details, flavorful characters, and a satisfying side dish of red herrings—not to mention twenty pages of easy-to-cook recipes fit for the leader of the free world.”
—Publishers Weekly
 
Praise for the novels of Julie Hyzy
“Deliciously exciting.”
—Nancy Fairbanks
“A well-constructed plot, interesting characters, and plenty of Chicago lore . . . A truly pleasurable cozy.”
—Annette Meyers
 
“[A] solid, entertaining mystery that proves her to be a promising talent with a gift for winning characters and involving plots . . . Likely to appeal to readers of traditional mysteries as well as those who enjoy stories with a slightly harder edge.”
—Chicago Sun-Times
“The fast-paced plot builds to a spine-chilling ending.”
—Publishers Weekly
 
“A nicely balanced combination of detective work and high-wire adventure.”
—Kirkus Reviews
“Riveting . . . A twisty, absorbing, headline-current case. First-rate.”
—Carolyn Hart
“A well-crafted narrative, gentle tension, and a feisty, earthbound heroine mark this refreshingly different mystery debut.”
—Library Journal
Berkley Prime Crime titles by Julie Hyzy
The White House Chef Mysteries
STATE OF THE ONION
HAIL TO THE CHEF
EGGSECUTIVE ORDERS
 
A Manor of Murder Mysteries
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
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(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
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.
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
PRINTING HISTORY
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / June 2010
Copyright © 2010 by Julie Hyzy.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
eISBN : 978-1-101-18789-0
BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY
®
PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

http://us.penguingroup.com

This one is for you, Curtie
Acknowledgments
I am wildly excited to begin this new series and to introduce readers to Grace and her friends at Marshfield Manor. It is because readers like you have been so kind to Ollie (White House Chef Mysteries) and Alex (“Deadly” series) that I am able to launch this new adventure. Thank you so very much for all your e-mails, updates, and blog posts. You spread more sunshine than you may know.
Many thanks to my agent, Erin C. Niumata, for facilitating this new endeavor and for her unflagging good cheer. I am delighted to be working with Natalee Rosenstein of Berkley Prime Crime again. Thank you, Natalee, for taking another chance on me. I’m thrilled to be here.
Special thanks to George Pratt, illustrator extraordinaire, who provided artistic information on Raphael Soyer. Any errors in the story are mine.
As always, I couldn’t do any of this without the loving support of my family and friends. You guys are the best.
Chapter 1
THERE WERE AT LEAST SIXTY PEOPLE IN THE Birdcage room this afternoon but not one of them made a peep. The animated conversations, gentle laughter, and musical
plinks
from the harp had gone suddenly silent, as though a giant thumb had hit the mute button.
And that giant thumb stood in front of me.
“Please keep your voice down,” I said to him.
The big guy paced in circles, his untamed red hair ballooning like a lion’s mane. He stopped moving long enough to glare at the crowd. “What are you all staring at?”
Guests, who moments before had been nibbling finger sandwiches, now exchanged awkward glances. They tried, and failed, to shift their attention elsewhere. But who could blame them? The heavyset fellow with the ripped jeans, dirty shirt, and wild eyes didn’t belong in this serene setting. He made a show of looking around the room then shouted again, his voice echoing. “Huh? Whatcha all looking at?”
I tried to get his attention. “Sir, why don’t you tell me how I can help you?”
He shot me a dirty look. Resumed pacing.
Next to me, our hostess, Martha, took a half step back. She had called me down to help with a “problem guest.” I hadn’t expected 350 pounds of fury. The worst complaint we usually received about afternoon tea in the Birdcage was about it being too hot or too cool. Regulating temperature in an all-window room was always a challenge. I whispered to Martha to call security and she took off, clearly relieved to get away.
Trying again, I smiled at the big guy. “What’s your name?”
He stopped moving. “Why do you want to know?”
“My name is Grace,” I said, inching forward. “I’m the assistant curator here at Marshfield Manor.”
“Cure-ator? What does that mean? They sent you here to cure me?” His angry look was replaced by confusion. “And you’re, like, just an assistant? Where’s the important people? I don’t want to talk to some dumb assistant.”
“Why don’t you tell me what you need,” I said, more slowly this time, “and I’ll do my best to get the right person to help you.”
Teeth bared, he spread his arms wide and lifted his gaze to the glassed ceiling as though begging the heavens for patience. Whatever biceps he might have once had sagged out from short sleeves, seams shredded to accommodate his arms’ girth. He looked as though he’d slept in this outfit. All week. At about twenty-five, he was younger than I was, and a few inches taller than my five-foot-eight, but he outweighed me by at least two hundred pounds. A morbidly obese time bomb. I glanced over to the wall where we kept the defibrillator and hoped I wouldn’t need to use it.
Still staring upward, he asked, “What do I have to do to get a cheeseburger around here?”
A nervous laugh bubbled up from the back of the room.
Snapping his attention toward the giggler, the guy yelled, “What, you think this is funny?”
Two of our plainclothes security guards eased in. Older guys, decked out to look like tourists, they didn’t cut an imposing sight. I wished they’d sent a different team, but beggars couldn’t be choosers. I moved into the big man’s view, distracting him. “We don’t serve cheeseburgers here, I’m afraid . . .”
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