Synopses & Reviews
Cranky Mary Ryan has sunk a lot of time and talent into the American Fare, San Francisco’s hottest spot, while grieving over her broken marriage. At work very early, she steps on a laundry bag stuffed with the dead body of one of her employees. The investigation soon exposes all the dirty secrets that the food business would like to keep secret: the philandering chefs, the silly whims of the dining public, the hiring of illegal aliens, and the subsistence-living pay scale. Events begin to spiral that in time take out the restaurant’s celebrity chef and force Mary to use her unique skills to uncover a poisonous scheme. Beat Until Stiff is the first book in the Mary Ryan series.
"The restaurant business--its food, financing and philosophy--is here in all its complexity for discriminating mystery palates."--Publishers Weekly
"Claire M. Johnson’s Beat Until Stiff deserves enthusiastic mention as a very special title which offers an unusually frank view of the cooking and restaurant scene in San Francisco. Herself a professional and experienced pastry chef, Claire Johnson presents the reader with a lively style that mixes autobiography with culinary and social insights. Highly recommended!" --Midwest Book Review
"Willy nilly, Johnson takes you there in a fast and furious place, often reminiscent of the theatrical ditto, complete with Hamlets and Greek choruses and magicians who don’t quite get it right. Not only is this a treat; I read it through twice to make sure it was as good as I thought." -- Marilis Hornidge, The Courier-Gazette
"Great plot with good characters and you’ll learn a lot about the restaurant business, since author Johnson is also a pastry cook." –Culinary Mystery Review
About the Author
Claire M. Johnson completed the California Culinary Academy’s program for professional chefs in 1983 and worked as a pastry chef in San Francisco and Oakland for eight years. Set in the restaurant world, Ms. Johnson’s first novel, Beat Until Stiff, won the 1999 Malice Domestic Writer’s Grant. She lives in Lafayette, California, with her husband, two children, and numerous animals.