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The Sourdough Wars

The SECOND book in Edgar-winning author Julie Smith’s Rebecca Schwartz series.

"…a brisk and breezy item, which—like sourdough itself—has its own distinctive and satisfying flavor.” -San Diego Union

“…an awful lot of fun, and it will make you unbearably hungry for fresh-baked bread.” -San Jose Mercury-News

A tasty treat of a San Francisco mystery—a crisp, tangy story you’re sure to get a rise out of.

To you, it’s just a frozen lump of dough; but to some, it’s life and death…

Especially to handsome Peter Martinelli, who wants to auction off the fabled sourdough starter from his family’s famous bakery. But who’d buy a frozen hunk of flour and water? Only, it turns out, every bakery in San Francisco, a national food conglomerate, and an upstart ringer with a mysterious backer.

Someone would even kill for it. And does.

Enter lawyer sleuth Rebecca Schwartz, whose client is her own partner, glamorous Chris Nicholson, Martinelli’s main squeeze before the ill-starred auction.

Rebecca noshes her way through the case in hilariously unorthodox style, tasting some great bread along the way, but also uncovering so many ancient jealousies, long-simmering feuds, and seething resentments that she barely escapes death by doughball.


The slapstick style, over-the-top action, and witty dialogue make Rebecca Schwartz an easy choice for fans of Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Bond, Dorothy Cannell, Elizabeth Peters, Sarah Strohmeyer, and Jennifer Crusie.

At 12:45, Bob Tosi stretched, looked at his watch, and said he had a lunch date. “I expect the rest of you do, too,” he said. “Why don’t we leave together and set another date for the auction? I’m sure Mr. Martinelli must have gotten tied up or he’d have been here by now.”

“May as well,” said Thompson, rising and straightening his tie.

Tony rose without a word.

Only Sally seemed reluctant. She continued to sit a bit longer, looking as if she were trying to think of something to say. After a moment, she got up and left with the others.

Chris was dialing Peter’s number before they were out the door. She put down the receiver, sighing. “No answer.”

“Look,” I said, “I’ll go out and get sandwiches.” She nodded.

“I’ll go with you,” said Rob. It was obvious Chris needed to be alone.

We came back with three pastramis on rye and three Cokes. Rob ate all of his, I managed half of mine, and Chris stared into space while we ate. Every now and then she’d pick up half her sandwich and stare at it instead of the horizon, but she never got as far as biting into it.

She called Peter’s again. No answer. “I’m going over there.”

“Chris, you can't—”

“Rebecca, this is no time to be cool.”

Rob looked baffled, but I had to give Chris credit. She’d put her finger on the very thing I was thinking—when your boyfriend stands you up, you shouldn’t go spying on him or he might get the idea you like him. Maybe I’d never grow up.

“I guess not,” I said. “I think we should all go.”

She didn’t protest.

Peter didn’t answer his doorbell, and the manager didn’t answer hers. But just as we were about to give up, a woman who recognized Chris came in from walking her dog and let us in. We climbed the two flights of smelly stairs to Peter’s apartment and knocked. He didn’t answer. Chris tried the door—and jumped back when it opened.

Rob pushed it wide enough to see what police call “signs of a struggle.” A lamp was knocked over, and one of Peter’s charcoal drawings hung askew, as if someone had fallen against the wall. The furniture was like that, too—sort of pushed around and out of place. Peter was sitting on the couch, staring at us. He was wearing a white terrycloth robe with a number of bullet holes in it. Peter’s blood had run out of his chest and

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