Death of a Crabby CookI knew it was going to be a bad day when
1. I lost my job as a restaurant critic at the San Francisco Chronicle
2. I had to go to work in my Aunt Abby’s food truck and
3. my aunt was wielding a knife. . .

I could have used a big, gooey cream puff.

Actually, it hadn’t been a great year, either. After catching my ex —Trevor the Tool— fooling around with another woman, I left our apartment and moved into my aunt’s Airstream parked at the side of her house. Could things get any worse?

As a matter of fact, they did. My Aunt Abby came very close to being jailed for murder.

Of course, that’s not a typical day for me. But it was the day I began my new “career” as assistant to my sixty-something aunt, a former cafeteria lady, in her “Big Yellow School Bus” food truck. It was my job to help her serve such comfort foods as “Cheerleader Mac and Cheese,” “Teacher Tuna Casserole,” and “Principal Pot Pie.”

That’s when I got the idea to write a cookbook filled with recipes from these colorful and creative trucks. The only trouble is, I don’t cook. But I do eat, and being a former restaurant critic, I know good food when I taste it. So I thought, why not write a book? With names like “India Jones,” “Conehead,” “Humpty Dumpling,” and “The Coffee Witch,” serving up such fares as Masala Nachos, Garlic Ice Cream, Great Balls of Fire, and Voodoo Ventes, how could I go wrong?

Yes, for now, I’m living in an RV, working in a food truck, and crushing on the dream puff guy while I try to work on my soon-to-be bestselling cookbook. I only wish dead bodies didn’t keep popping up to distract me. I never dreamed the food truck business would be so cutthroat!

But during the annual San Francisco Seafood Festival, the cantankerous, brick-and-mortar chef, Oliver Jameson was found dead after eating poisoned crab bisque. And everyone had overheard Aunt Abby threatening him with that big knife. So when she suddenly became the chief suspect, I had to do what I could to keep her from serving her comfort food in the prison cafeteria. With the help of Aunt Abby’s annoying hacker son/college drop-out, Dillon, and disbarred lawyer-turned-cream puff baker, Jake, I should be able to get back to my bestseller soon.

Meanwhile, I’m going to need another one of those cream puffs to keep me going. . .

You can read more about Darcy in Death of a Crabby Cook, the first book in the new “Food Festival” mystery series, published by Obsidian.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on August 11 for the chance to win a print copy of DEATH OF A CRABBY COOK. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, unless specified.

Meet the author
Penny Warner has published over 60 books for both adults and children. Her first mystery series, beginning with DEAD BODY LANGUAGE, features Connor Westphal, a deaf reporter living in the California Gold Country. The book won a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery, and was nominated for an Agatha and an Anthony Award.

Her second mystery series, beginning with HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, features event planner, Presley Parker, and is set in the San Francisco Bay Area. Presley solves mysteries on Alcatraz, at the de Young Museum, at the Winchester Mystery House, in Colma, the City of Souls, and in the Napa wine country.

Her newest series, DEATH OF A CRABBY COOK, features Darcy Burnett, a former restaurant critic who now works in her eccentric Aunt Abby’s food truck and lives in an Airstream RV. The book features food trucks and food festivals, beginning with the San Francisco Seafood Festival, followed by the SF Chocolate Festival and the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Her middle-grade mystery series, THE CODE BUSTERS CLUB, won the Agatha Award for Best Children’s Mystery, and has been nominated for the World Mystery Anthony Award for Best Children’s Mystery. The series features four kids who solve mysteries by cracking codes in each chapter. The books are set in Berkeley, on Alcatraz, at the Carmel Mission, at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, and the International Spy Museum in Washington DC. Her non-fiction book, THE OFFICIAL NANCY DREW HANDBOOK, was nominated for an Agatha Award.

She writes a column for the local newspaper on family life in the Valley, creates fund-raising murder mystery events for libraries across the country, and teaches child development at Diablo Valley College. She can be reached at or her email.

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