As Minnesota housewives race to meet the deadline for the Times Register's meat loaf contest, an unsavory small-towner named Kirby Runbeck is blown to smithereens by a car bomb.|
Days later, the town's former mayor, John Washburn, near death from a stroke, confesses to the killing. His wife and two children vehemently deny it, but when Sophie Greenway, food maven and friend of the family, happens upon an old snapshot, a bundle of letters, and a tattoo of a red-eyed snake, she wonders about Washburn's innocence. Unlike the recipe for a prize meat loaf, this murder is seasoned with spicy secrets and a generous portion of scandal, which Sophie dares to bring to a roiling boil. . . .