Joanne Pence. To Catch a Cook (2000) 312 pp. [pbo]
Homicide detective Paavo Smith grew up believing his mother was a good time girl, who always dumped him and his sister with her neighbor when she decided not to play mommy. The only thing he has that was hers is a cheap cameo broach, which he gives to his San Francisco girlfriend Angie Amalfi, who treasures the gift that comes from Paavo’s heart. She wears it every day until the broach falls out of the setting. Angie takes it to a jeweler only to learn the piece is a valuable Russian antique that he wants to buy due to its museum-like quality. Angie refuses to sell it and the jeweler agrees to fix it. As soon as she leaves the store, the jeweler places a mysterious call that puts everyone connected to the cameo in danger. Paavo’s stepfather is in a hospital suffering from a coma after being shot in the head. The jeweler is dead. Finally, numerous efforts to kill Paavo and Angie occur. Paavo believes the current vendetta is tied to something his parents did three decades ago that impacts the Russian Mafia today.