The Diva Spices It Up (A Domestic Diva Mystery #13) - Krista Davis

Chapter 1

Dear Sophie,

My mother-in-law takes great pride in her cooking. But it’s so hot that I can’t eat it. Seriously, my tongue goes numb. I watch the others eat with gusto. Do you think she’s adding something to my plate so I won’t come to dinner at her house?

Mrs. Numb Tongue in Hazardville, Connecticut

Dear Mrs. Numb Tongue,

Next time, surreptitiously swap plates with your husband. I think you’ll have your answer soon enough.


Daisy, my hound mix, sniffed along the bank of the Potomac River following her nose. She wore a halter and a long leash so she could wander in the park. I let her investigate scents that I couldn’t smell and trailed along after her.

A breeze blew off the Potomac. The summer humidity was beginning to abate, and the air already held the promise of brisk days ahead. Sun glinted off the water as it rippled with the wind.

Daisy had stayed with my ex-husband, Mars, for the last four weeks. I had promised her a long walk and a visit to the river as soon as I wrapped up a marathon of events. As a self-employed event planner, I realized that I had scheduled myself non-stop, without so much as a hint of a breather, but when you work for yourself, sometimes you just have to keep going while the opportunity is there.

Mars had thoughtfully brought Daisy to my house earlier in the day. When I arrived home in the afternoon, sweet Daisy had been waiting for me. I had quickly swapped my suit for stretchy jeans and taken her for that long-promised stroll while I wound down.

A shout from the pier alarmed both of us. On this beautiful Sunday afternoon in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, quite a few people were out walking or fishing. Daisy tugged me in the direction of the pier, and I went willingly, thinking someone might need help.

“I’ve caught something huge!” The man was a stranger to me, into retirement age and well fed. “Must be a catfish. It’s fighting like the dickens! Here, can you hold on to my fishing rod? Good and tight now. That’s my lucky one.”

I took it from his hands and immediately felt the pressure of the fish. The rod bent precariously. I hoped it wouldn’t snap in two. “This is really heavy. Can the fishing line take this much pressure?”

“I sure hope so. He’s a big one. Keep reeling in. I’ll try to snag it with my fishing net. . . .”

He had stopped talking, and I understood why. I didn’t know of any blue fish that came with a handle on top.

He lay down on the pier, and as the object came within reach, he nabbed it with a bony hand.

I kneeled on the rough wood and helped him pull a blue suitcase out of the water.

The man looked at me with rheumy eyes. “I have no idea how to cook this.”

I giggled. “Do you think it’s packed full or just waterlogged?”

“We’re about to find out.” He clicked the latches and opened the top. “Mmm. This is a pretty skirt. But it’s not my size.”

He was very cute. I found myself smiling even though I was wondering why and how a woman’s suitcase had come to be in the Potomac River. “I think we’d better report this to the police.”

He stared at me with obvious confusion. “I don’t think they’ll be interested.”

“Don’t you find it odd that someone’s suitcase is in the river?”

The fellow scratched his head. “Well, now that you mention it, I can’t think of a good reason for it to be there among the fishes.”

I called the Old Town Alexandria police department on my cell phone and told them about the suitcase.

“Ma’am,” said the 911 operator, “is this an emergency?”

I winced. “No.”

“No one is drowning?”

“No. But why would someone lose a suitcase in the river?”

The operator laughed aloud. “Why would there be garbage, motorcycles, or furniture? People are slobs. One lady dumped her husband’s golf clubs in the river to get back at him for seeing another woman.”

Clearly, this was not a priority for them. “Thank you for your time.” I hung up. “I guess it’s yours if you want it.”

The old fellow was peering into the water. “I can’t see anything. Do you think the owner is down there, too?”

I hoped not.

He stood up and held out his hand. “Sam Bamberger.”

“Sophie Winston. Can I help you carry it to your car?”

“Naw. I’m old, but I can still carry a lady’s suitcase. Even if it is