Puzzles: Another Death & What Do You Call This Sandwich? (Part Three)

“A third death in three weeks?” New Orleans homicide detective Jordan Booth asked his friend, Trent Marshall. “All in the same hospital with the same overdose of the same pain killer? Sounds like there’s a cultivador de la muerte at work.” Trent looked at Jordan with surprise.

“When did you learn to speak Spanish?” he asked.

“I pick things up occasionally from customers,” the homicide detective said with a smile.

It was a mild day in New Orleans with a light drizzle of rain. Trent and Jordan were enjoying French 75 cocktails as they sat under the shelter of the upstairs gallery in the old house on Governor Nicholls Street. Trent’s wife, Darcey Anderson, and Ivy Ford, the elderly black lady who became Trent’s surrogate mother when his own parent died unexpectedly young, were in the kitchen preparing dinner.

“Anonymous tips to the press seem to be popular these days,” Jordan said, “but they are usually about political issues. Why would someone want to purposely draw attention to a potential serial killer?”

“Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?” Trent mused.

“Yeah, and since you’ve convinced me that there’s no such thing as a coincidence, I also wonder if the anonymous tip came from our serial killer.” Jordan concluded. “Who was the latest victim?”

“A woman who had a tonsillectomy,” Trent said. “Usually done in childhood. More painful for adults but usually not painful enough to require heavy painkillers. In fact, no painkillers had been ordered for this woman.”

“That pretty much tells the story then, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, I think so,” Trent replied. “Looks like we have a serial killer at work in Anchorage and he wants attention. And it’s probably someone who works at the hospital. Or has easy access.”

At Darcey’s call, they went downstairs to join her and Ivy in the dining room where a stack of sandwiches waited.

“This is a good sandwich, Darcey,” Jordan said. “What do you call it?”

Darcey laughed.

“I don’t know,” she said. “We had some ground beef. And we had some reindeer sausage we brought back from Alaska. We ground up the sausage and mixed it with the hamburger.”

“We thought about making some slaw but didn’t have any cabbage,” Ivy added.

“We had kimchi though!” Darcey said. “So the sandwiches are part burger, part Alaska sausage, with a little Asian fusion. I have no idea what to call them.”

“Kimchi?” Jordan said with surprise.

“Ivy loves it,” Darcey laughed. “She always has kimchi.”

“It makes a good afternoon snack when I’m watching my shows,” Ivy said, proudly.

Jordan Baron’s Mystery Sandwich

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground beef

What do you call this sandwich?

2 links reindeer sausage, ground

Salt & pepper to taste

kimchi

hamburger buns

Combine ketchup, brown sugar, and garlic. Stir to mix well.

Mix the hamburger and ground sausage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook in a non stick skillet until browned, probably nine or ten minutes. Add ketchup mixture. Stir to combine and cook for another minute or two.

Serve on hamburger buns topped with kimchi to taste.

As Jordan would say, “Bon temps!”

Another Death. Is It Murder? Darcey Considered It While Making Stuffed King Crab (Part Two)

Back in New Orleans Darcey searched the online Anchorage paper every morning. While they were still in Alaska a woman in one of the city’s hospitals was killed by an overdose of pain killer. It might have been an accident. But it was suspicious because the dead woman was scheduled to be the key witness in the upcoming trial of another woman, a notorious criminal.

Two weeks after their return from Anchorage, a second article appeared.

Another patient died in the same hospital as the first. Killed by an overdose of intravenous pain killer. John Manetti, however, had been terminally ill. Was his death a suicide? Could this really have been a rare coincidence?

She would show the article to Trent as she had the first. He didn’t believe in coincidence. But a terminally ill patient dying in a hospital in which another patient had been murdered, and by the same method, might not be a coincidence. But the latest victim might have got the idea from the murder. Not a coincidence but perhaps a copy cat.

Meanwhile, it was time to get busy in the kitchen. They had brought king crab south with them and she knew it was best to use it quickly.

Darcey Anderson’s Stuffed King Crab

2 king crab legs

1/4 cup butter

1/2 onion, minced

1 rib celery, minced

1/2 roasted red pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons green onion, chopped

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon white wine

1 cup bread crumbs, divided

1 egg, beaten

Stuffed King Crab

salt & pepper to taste

Break the crab legs into sections. Cut the shells with scissors, leaving a finger-sized opening the length of each section. Remove the meat from each section and mince it. Set the shells aside.

Melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the onion, celery, and red pepper until they are soft and starting to take on color. Add the green onion and parsley. Cook a minute or two longer. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any bits that are stuck to the bottom.

Remove from the heat. Mix in the crab and 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Add the beaten egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well.

Stuff the leg sections with the crab salad. Place cut sides up in an oven proof dish. Sprinkle generously with additional bread crumbs.

Bake in a 400 degree oven until the bread crumbs are browned, about ten or fifteen minutes.

As Darcey would say in New Orleans, “Bon temps!”


Murder and Oyster Stew on a Cold Alaska Winter Day (Part One)

Darcey laid the newspaper aside and stared out the large windows at the snow-covered view from their penthouse on the edge of Bootlegger’s Cove in Anchorage. The article she had read had her considering its meaning.

A patient at the city’s largest hospital had died from an overdose of fentanyl. Debbie Ziering recently underwent gallbladder surgery, a relatively minor but very painful procedure. But that wasn’t what attracted Darcey’s attention.

Ziering had been the only eye witness in the trial that resulted in the conviction of Aurora Henning for multiple heinous crimes. Darcey didn’t know Henning but had seen her. It was hard to miss the woman, Darcey thought, since she played the role of the popinjay. Her arrogance was, at the least, offensive.

The entire city, it seemed, had breathed a sigh of relief at the woman’s conviction. Her lawyers had already filed an appeal. Now if that motion was granted the star witness would no longer be available. It was possible the charges would be dismissed and Henning would again be free to threaten the peace of the city.

She would show the article to Trent when he got home. But first, it was time to make oyster stew.

Darcey’s Oyster Stew

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 green onions, chopped

Darcey’s Oyster Stew

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons white wine

3 tablespoons flour

oysters (2 8 – 10 ounce jars, drained with liquid reserved)

milk

1 cup heavy cream

Worcestershire

cayenne, salt, & coarsely ground black pepper to taste

In a heavy stock pot or large sauce pan, saute the green onions and parsley over medium heat in one tablespoon of melted butter and one tablespoon of olive oil until the vegetables are soft and taking on color.

Deglaze the pot with the wine. Let the wine simmer until it is almost completely reduced.

Melt the remaining three tablespoons of butter. Add the flour and stir to make a white sqauce. When the white sauce has reached the desired consistensy, mix the reserved oyster liquid with enough milk to make two cups. Pour into the pot and add the oysters. Cook briefly, only until the oysters have begun to curl.

Add the heavy cream and several dashes of Worcestershire. Season to taste with cayenne, salt, and pepper.

Heat thoroughly for a few minutes but don’t let the liquid come to a boil.

Stay warm!