This is Meg Riley’s interpretation of the famous line, “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine-and thou” from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Meg is well educated but shuns traditional literature in favor of her own thoughts. In preparation for a visit from State Police Investigator Hugh Doherty, Meg decides her frosty, hold-him-at-arm’s length attitude isn’t going to gain Doherty’s cooperation and she is desperate for information regarding her friend, and chief murder suspect, Clare Meyer.
Since Hugh has a penchant for arriving at mealtimes, Meg has strategized for his upcoming evening visit. The frost is on the pumpkin at Monk Lake and the fall crops are bountiful. Doherty is due at her house around 5. A pot of roasted apple and butternut squash soup is simmering on the back burner of the stove. Freshly picked kale has been rinsed and dried; it awaits a quick toss with olive oil and sea salt before crisping in the oven. Beautiful romaine and mesclun are tossed, ready to be dressed with a red wine vinaigrette. And there is a fresh baguette sprinkled with herbes de provence and layered with brie to be popped under the broiler until crispy and bubbly.
In the snug living room, a fire warms the hearth. The firelight dances through the room, shadows play on the walls, accentuated by soft music. The cut glass pitcher, a prized possession of her grandfather’s, stands by well-heeled bottles of vodka and vermouth. Meg is interested to know if Hugh wants his drink shaken or stirred, dirty or straight; cocktail onions and olives are at the ready. With nervous hands, Meg places cocktail napkins on the tiger maple coffee table. A car turns into the driveway. Will her hospitality gain her access to information about Clare or will it yield far different results?