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'SOMEONE IS KILLING...' AGAIN

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Tuxedoed waiters were plying the book-party guests with attitude, champagne, and caviar, while Nan Lyons, about to autograph a copy of Someone Is Killing the Great Chefs of America, stood in New York City’s posh Pierre Hotel chewing on her lip. ”Honey,” she murmured to her coauthor and husband, Ivan, ”How do you spell delicious?” A funny question, considering that the sequel to the 1976 international best-seller Someone Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe again uses food as fodder for the sleuthing adventures of pastry chef Natasha O’Brien. So what took so long for the Manhattan authors to return to their popular cheesecake heroine? They were waiting for the American eating scene to heat up. ”We didn’t have a restaurant explosion here until the ’80s,” says Nan, who, along with her husband, wrote Champagne Blues, Sold! and The President Is Coming to Lunch in the meantime. ”Now it’s the age of the American chef as superstar,” adds Ivan. The authors, married for 35 years, even got six culinary celebrities (including Wolfgang Puck and Paul Prudhomme) to script their own guest appearances for the book, describing what they would be wearing, saying, and cooking for a scene set in the White House kitchen. ”Movies have cameos, so we thought, why shouldn’t books?” says Nan. The original Chefs was spun out into the 1978 film starring Jacqueline Bisset, but so far the sequel has received nary a Hollywood nibble. ”It’s not exactly Home Alone 2,” admits Ivan, who sees the story more as made for TV. ”On the other hand, Merchant Ivory could do a very good job.”

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