June 23 , 2007


A Novel


BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jim Lehrer's Tension City.
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Cuisine and Empire

Rachel Laudan tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the world’s great cuisines—from the mastery of grain cooking some twenty thousand years ago, to the present—in this superbly researched book. Probing beneath the apparent confusion of dozens of cuisines to reveal the underlying simplicity of the culinary family tree, she shows how…

April 1956: Climbing aboard the Sante Fe railroad’s famous Super Chief is an amazing spectrum of passengers. There’s Darwin Rinehart, a once great Hollywood producer who now faces bankruptcy. In a dark recess of a train car hides a mysterious, disheveled man who has not paid for a ticket, smuggled inside by an unscrupulous porter. Millionaire Otto Wheeler arrives in a wheelchair; deathly ill, he knows that this will be his last trip on the great train. Clark Gable causes a stir when he steps aboard, and though he’s ridden these rails for years, indulging in booze and women with equal fervor, those around him sense that this time, something is different. And finally there’s former President Harry Truman, distinguished, congenial, and constantly accompanied by a railroad detective.

As the Super Chief pulls out of Dearborn Station, the passengers—famous and infamous, anonymous and enigmatic—can’t possibly imagine what lies ahead. For as the train gains speed, a series of deadly events unfolds.

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