Rubbed Out (A Memphis BBQ Mystery)

Praise for the

Memphis BBQ Mysteries

“Don’t let that folksy facade fool you. Lulu Taylor is one intrepid amateur sleuth.”

—Laura Childs,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Sweet Tea Revenge

“Lulu Taylor serves up the best barbeque in Memphis. Never been to her restaurant, Aunt Pat’s? Well then, pick up a copy of Riley Adams’s enjoyable
Delicious and Suspicious
, slide into a booth, and follow Lulu as she tracks down a killer with the help of her wacky friends and family. You’ll feel transported to Beale Street. Oh, and did I mention the mouthwatering recipes at the end?”

—Julie Hyzy,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Fonduing Fathers

“A saucy Southern mystery!”

—Krista Davis, national bestselling author of
The Diva Frosts a Cupcake

“Riley Adams’s first book,
Delicious and Suspicious
, adds a dash of Southern humor to a sauté of murder and mayhem that is as good as cold banana pudding on a hot summer day. Lulu Taylor is a hoot! I look forward to reading the next book in the Memphis BBQ series!”

—Joyce Lavene, coauthor of
A Haunting Dream


Publishers Weekly

“An entertaining read . . . Just like the pork barbeque and spicy corn muffins that fill the bellies of the fictitious patrons of Aunt Pat’s, the Southern flavor is what makes this novel unique. The characters live and breathe on the page, not as stereotypes of Southerners but as colorful personalities that complement the Memphis setting.”

Romance Novel News

“Entertaining…Readers will find themselves immersed in the Memphis barbeque scene.”

Fresh Fiction

Berkley Prime Crime titles by Riley Adams






Riley Adams


Published by the Penguin Group

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A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author

Copyright © 2013 by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group.

PRIME CRIME and the PRIME CRIME logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-62444-9


Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / July 2013

Interior text design by Laura K. Corless.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.

To my family


Thanks to everyone who helped me research and write this book. Thanks especially to Neil Gallagher, pit master from the Too Sauced to Pork championship BBQ team, for giving me the lowdown on the workings of Memphis festivals. To my agent, Ellen Pepus, and editor, Adrienne Avila, for their invaluable support and help with the novel. Thanks to my family for their encouragement, love, and patience.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18

“Lulu, I just want to string this guy up.”

Lulu’s friend Cherry was polishing off a barbeque plate and waving her fork around in the air to punctuate her tirade. They were sitting in great wooden rocking chairs on the front porch of Lulu’s barbeque restaurant, Aunt Pat’s, for what should have been a very relaxing lunch. But Cherry was wound up tighter than a top. Her plastic fuchsia and lime green bangles jangled on her wrist as she waved her arm around.

“And that’s because you don’t like the way this Reuben looks?” asked Lulu with a frown. “That doesn’t really sound like you, Cherry.”

“It’s not just that. Well, I don’t like his sneering grins, but that’s not the only problem. It’s his attitude. He acts
like he’s God’s gift to barbeque. He’s completely convinced that he’s got this barbeque competition in the bag. That rascal struts around like he’s this amazing cook and tells us we don’t know what we’re doing. Makes me so mad, I could spit. He rubs everyone the wrong way.”

“Sounds like a real winner,” said Lulu with a sigh.

Cherry said dejectedly, “Maybe he will be a winner. That’s another big problem. He’s a good cook, I hear. But he’s so unbearable that I don’t see how anybody could stomach the food and listen to his mouth at the same time. He’s so ultracompetitive. The other folks that I know who entered the Rock and Ribs barbeque competition want to have fun, hang out with friends, and pig out on some great food. Winning a prize is really the last thing on their minds. This fella is all about the winning.”

“Is the rest of his team just as bad, or are at least a few of the people in his booth okay?” asked Lulu, rocking gently as she listened.

Cherry licked a little onion ring off her fingers and said, “He’s got a couple of teammates, but it looks to me like he does most of the work himself. And a lot of the bossing around himself. There’s a man named Brody and his wife, Sharon. They seem irritated most of the time, but then they’re hanging out with Reuben all day, so that could be why.”

“Completely understandable,” said Lulu.

“There were a couple of others who made up the rest
of the team at first, but Reuben was so impossible that they haven’t been back. It doesn’t really matter, though, since we’re all Patio Porkers and aren’t in the major competition. You only need a few people for the Patio Porkers since we’re only cooking spare ribs and competing against other small booths.”

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