To serve society or humanity? It's been fourteen years since the basketball-mad detective Fran Obrien captured the urban bomber Lavi, who has since moved to Spain and rehabilitated himself beyond recognition. Fran is fresh off a two-year sabbatical, during which he tended to 11-year-old Ben, the family comedian, and 17-year-old Alice, with, yes, as much attitude as you’d expect. His estranged boss Karl has retired and Fran must learn to deal with the new brass – no small task itself.
His first assignment is to investigate an act of alleged political corruption which seems more wild goose chase than duck in a barrel, leading him to question his decision to return to work. After an extended-family culinary expedition to Budapest, Fran's nine-to-five job takes him ‘almost’ to Albany and to Central America, where he must untangle the mother of all webs. His wife, local family doctor Darby, goes along for the ride, and, oh, piña coladas "to die for." For a detective and amateur gourmet chef like no other, Cookbook for a New Europe is a ride Fran certainly didn't expect. He’s been fiercely focused for years, but a spate of unintended yet momentous events unfolds once he gives free rein to his emotions, and his recipes.