top of page
leslie cuke martini

Author Photo: Robin McDuff

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. She spent her early years in various locales (Columbus, Ohio; South America and Mexico; Oxford, England; and Santa Monica, California), then moved from Southern California to Santa Cruz to study English literature and Romance languages at UCSC (home of the Fighting Banana Slugs).


Leslie was able to parlay her humanities degree into employment waiting tables and singing in a new wave rock and roll band. Exciting though this life was, however, she eventually decided she was ready for a “real” job, and ended up at Stanford Law School.

Having survived the horror that is the California bar exam, Leslie then worked for twenty years as the research and appellate attorney for a civil law firm in Santa Cruz County. During this period, she rediscovered a passion for food and cooking, and so once more returned to school—this time to earn a degree in culinary arts from Cabrillo College.


Now retired from the law, in addition to writing, she spends her days cooking (and eating!), gardening, cycling, and observing cocktail hour promptly at five o'clock. Leslie and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Hilo, Hawai‘i, and Santa Cruz, California.

bottom of page