Vanishing Act in Vegas - Morgan St. James, Phyllice Bradner, Authors

2:30 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves

 
Lamb Chops with Sweet Rice
(This is one of those “take a handful of this and a pinch of that” recipes handed down from my mother. I’ve tried to translate it into real quantities, but feel free to take creative license. It has been one of my favorites for years... Morgan St. James  Phyllice Bradner)

4 to 6 Shoulder Lamb Chops
2 cups of instant brown rice
1-1/2 cups of water (after trying this recipe, you might want to adjust the amount of water to make the rice firmer or fluffier)
1/2 cup of golden raisins
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Sprinkling of cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the uncooked instant rice, raisins, chopped onion, water and cinnamon and place in the bottom of an oblong pyrex baking pan - size depends upon how many chops you use. You can also add sliced mushrooms and/or pine nuts as an option. Salt and pepper the chops to taste and arrange on top of the rice mixture. Cover the pan with tinfoil and bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes. Time might vary due to the oven. The chops will be baked through, the rice will be fluffy and the flavor from the lamb seeps into the rice. There is a slight Mediterranean flavor to this dish.

Vanishing Act in Vegas (A Silver Sisters Crime Caper) – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of A Book and A Dish, Think With Your Taste Buds and Stir, Laugh, Repeat.

Poor Torch.  He finally lands a great contract as a special effects director in Las Vegas, bought a condo with a view of the strip and his grandmother and great uncle are planning on paying him a visit to help him ‘settle in.’  He loves them both but he also knows them very well.  Both are retired magicians and trouble seems to be what they conjure up the most. 

“Well, Mom, the last of my stuff is loaded.  I just wanted to say goodbye before I take off.”  She kissed him on the cheek, sensing her son couldn’t wait to hotfoot-it out the door and begin his life as a swinging bachelor.  Sterling turned the sound back on, but Flossie grabbed the remote and turned it off again.  She looked at her grandson and smiled sweetly.  “So, tottelah, your Uncle Sterling and I will be there in two, maybe three days.  You know your uncle is afraid to fly so we’ll just tune up the Caddy tomorrow and be on our way.”  “Whaa-“ Torch stared at her blankly.  “Torch, honey, you’ll need help getting things in order, and no one does that better than your Uncle Sterling and me.  I’ll set up your closets and kitchen and cook some good Jewish meals for your freezer and Uncle Sterling can putter around and help you hang pictures and do little odd jobs.”  Torch looked to his mother in desperation.  Flossie jumped up and tweaked him on the cheek.  “Look, Sterling, he’s so happy we’re coming, he’s speechless.  Good thing you bought a three bedroom.  I guess we’ll stay for three or four days.  Who knows, maybe longer if we get lucky.  Magic acts are big in Vegas again.” 

Torch’s mother Godiva Silver DuBois and his mother’s twin sister Goldie Silver decide to take a trip to Vegas too.  Godiva is a famous advice to the lovelorn columnist who’s column is called Ask G.O.D.’  She is also the millionaire widow of Max DuBois which gives her the time and money to do whatever she wants at any given time.  Goldie is an over-the-hill hippi antique dealer from Juneau, Alaska and Godiva can easily afford to treat Goldie to the trip to Vegas.

Godiva loves to write her column but her favorite hobby is dabbling into the mysteries of crime with her twin sister.  So, when Goldie flew to Vegas from her home in Alaska the two twins put their heads together to solve the murder of Mara  the Magnificent.  What the twins also discover is that Mara isn’t just a magician, she is also Torch’s girlfriend and she has a secret that blows them all away!

I fell in love with the Silver Sisters after reading A Corpse in the Soup.  Their antics as well as those of their mother Flossie and their Uncle Sterling will keep you laughing along as you try to solve the murder that they always seem to step into.  Vanishing Act in Vegas was one that really lost me as an amateur reader detective.  Every time I thought I knew who had done what to who and why, I found myself scratching my head to come up with another solution because my original was all wrong.  I couldn’t help but wish I knew these people.  They were so much fun to be around even when they found themselves in trouble. 

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