A Mersey Killing - Brian L. Porter, Author

1:49 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves



Lancashire Hot Pot
(A Brian Special)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
325g chopped onion
675g cubed leg of lamb meat
1kg potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
30g butter
475ml chicken or lamb stock

Prep: 20 min., Cook Time: 2 hrs. 
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Saute onion until soft and deep golden in colour. Remove from pan and set aside. Add lamb to pan and fry (in batches if necessary) until a rich chestnut brown in colour, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain fat and reserve.
Preheat oven to 190 C / Gas mark 5.

Spread 1/2 of the potatoes in the bottom of a 22x33cm (9x13 in) baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place browned lamb and onions on top, then sprinkle with thyme and season to taste. Cover with remaining potatoes, season to taste and dot with butter. Pour stock over all.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Cook's note:

If hot pot is drying out while cooking, add more stock as needed. If it is browning too quickly, cover with aluminium foil.

A Mersey Killing - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds: A Book and A Dish

When an old wharf and dockside warehouse renovation uncovers the skeletal remains of a murder victim, Detective Inspector Andy Ross and his team are given just over a week to determine who the remains belonged to or drop the mystery as a cold case.  After all, it had been a cold case for over 30 years now so how could they possibly determine who the victim was much less who the killer was.

Judging by their research the body had to have been there from around the 1960s.  Dental records from that far back were slim in help without a name to go with the teeth.  The victim did have a break in the leg but again, there were probably hundreds of kids who broke their leg in the same area of this break.  This was becoming a helpless mystery that may never be solved, that is until two brothers walked in to see if the remains might be those of their sister who disappeared in 1966.

Apparently she and her boyfriend had made plans to go to America in hopes of him pursuing a career in music.  He and the two brothers, along with another young man had formed a band that simply wasn't going anywhere.  They were called Brendan Kane and the Planets and Brendan was the boyfriend.  When the group broke up Brendan decided to go solo but knew he, just like the Beatles, he would only make it big if he went to America.  Then one day he and the sister, Marie, disappeared.  Hopefully they were in America living a comfortable life but the brothers had a bad feeling that Marie never made it to America and was instead dead.

So, is the body that of Marie?  Or could it be the body of Brendan?  As the team put their clues and facts together they find themselves faced not only with the bones from the past but also with a murder that takes place just within a few days of finding the remains and yes the two are very well connected.

I've read everything written by Brian L. Porter and he has never left me disappointed but always wanting more and this book was no exception.  I must admit that I had a clue after a certain character appeared within the book but still would have never guessed the final ending.  This book kept me turning the pages as the action moved smoothly between the 1960s and the 1990s in such a way you were led from one era to the other without noticing the changes in time, making the whole story a seamless roller coaster of memories of times past.   So keep writing Mr. Porter. You have a fan for life in me.

Devil's Pawn - Marilyn Levinson, Author

12:56 PM Posted by Martha A Cheves




Marilyn’s Gazpacho

According to Wikipedia: “Gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold, usually with a tomato base, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.” That said, soups and stews lend themselves to personal interpretation. Here is my version of gazpacho, with careful attention to taste and prep time.

24 ounces of tomato or V-8 juice
4 tomatoes
2 cucumbers or 3 kirbys, seeded and peeled
1 red pepper, cored and seeded
½ - 1 Vidalia Onion (to taste)
2 -3 garlic cloves (to taste)
2 tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
A few sprigs of fresh parsley
A few sprigs of fresh cilantro
Salt & pepper to taste

Cut up tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, onion, and garlic into small pieces and put into food processor, one ingredient at a time. Add oil, parsley, cilantro,  salt and pepper. When mixture is coarsely chopped or smooth according to your taste, pour mixture into large bowl. Stir in juice. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours. When serving, offer cut-up pieces of scallion and croutons for topping.



Devil's Pawn - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

He pointed to a chair, but I remained standing near the doorway.  His office gave off negative vibes that kept me on my guard.  I didn't much like this relative who had shown up out of the blue at the high school I'd been attending back in Pennsylvania.  He’d had the right credentials and looked enough like my dad to convince me he was my father's older brother.  Since I'd just lost my immediate family, I had no choice but to come live with Raymond Davenport and his wife in upstate New York.

Simon Porte has lost his mother, father and younger sister.  He has no family until his Uncle Raymond shows up to take him into his home and make him the son he and Aunt Mary had never had.  At least that's what he thinks is the case. But after living with them for a short period of time he finds Uncle Raymond a bit strange. Even a little frightening.  But what can a 15 year old do? Run away? Where to? There’s no one to take him in.  And to make matters worse, he discovers he has a great-aunt named Lucinda who looks like the witch in some of the story books he and his sister Lucy used to read.

A young girl Simon taught to swim in the day camp where he works is murdered. Could someone in his 'strange' family have something to do with this girl's death?


Author Marilyn Levinson has entertained me in the past with her creative writing, but this book has to be the best yet.  I sat up late at night just turning page after page.  Hopefully she'll writes a sequel to this character which I can't wait to read.  This is truly a 'Give me More' book.

Read more books by Marilyn Levinson by going to her Amazon site.