Showing posts with label Murder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Murder. Show all posts

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Dream A Little Scream ( Dream Club Mystery Book 2) - Mary Kennedy, Author



Kahlua Brownies

(Author Mary Kennedy sent 200 pounds of these
to the troops in Iraq over a 3 month period)

½ cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup Kahlua

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
Step 2
In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder and kahlua. Spread batter into prepared pan.
Step 3

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  16 servings

Dream A Little Scream - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Ali and Taylor Blake are sisters.  Ali owns a candy Shop in Savannah, Ga called Oldies But Goodies.  Taylor arrived in Savannah a few months ago to find the vintage candy shop, just a couple of blocks off the Historic District, struggling.  Between the two sisters, changes were made, they invested in some marketing, added a cafe menu, and things were looking up.  They had bone from the red to the black and felt sure their changes would keep it that way.  That is until they agreed to host a book signing for cookbook author Sonia Scott.  The turnout was great and everything was going just as planned until Sonia starts complaining that her chest feels so tight she can hardly breathe.  Apparently she is allergic to cats, and Ali owns two.  But when Sonia's employee Olivia explains that it was something besides the cats, something much worse.  And when her EpiPen turns up missing, nine-one-one was called.  Apparently, Sonia is allergic to more than cats.  She is also allergic to nuts of any kind.  But everyone who made snacks for the signing knew this and would never have put nuts into their dishes, or would they.

Taylor and Ali are part of a group they call The Dream Club.  They meet weekly in the apartment above the shop, and they serve sweet tea, coffee, and a delicious array of pastries.  She calls the Dream Club members their "beta testers," and she adds the most popular items to the cafe menu downstairs.  With what has just happened to Sonia, it's time to call an emergency meeting of the club's members, which were all present at the signing anyway, to see if they could put their heads together and solve yet another mystery.

Dream A Little Scream had so many twists and turns that each time I thought I knew who the culprit was I found myself doubting my ability to determine the good guys, or gals, from the bad.  And I must say this is the norm for Author Mary Kennedy.  I've read just about everything she has written and am always hoping for more.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Death Orchid: Hawaii Thriller Book 2 - J. E. Trent, Author



Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

1 small package small elbow macaroni

1 cup mayonnaise (best foods is best)
1 tablespoon finely minced onions
2 tablespoons finely minced celery
1 small carrot finely minced
salt and pepper to taste.

Mix together and enjoy!

Death Orchid: A Sam and Jessica Novel (Hawaii Thriller Series Book 2) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Ivan Volkov's plan was for Jessica Kealoha to die a violent death while he watched it on his laptop computer in the air-conditioned comfort of his hotel room.  He had stalked Jessica for a week after he landed on the island.  The first thing he did was to attach a custom-built GPS track to her Jeep after he had followed her to the grocery store.

Fifteen minutes after picking up Aimee, Jessica turned off the highway and headed down the hill toward lower Keauhou.  Noticing her speed, she stepped on the brake pedal to slow down before the curve in the road ahead.  Nothing happened, except a sharp pang in her gut caused by the fear of not being able to stop.  She pressed the electronic parking brake switch with the same results, nothing.  They were headed down one of the steepest roads in Kona, Kam lll.  She and Aimee were most likely going to die if she couldn't get the jeep stopped before the bottom of the hill.

Jessica is a retired detective from California who has moved back to her home on the Islands.  She never expected to find herself in the position of having a hit put out for her by some of the most feared people in the world - the Russian Mofia. 

This book is full of action and will keep you turning the pages just to see what will happen next.  Plus, Author J. E. Trent writes with a quality that I rarely find.  He writes short chapters which, to me, makes reading much easier.  This book is also filled with vivid descriptions of the Islands, making you feel like you're there seeing them for yourself.  I've loved every book I've read by this author.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Death in Paradise - J. E. Trent, Author


How to Boil an Egg That is Easy to Peel
  1. Don't put eggs in pot until water is boiling. This is key. If you put eggs in water and bring to a boil the eggs will be hard to peel.
  2. Boil water. 
  3. Put eggs in and cover. 
  4. Let boiled 11 to 13 minutes.
  5. Put eggs in pan of cold water and let sit 5 miniutes. 
Boiled eggs will be easy to peel now. 


Death in Paradise - Review by Martha A. Cheves


As Jessica walked up the stairs leading to the front door, she could feel his presence.  Even though he wasn't there, she felt his spirit, and a warm feeling rushed over her as she walked through the front door.  Jessica felt the mana to her core.  The house was like he always kept it.  Neat, but nothing fancy  It was typical Hawaiian style, with rattan wicker furniture and a canoe paddle hanging on the wall in the living room.  The decor was an early vacation rental, except for the front door, which had a Mako shark carved into it.  Since the mana of the shark was important in Hawaiian culture, her dad figured it was a good omen for the place.

Mike Murphy had taken his plane out only to have it crash in the lava pits.  His daughter Jessica went to work for the Los Angeles Police after leaving the islands.  The death of her father had her, as well as her two sisters Pua and Jasmine.  He was always one for safety and checked his plain from end to end before flying.  So, how could this have happened.

After going home to the island Jessica found there were several reasons that may have caused her father's death.  The biggest one was a man named Mr. Lau.  He was a Chinese billionaire from Macau and he had been buying up property all over Hawaii in the hopes combining his property Ming with Murphy's Aloha Village and creating a gambling casino when gambling became legal in Hawaii.  Problem was, Mike Murphy refused to sell.

This book is a fast moving novel that is filled with VERY believable and possible happenings.  It digs into corruption of not only the police but those higher up too.  The characters are believable due to Trent making them 'human' with problems of everyday life.  It also give you some of the history of the islands.  I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading book 2 in the Sam and Jessica Crime Novels.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction - Amy Metz, Author


Better Than Sex Cake

1
box chocolate cake mix
2 medium eggs
1/4 c water
3/4 c oil
1 pkg 10.5 oz tub caramel
4 pkg heath bars
1 pkg whipped topping

Directions
1. Bake cake as directed on box
2. Let set for 5 - 10 minutes or until warm
3. Poke holes with fork or knife
4. Cover with caramel, let set for 3 - 5 minutes
5. Top with cool whip and cover with Heath bars (crumbled) or Heath chips


Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction - Review by Martha A. Cheves


"But Squirt, the man had evidence.  He told me so, right before I killed him.  I laughed at him at the time.  Laughed right in his face; thought he was bluffing.  He said he took precautions and one day the world was going to know what a yellow-bellied coward I was.  It wasn't until after I killed him that I found the note in his pocket.  It said, 'Maye, if you're reading this I must be dead.  Look in the chest, Maye.  It's all there.' Of course I threw the note away and his woman never knew about it.  But I know he was telling the truth.  He had something, some kind of proof.  I'm afraid it's going to surface some day and ruin all y'alls lives.  Look in his house.  Promise me, Squirt, that you'll find and destroy the eidence before it destroys our family.  I don't want y'all saddled with my dirty deeds for the rest of your life.  Promise me...find the evidence John Hobb hid, and promise me you'll destroy it."  "I promise, Papa," the young man said, followed by a sob from his throat.

Tess Tremaine is a recent divorcee that was looking for a new place to start a new life for herself.  She found that new life in a small town called Goose Pimple Junction.  All goes well for her as she starts to get to know the people, with one exception and that exception is the language.  She found that just because you meet someone, which is called 'howdied' doesn't mean you've really met them until you 'shook.'  Or when someone tells you to 'get your straw out of my Kool-Aid' it means to mind your own business.  And you'll never guess what you ordered when the waitress calls out for the cook to 'Burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it.'  That one is really quite simple.  It's a hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion.  These are just some of the life changes Tess must get use to if she expects to find her life in Goose Pimple Junction.  She also has to solve a mystery that seems to revolve around a key that she found in her new home.

This book switches from the 1930's to the present with happenings way back then still taking a hold on the town and its residents.  The language, both past and present kept me laughing, as did some of the names but when I read the acknowledgements for this book I learned that the happenings from the 30's were actually true.  The present, not so much but both still made for a very enjoyable read.  I found myself hurting for some of the characters of the past but for the most part, laughing when it came to the now day characters.  Now I'm ready to read Book 2 in this series which is titled Heroes and Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Glastonbury - Brian L. Porter, Author


Somerset chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
salt and freshly ground black pepper 
75g/2½oz butter, plus extra to serve
3 tbsp olive oil 
2 onions, peeled, sliced
4 tbsp plain flour 
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 dessert apples, peeled, cores removed, sliced into batons
110g/4oz button mushrooms,  sliced
250ml/9fl oz chicken stock 
300ml/10½fl oz cider 
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage 
250ml/9fl oz double cream 
300g/10½oz cheddar cheese, grated
6 baked potatoes, to serve
butter, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Season the chicken breasts with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a large frying pan until smoking, then add half of the butter and oil. Fry the chicken breasts in batches, skin-side down first, for 1-2 minutes on both sides, or until golden-brown all over.
Transfer the chicken breast to a deep-sided roasting tray and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (NB: the chicken is cooked through when the juices run clear when the thickest part is pierced with a skewer.) Keep warm.
Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining butter and oil. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Stir in the flour and the mustard and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the apples and mushrooms and cook for a further minute, then pour over the chicken stock.
Bring to the boil, then add the cider and return to the boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then lower the heat, add the sage and stir in the cream. Simmer for a further 5-6 minutes, then season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the sauce over the chicken so that it is completely covered.
Preheat the grill to high.
Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over the chicken and place under the grill for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, golden-brown and bubbling.
To serve, place a baked potato topped with a knob of butter on each serving plate. Spoon the chicken alongside and serve.



Glastonbury - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The same sun that brought light to the day in Stratford-on-Avon broke through the curtains that had held back the night in Joe's room, some eighty-three miles, or 134 kilometres distance from Capshaw's mansion.  The room felt warmer than it had for the last few days, and Joe himself felt a cheerfulness that came from a good night's sleep.  The previous evening's conversation and the brandy had helped, but somehow Joe knew the presence of Lucius Doberman had made a difference to his overall mood.  He wasn't sure exactly how the learned professor was going to make a difference to their quest in solving the riddle posed by Capshaw and Graves; he just instinctively knew that he would.

Joe Cutler is the owner of Strata Survey Company.  He and his employees Winston Fortune and Sally Corbett have been hired by millionaire Malcolm Capshaw to find non other than the sword which was fabled to be owned by King Author.  In other words, the Excalibur.  Capshaw has provided them with a map that is 'supposed' to show the general area of where the sword was buried.  He has also supplied them with a noted historian professor who goes by the name of Walter Graves.

So, does King Author and his sword Excalibur really exist or is this just a wild goose chase?  Or - is it truly just a myth?

Except for a clue and hint here and there, this author kept me in the dark until the end.  It has more twists and turns than a roller coaster.  And if I read the end of the book correctly, there will be a second book coming out with some of the main characters and of course a story full of suspense.

Glastonbury Order Link 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Payback (Revenge is Fun Book 3) - Morgan St. James, Author

Chocolate Decadence
(Just one of the girl's favorite dishes)

For the raspberry sauce:
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries or thawed frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup framboise or other raspberry-flavored liqueur (optional)

For the cake:
1 lb. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream, whipped


To make the raspberry sauce, place the raspberries, sugar and framboise, if using, in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Puree until smooth. If you prefer a seedless sauce, pass the puree through a sieve.

To make the cake, position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 425ºF. Butter an 8 or 9-inch springform pan or a layer cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper or waxed paper cut to fit precisely. Butter the paper and dust with flour; tap out any excess.

Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl or the top pan of a double boiler. Set over a pan of gently simmering water but not touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted and combined completely. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until light, fluffy and tripled in volume, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg mixture, taking care not to deflate the batter. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for exactly 15 minutes. Let cool completely to room temperature. Do not refrigerate or the cake will stick to the pan. Invert the cake onto a flat serving plate and peel off the paper.

Cut into small wedges and serve each wedge atop some of the raspberry sauce. Top with whipped cream.



Payback (Revenge is Fun Book 3) - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"I was pretty far away, but it looked like she was going toward her car when - and I swear this is what I saw - that idiot just speeded up and smacked right into her.  Saw the body fly up in the air even though I was a ways away.  Whoever it was kept driving like the wind.  Outta sight in a flash."... Kate was standing beside us.  She whispered, "I'm afraid that's the woman I was supposed to meet.  She left before I got there.  She called me.  I'll tell you what happened, but I think we still have to cover ourselves.  Follow my lead in case anyone is watching us."

Meet Cameron Harsen, Kimberly Martin and Kate Steele.  They were all part of a marketing arm of the Federal Association of Corrections Reform (FACR).  All three made a fortune when they uncovered a massive embezzlement ripoff.  Kim stayed with FACR and became the Director of Marketing and married the US Attorney General.  Cameron started her own advertising company.  And Kate formed a website she called FraudBusters, plus she has a movie in the works that will show the world how these three made it to where they are today.

This book is full of mystery, suspense, plus as always with this author, humor.  These three women seem to just fall into trouble, even without looking for it.  But when someone Cameron used to work with is murdered and the US Government has an informant within their wiretapping headquarters, the girls take action and bring the bad guys, and gals, to justice.  I loved the story, as much as the way it's written.  This book is a stand alone but for the fun of it, go back and read the first two books in the series, Getting Even and Ripoff, to bring these characters into their true lights.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Vengeance on Tyneside - Eileen Thornton, Author



Hungarian Goulash
(A special dish from Agnes)

Serves 4
Pre-heat oven to 275F (140C)

1lb braising steak cut into cubes
1 large onion, chopped
Slight dash of garlic granules or 1 garlic clove crushed.
Tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon Paprika - or a little more to taste
14oz tin tomatoes
Salt & Pepper

Heat oil in flameproof casserole then add the cubes of meat, turning frequently to brown on all sides.
Lower the heat and add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes - Stirring occasionally
Add the garlic, the flour and the paprika and stir to soak up the juices.
Then add the tin of tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring everything up to simmering point.
Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven (Middle shelf) and cook for about two and a half hours.

Serve with boiled rice.


Vengeance on Tyneside - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Perhaps she was allowing her over-active mind to take control.  She had done that twice before in recent months and both times it had almost taken her to the point of being murdered.  Maybe this time she should walk away.  But when she heard the cry again, she knew she couldn't do that.  Someone needed help.  Looking around, she realized the sound was coming from the row of rubbish bins lined up by a wall, not too far from where she was standing... having reached the rubbish bins, she took a deep breath before peering behind them.  For a moment, despite having prepared herself for the worst, Agnes was stunned at the sight of a young woman lying there.  Her hands were clutched to her chest, desperately trying to stem the flow of blood streaming from her body and pooling on the concrete ground beneath her.

Agnes Lockwood has just returned from a trip to the coast.  Her plans are to meet with DCI Alan Johnson for a nice quiet evening.  Well, she soon finds out that the nice quiet evening won't be so quiet after all.  She ends up finding herself in the middle of not one murder but 3 plus an attempt.  What do these people have in common?  Can she and the DCI find out and stop them before more occur?

This book had me fooled from the beginning.  I had four suspects.  The person I had as my major suspect turned out to be innocent.  That narrowed it down to three.  I was close but still didn't come up with the real killer.  And Author Eileen Thornton didn't disclose the killer until the last few pages.  If you like a good suspense, this is one you don't want to miss. 

This book also left with an opening for the next book, which I hope makes it my way very soon.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Walk on the Haunted Side - Rose Pressey, Author


Devil’s Moon Pies
Makes approximately 12

COOKIE DOUGH
6 oz. unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup Steen's cane syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, ground fine
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. whole milk

MARSHMALLOW
4 tsp. powdered gelatin
1/2 cup water, ice cold, plus 1/4 cup at room temperature
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. honey (clover or wildflower)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large grade-A egg whites

CHOCOLATE COATING
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate (61%–70% cacao)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil or canola oil

PREPARATION
For the cookie dough:

Cream butter, brown sugar, syrup, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, for 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix with a fork. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix on low speed; slowly stream in milk. Continue mixing until the dough comes together. Press dough flat, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Turn out chilled dough onto a flour-dusted surface, then roll it until it is ¼ inch thick. Stamp out cookies using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Remove sheet from oven, and while the cookies are cooling, start your marshmallow.

For the marshmallow:

Sprinkle gelatin over ½ cup ice-cold water, and set aside.
Combine ¼ cup room-temperature water, corn syrup, honey, and sugar in a small pot, insert candy thermometer, and simmer until mixture reaches 240 degrees. When the thermometer reaches 200 degrees—but not before—place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and whip on high.
Once the sugar mixture hits 240, remove it from heat, and stir in the bloomed gelatin. Then, while egg whites are whipping, slowly drizzle the hot sugar mixture down the inside of the bowl to avoid spattering the hot syrup. Continue whipping for an additional 8 minutes, until the mixture stiffens. The pan will still feel warm to the touch but no longer hot.
Flip over half of the cooled cookies. Lightly coat a spoon with nonstick cooking spray, and spoon approximately a quarter cup of marshmallow onto each flipped cookie. Use the remaining cookies as tops; gently push down until you can see the marshmallow come just to the edge. While making the chocolate coating (see below), allow cookies to chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

For the chocolate coating:

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate has melted, then remove bowl from heat and let it cool slightly. Once the chocolate is no longer hot, but warm, slowly whisk in oil in a steady stream. Allow chocolate to cool at room temperature for about 5 minutes before proceeding with assembly.

Assembly:

Submerge chilled cookies in the chocolate, using 2 forks to gently lift the sandwiches out of the bowl. Let stand until shell hardens.



A Walk on the Haunted Side - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The old house stood on a small hill surrounded by oak, pine, and magnolia trees and overgrowth.  The Italianate-style structure had red brick with black shutters.  Of course most of the shutters were falling off or missing.  As far as I knew, no one had lived there since the 1970's.  I'd heard a lot of rumors about the place, but so far I didn't know fact from fiction.  There was something mysterious about the house.  Poking around by myself had seemed like a good idea earlier in the day.  Now that it was closing in or darkness, I was having second thoughts.  Even if there was a ghost, I was used to dealing with them.  I inched up the staircase, reminding myself to breath.  It was as if I was disturbing a presence that was in the house.  Not only that, but it felt like there were eyes on me with every step I took.  I stopped in my tracks.  A female ghost stood in front of me.  She was so close that I could almost tough her.  I'd seen ghosts before, but this one was by far the creepiest that I'd ever seen.  She had blood dripping from her head, claws for hands, and her eyes glowed green as she stared right at me.

Ripley Van Raden has returned to her hometown of Devil's Moon.  By day she works as the town's librarian.  By night she gives ghost tours.  Yes, she can see the ghosts when they want her to, but most of the time she gets an image of a dark figure or feels the 'chill' when a ghost is in her presence.  She even has one that has befriended her.  Her name is Annie and she was one of the original librarians in Devil's Moon.  She has passed on now but has learned to communicate with Ripley using text messages.  Local police officer Brannon Landon also has the ability to see ghosts, when they want him to see them.  This has given Ripley something in common with the officer.  But they soon find out that they have a bit more in common when Ripley finds a body at the cemetery one night while giving one of her ghost tours.

This is the second book in the Ghost Hunter Cozy Mysteries.  I read the 1st book titled These Haunts are Made for Walking and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Author Rose Pressey provides you with mystery, suspense, murder, humor and ghosts all in one book making the stories appealing to all.  And yes, it did have a surprising ending.  I'm now looking forward to reading book #3 Haunt the Haunt, Walk the Walk.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Death on Tyneside ( Agnes Lockwood Mysteries Book 2) - Eileen Thornton, Author



Cottage Pie (4 persons)

1 lb minced beef
1 large onion (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon plain flour 
Beef stock cube dissolved in half-pint hot water
Frozen mixed vegetables medley (small cut) Enough to suit the cook!
Red wine 
Cooking Oil 
Potatoes boiled and mashed.
Grated cheese
Salt & pepper.

Heat a small amount of cooking oil in a large saucepan.
Add minced beef, making sure it breaks up well.
When mince has browned slightly, add the finely chopped onion and mix thoroughly.
Add the flour and mix to soak up the juices.
Top up the beef stock with enough red wine to make 1 pint and add to pan. Stir well.
Then tip in the frozen vegetables
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for about an hour stirring occasionally to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
While mince is cooking, boil the potatoes and mash them thoroughly.
When mince is cooked, allow to cool, then tip into ovenproof dish
Cover with mashed potatoes and top with the grated cheese.
Place in the centre of a hot oven and cook until piping hot throughout. (About 30 minutes) Cheese will have melted and turned a golden colour.

This is an age-old recipe, but the wine makes all the difference. 
Adding the frozen veg to the mince, means you don’t have to cook anything extra - it’s all in one dish.
Can made early and frozen if using a freezer-safe dish.



Death on Tyneside - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"You want to be involved in solving this murder case.  Hasn't it sunk in yet how close you came to being murdered yourself, the last time you poked your nose into a murder inquiry?"

"Alan, I know I very nearly got myself killed a few months ago."  Agnes took his arm and they restarted their walk down the corridor.  "But I got through that.  Look at me.  I'm still here - alive and well, and ready to be involved in this case.  If the body had been found by someone else, then I might have stayed out of it.  Might,"  she repeated, wagging her finger at him.  "But it wasn't.  It was found by me.  And now I want to see it through."  She stopped walking and swung around in front of him.  "Alan, please, I need to see this through."


Agnes Lockwood has returned to Tyneside after spending a few weeks visiting her sons in Australia.  This is where she was from and the ties were pulling her back.  Or was it Chief Inspector Alan Johnson who was connected to those ties?  The two had gone to school together and Alan had always had a crush on her.  Now, after marriages and many years, they met again and Alan finds his feelings are still there and stronger than ever.  

In her first visit, she and Alan had eaten dinner and were walking back to her hotel when they found a body laying on the sidewalk.  The investigation into this murder almost got Agnes killed.  Now she's back and finds herself in the middle of yet another murder.

I've read everything Eileen Thornton has written and must say that she grabs me from the beginning and all the way through to the end.  She fills her writings with twists and turns that keep you guessing and flipping the pages to see what happens next.  I love her work and can't wait for Book 3 of the Agnes Lockwood Mysteries.

Monday, March 18, 2019

These Haunts are Made for Walking - Rose Presley, Author



Potato Soup

3 lbs. new red potatoes, washed and cut into chunks
2 qts. water
4-6 strips of uncooked, lean bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 - 1 1/2 Tbsp. flour
Salt & Pepper to taste

Remove as much fat from the bacon as possible and cut into small pieces.  Place potatoes, water and bacon in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat and cook until potatoes are tender.  Mash the potatoes leaving a few small chunks here and there.  Mix milk and 1 Tbsp. flour until smooth and pour into potato mix.  Bring to a boil to thicken.  Add another 1/2 Tbsp. of flour if needed.  Stir in cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. 

Comment:  The whole secret to this dish is boiling the bacon with the potatoes.  It cooks the flavor throughout the potatoes giving the dish a delicious smoky taste.

These Haunts Are Made For Walking - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The next morning was my first day as head librarian in Devil's Moon.  I'd been back in town for a couple weeks before I'd had to start work at the library.  That had given me time to start the haunted tour.  As soon as I'd moved back to town I'd decided to fulfill a lifelong dream - start a haunted tour.  This town was crawling with ghosts.  Well, not literally crawling, but you know what I mean.  So by day I was the mind-mannered librarian and by night I was the queen of spooky.  At least that was what Tammy told everyone.  I was ok with that description.

Ripley Van Raden has moved back to her hometown after a breakup with her ex-husband-to-be.  She has always loved the feel she got when surrounded by books, so what better job than being head of the library.  She would also be working with her best friend Tammy and a woman named Leslie.  Tammy would be enjoyable but after meeting Leslie Ripley knew things just weren't going to be that great.  She isn't sure but thinks it may be because Leslie possibly wanted the job as head librarian herself.

All goes well until the evening of her first day on the job.  The "Bookworms" book club came for their monthly meeting to discuss the book they are reading.  The outcome of the meeting put a true damper the day that started out so smoothly.

Oh yeah, there is also a 'library' ghost that not only can Ripley see but one who also sends her text messages.  This combined with the ghost tour ghosts, give Ripley a very interesting life.

This is a fun book to read full spirits, murder and a touch of humor.  Now I'm ready for Book 2 - A Walk on the Haunted Side.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Haunted Heist (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries) - Angie Fox, Author



Sugarland Peach Cocktail Syrup

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 ripe peach
Pinch of salt

You only need one peach for this syrup so pick a good one. It should give a little to pressure, but not be soggy at all. Rinse it off slice it into big wedges.  Add the wedges to a medium pot with the water and sugar. Put this over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved. No need to bring it to a boil or anything. By the time it’s hot, the sugar should be dissolved.  Once the mixture is hot, you should be able to just pick out the peach skins which you definitely don’t want in the syrup. They should come right off!  The key to making this syrup really nice is to pulse it well in a blender. This emulsifies the peaches and makes a really smooth syrup.  Be sure to let the syrup cool off a bit before blending it!  Once the mixture is blended and cool, you can store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. It might separate a bit in the fridge, but just give it a shake before pouring it and it’ll be great. 

Drink Options
You can use this easy peach cocktail syrup in SO many drinks.
For starters:
2-3 oz. bourbon + 1 oz. peach syrup + dash of orange bitters + club soda
2-3 oz. gin + 1 oz. peach syrup + tonic
2 oz. tequila + 1 oz. peach syrup + 1/2 lime + 2 oz. lemonade + salted rim
2 oz. peach syrup + 8 oz. club soda or sparkling water

You get the idea. It’s incredibly versatile!

The Haunted Heist - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Frankie had the power to show me the supernatural world.  With his help, I'd been able to see and interact with some of the ghosts here in town.  We'd saved my house; we'd solved a murder.  Two of them, actually.  We'd made some positive changes in Sugarland, not that he cared about helping anyone but himself.  And I had been trying to free him.  It was just that nothing had worked yet.

So who is this Frankie that has the power to take Verity Long into the supernatural?  Why is she trying to free him and from what?  These are just some of the fun questions that you can find the answers to by reading the Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Series.  I will tell you that Frankie lives in a trash can and Verity lives in a house she inherited from her grandmother.  But the fun part was learning how Frankie ended up in the trash can and why Verity is living in a house with no furnishings.

From the very first two books in this series - Southern Spirits and The Skeleton in the Closet, I found myself caught up in the suspense of a murder with a touch of humor.  I've laughed at the very odd pet that lives with Verity and how Frankie tends to get her into trouble in a world that most would never dream of visiting.  I feel for her as she struggles to make ends meet after her almost mother-in-law took everything away from her.  I feel joy for her as her feelings for Ellis grow.  And I hold my breath as she risks her own life to bring justice to those who need it.  This is a series that I hope will never end and I'm really looking forward to reading Book 4 in the series - Deader Homes & Gardens.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Last Train to Lime Street - Brian L. Porter, Author



Beef Pot Roast
(A favourite in the ill-fated Slimani household)

1 dessertspoon olive oil
1 (2kg) silverside roasting joint
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 160 C / Gas 3.
Heat a casserole pot on the hob over medium high heat. Add oil, and sear meat in the centre of the pan for 4 minutes. Turn meat over with tongs; sear all sides for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove meat from pan.
Arrange onion, garlic, and 1 bay leaf in the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return meat to pan, place remaining bay leaf on top of meat, and cover.
Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 150 C / Gas mark 2, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove roast to a platter to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice, and top with onions and gravy.



Last Train to Lime Street - Review by Martha A. Cheves

The funeral of Joey Slimani was indeed a low-key affair.  The small chapel wasn't even half-full as his wife, Trixie and two ex-wives led the small group of mourners, the three women sitting together at the front of the room, with Mary-Beth and Lana flanking the widow, like a pair of personal bodyguards.  

Dressed in black business suits sat Heinrich Braun and Stefan Schmidt, the two German pron producers who'd both had the recent business dealings with the dead man.  In the same row sat Michael Powell, the dead man's solicitor, William Jennings, the Slimani's butler/manservant/part-time lover to Trixie and an unknown man who Ross surmised was Slimani's American lawyer.  On the opposite side sat half a dozen men and three women who were adult movie actors and actresses who regularly appeared in movies made by Joe Slim Productions.  Seated behind the group of porn stars was a rather stiff-looking individual, the captain of South Mersey Golf Club, Graham Bull, here to pay his last respects on behalf of the club and its members.

Joey Slimani's nude body had been tossed from a bridge to be mutilated by an oncoming train.  He had been drugged and someone had cut his throat before the toss.  Detective Inspector Andy Ross and his Special Murder Investigation Team were called in to solve the mystery of why someone would commit such a horrible form of death and mutilation.  With Joey being a porn producer who produced movies of his present wife as well as his two ex-wives, the suspect list starts to take shape and the team proceeds with the idea that someone within the industry had a real hatred for Joey.

As always, with books written by this author, it became a page-turner, with me trying to make sense of just 'who done it?'  The culprit was a bit of a surprise to me, as was the reason.  This is Book VI of the Mersey Murder Mysteries.  It is a stand alone but I suggest you consider starting with Book I and follow this team through some truly interesting mysteries.

Last Train to Lime Street

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Read and Gone (A Haunted Library Mystery) - Allison Brook, Author






Double-chocolate brownies
Carrie often makes double chocolate brownies for family occasions
12-16 brownies


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2  cup sugar (I prefer Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 –1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli chocolate chips)
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  •  

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and line 8” square pan with parchment paper
  2. Stir eggs with sugar, vanilla and butter.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt and stir into egg mixture.
  4. Add chocolate chips and nuts to mixture.
  5. Spread mixture evenly in pan.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes. Test with toothpick. Brownies done when toothpick comes out slightly moist.
  7. Let cool, then cut into squares.

Note: if you like, you can melt the chocolate chips before adding them to the mixture.


Read and Gone - Review by Martha A. Cheves

Jim sat down at the kitchen table while I made up a plate with slices of turkey and ham.  I also warmed up a huge piece of lasagna in the microwave.  He ate quickly and neatly as usual.  My father was a thief, but he believed in good clothes and good manners.  When he asked me to serve him more, I knew he probably hadn't eaten since yesterday.  "Coffee?" I asked.  "Please, Black, two sugars."  "As always," I murmured before I could stop myself.  I was annoyed that I'd kept his habits close to my heart.  He shot me a grin.  "You remembered."  "Why are you here? I asked as I slipped a French roast pod into the Keurig.  "I need your help, Caro."  "Do you know Benton Parr, the jewelry?"  "I've met him since he's on the Library Board with Uncle Bosco.  And I've spoken to him a few times on the phone.  He's giving a talk Tuesday evening on 'Gems: How to Tell the Real from the Fake."  "Benton Parr's a thief!"  I started to laugh but immediately froze when I caught his furious expression.  "We nabbed seven million dollars worth of perfect loose stones.  My retirement fund.  Parr took the lot for safekeeping.  I've tried contacting him several times this past month, but he refuses to answer my emails and calls.  I'm afraid I need to ask you to act as a go-between and retrieve my share of the stones."

Carrie Singleton has had her father come in and out of her life for as long as she can remember.  She spent her childhood being ashamed of him while he served time in and out of jail.  Now, just a few days before Christmas, he has shown up at her home wanting her help to recover jewels that he and another man have stolen.  Who does he think he is?  She should just tell him to get lost, which she hopes he will do soon but not before he is attacked and hospitalized, leaving her to take care of him while he's in town.

The first book in this series, Death Overdue, was a very enjoyable read.  Carrie moved to her father's hometown and found herself a job working as the Program and Entertainment Director for the local library.  She also found herself becoming the major factor in solving a murder.  In Read and Gone, Carrie is again involved in several murders as well as the search for the jewels her own father helped steal.  The question is, was he involved in the murders too?

This book takes you around many curves.  There are many suspects to choose from, keeping the reader running from one to the other until the end.  I must say I was surprised.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Never Say Goodbye - Richard Parker, Author

Releases August 14, 2018

TOM FABIAN DEVILLED EGGS

Makes 8 (16 halves)

Ingredients

8 eggs
3 tbsp chipotle mayo
Healthy sprinkle of smoked paprika (better depth of flavor than ordinary paprika)
Healthy sprinkle of garlic powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of white pepper
(Tsp of English mustard if you want them even hotter)

Directions

Boil eggs for 10 minutes. Tip away hot water and add cold. When they're cool, peel off shells and cut each egg in half
Scoop out yolks and put into a bowl. Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly with a fork. Spoon or pipe back into each egg half. Sprinkle eggs with a little of the smoked paprika to decorate.



Never Say Goodbye - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Whiting hadn't made any connections between the four victims.  Each one had been murdered in a different area of the city."  Metcalfe consulted his note.  "First was female - an affluent black law student, second was a white, mail, middle-aged taxi driver.  Third a white teenage girl who worked in a supermarket and the fourth a geriatric white female, Janet Wells.... "But no witnesses."... "no.  First victim was attacked in a car park at night, second under a railway bridge, third in the garden.  Janet Wells was the first victim of a break-in.  As far as we know, the attacker wasn't interrupted on any occasion."  

DCI Alec Metcalfe has just updated Detective Tom Fabian of the latest information on victims that seem to be randomly chosen.  Each is stabbed several times, hopefully killing them, before they are stabbed with a knife to the face mutilating their facial features.  None of the victims knew each other nor had anything in common.  So, why were they chosen?

This was another of those books that took me all the way to the last few chapters before I was informed as to who and why!  I had one suspect at about 70% into the book but found that I was totally wrong and totally shocked as to who and why.

If you want a great suspense, murder mystery, I have to recommend Never Say Goodbye .  It held my interest to the extent that I finished it in under 5 nights!  Yep, that good.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Very Mersey Murder (Mersey Mystery Series Book 5) - Brian L. Porter, Author



Scouse
(The best scouse this side of the Mersey)

Serves: 3

400g beef (preferably a tough cut like chuck or even flank)
30ml oil
salt and pepper
1 large onion, diced
1 stock cube (preferably Knorr®)
500ml hot water
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs thyme
4 large carrots, cut into 15mm chunks
6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2 cm chunks
pickled red cabbage, to serve

Method
Prep: 15 min.  Cook: 2 hrs. Ready in 2 hrs 15 min.

Dice the meat if not already done into whatever size you prefer, remembering the size will shrink slightly.
Heat the oil in the pan to a medium temperature and add the meat. Season very well at this early stage with salt and pepper. Stir and turn until just brown all over. Do not drain. Add the onions and continue to stir on a medium heat for around 10 minutes; the onions must not brown.
Add the stock with the water (or 500 ml of good homemade stock) and bring to the boil. Add the bay and the a few little twigs of thyme, stir, cover and when bubbling, reduce to medium heat. You want the stock to bubble but not violently for 1 hour.
Uncover and add the carrots and potatoes, turn up the heat until bubbling throughout and reduce slightly. Leave for another 45 minutes to 1 hour with the lid off the pan so it reduces. When the veg has been cooked through but retains some firmness, the best way to check is to see if it falls easily off the end of a fork without cracking or breaking, then it is normally done perfectly.
The stew should reduce once the veg is added and the lid, but you may need to add more water or perhaps turn the heat up to ensure the liquid is as thick as good gravy.
Taste and season again if necessary. Serve in a bowl with the red cabbage and plenty of juice on the top. Really delicious.

Serving suggestion - Yummy with a nice bottle of real ale!
Tip - Really important that dish is well seasoned!



A Very Mersey Murder - Review by Martha A. Cheves

A woman is brutally raped and murdered, her body left close to the old disused lighthouse in Hale.  Then came a second and finally a third murder.  All being committed by who the police feel is the same person.  One was a barmaid, one worked with animals and the third was a policewoman.  These murders happened thirty-nine years ago with no arrests being made and the case assigned to the cold case files.

This is the information Detective Inspector Andy Ross has just given to his people that make up the Merseyside Police Specialist Murder Investigation Team.  His biggest concern regarding this cold case is that there have been two more recent murders that are very similar to those from thirty-nine years ago.  The first being a barmaid and the second being a veterinary student.  If the person doing the killings now continues to follow the original murders the third will be taking place within just a few days and that person will be one of their own... a police woman.

I've read every book this award-winning author has written.  His Jack the Ripper series kept my nerves tied into knots from beginning to end.  I've read this series - Mersey Mystery - and I will admit that the 1st book was good, the second was better and as I read the third and forth they got even better but I must say that book five takes me back to the Ripper series!

As I read murder mysteries I judge their ability to fool me by how quickly I can come up with the guilty party.  If I have at least the person figured out by around 20% into the book it is a good book.  If it takes me 50% to decide who it might be, that is a very good book.  And 75% marks the book as an extremely good mystery.  But when it takes me all the way to the end and the author has to finally inform me as to who the murderer is I rate that book one of the best.  For me this book fits in with the Best.

Now I'm waiting on book 6!  But if I were you, start with the full Mersey Mystery Series which can be seen at http://getbook.at/MerseyMysteries .


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Snow Drive - Bobby Nash, Author


Easy Taco Soup

Ingredients:
ground beef
taco seasoning
water
whole kernel corn
black beans
pinto beans
crushed tomatoes
tomato sauce
onions
salt
pepper
cheese
sour cream
salsa

Cook beef and onions until no longer pink. Drain the grease. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add water to fill pot. Bring to a boil. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered until heated through or beans are soft to your taste. Stir occasionally until ready. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and/or salsa topping.

Snow Drive - Review by Martha A. Cheves

"Last year, Oliver Simcoe asked me and Tommy Yates to join one of his engine trials.  His company designed a new engine that was supposed to be more fuel efficient for less pit stops, more environmentally friendly, which makes for great P.R., and faster because every driver wants to win.  I was reluctant.  I hate these type of trials.  Would never do another if I had a choice, but Oliver was persuasive.  The money wasn't bad either.  We bought a new car and trailer with what they paid for my time. The engine did what it was supposed to do, but there were some bugs involved that bothered me so I voiced those concerns.  The engine tended to overheat faster than it should have.  On the track, in a race that lasts a couple of hours, that can lead to disaster.  A blown engine out there could get somebody killed, maybe even several somebodies.  I couldn't sign off on that, not until they fixed those problems.  That's what I told them."  

NASCAR owner and driver Grant Chambers has found himself and his son Chase being the target for too many 'accidents.'  Lucky for him, his security company was none other than Snow Security, and one of it's employees just happens to be Abraham Snow.  So when the latest accident almost cost Chase his life, Grant called in the team to solve the problem before whoever behind the accidents succeeded.

The first name on the list was that of Oliver Simcoe.  The man who threatened to put an end to Grant and his company after he reported problems with Oliver's new engine to the other drivers as well as NASCAR resulting in them being pulled until further investigations found the problems or cleared the engines.  But... Snow finds that after talking to other at the track, the problem might be a little closer to home.

I love this series of books.  They are actually two books in one.  The first is the investigative story while the other is Snow's ongoing story.  After being shot and almost dying, Snow retired as an undercover agent that was on the track of Miguel Ortega.  The agency had at first believed it to be just one man but now believe it is a group of men using the same name to keep them off track.  After his retirement, Snow moved back to Georgia and thought his cover was in tact.  Turns out he has been found and there is another hit out on him.

I'm looking forward to reading the next in this series where I understand Snow comes out of retirement and becomes actively involved, again, in the search for this group calling them selves Miguel Ortega.

 
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