Thursday, March 24, 2016

Murder by Design - Betty Tima Gordon, Author

Jalapeno Potato Soup(A Betty Tima Gordon Specialty)

1 medium onion (chopped)
1/4 cup margarine
5 lbs. sweet potatoes, cubed
8 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeno & juice
Pinch of baking soda (prevents curdling)
4 cups evaporated milk
salt & pepper to taste
Garnish with sour cream & chopped green onion.

Saute onions in margarine.  Add potatoes, chicken broth and cumin.  Cook until tender (20-30 minutes).  Add jalapenos, soda and milk.  Coarsely mash potatoes with potato masher.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer 15 minutes stirring frequently.

(This Jalapeno Potato Soup was given to me by a dear friend more than thirty years ago. At the time, my friend said it was her father's favorite. It remains one of my family's favorite)

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

...drifted into sleep, loud music, cigarette smoke, pink and blue lights, dancers, and David's intense eyes all swirled around her, catching her in their coils before moving farther and farther away... Harshness of grating metal ripped through the silence invading her consciousness.  She bolted upright, "Whaaa...who?  Who's there?"  Terrified, she ran into the kitchen and grabbed one of the knives from the drawer.  As she moved toward the edge of the wall where she could see, the knob turned.  Her hand tightened around the base of the knife as the door opened.  She stared in disbelief at the shadowy figure filling the doorway.

Meet the characters:
Paul Barlow - Homicide Division - Houston Texas - Paul is in the middle of finding a rapist who takes the victim's shoes as a reminder of his deed.
David Farrell - Vietnam Vet - law student - engaged - having an affair
Karen Matthews - law student - in her 40's - in love with David Farrell
Sharon Berg - an impressionable young woman infatuated with David Farrell - wears a Vietnam coin, a keepsake form her deceased brother, around her neck which grabs Farrell's attention
Vicki Sanders - Karen's roommate - hates David Farrell
Kim Lowry - David Farrell's fiance - works for Delta - gone a lot

Now that you've met most of the characters I'll go ahead and tell you that one of them will be raped and one will die.

When I started reading Murder by Design I wasn't hooked in the beginning but I had a feeling it would eventually grab me.  Well it did and it didn't take long.  I found myself both agreeing and disagreeing with Detective Barlow as he tracked down who he believed to be the rapist as well as the murderer.  His main suspect was taken all the way into trial and I was still not sure.  Then the big bomb hit and I will tell you that I was and wasn't surprised.  I suspected the person but not the how.  This is a really enjoyable book.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

All Saints: Murder on the Mersey - Brian L. Porter, Author

Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze
(A favorite dish of Detective Inspector Andy Ross)

2 (4 oz. each) filet mignon steaks
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
salt to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine

Sprinkle freshly ground pepper over both sides of each steak and sprinkle with salt to taste.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Place steaks in hot pan, cook for 1 minute on each side, or until browned.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add balsamic vinegar and red wine.  Cover and cook for 4 minutes on each side, basting with sauce when you turn the meat over. Remove steaks to two warmed plates, spoon one tablespoon of glaze over each, and serve immediately.

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

Detective Inspector Andy Ross pulled the unmarked police Mondeo to a halt, its right side wheels pulled up on the pavement outside St. Matthew's Church in Norris Green in an effort to avoid restricting the traffic flow along Brewer Street...  There were already two police patrol cars parked on the street, together with another pool car identical to his own which he knew would have brought his assistant, Sergeant Clarissa, (Izzie) Drake and Detective Constable Derek McLennan to the scene...  As he neared the scene, Ross could see Dr. Nugent on his knees, his assistant, Francis Lees beside him, both men obviously intent on carrying out their initial examination of the body...  "Oh, my God," Ross exclaimed as he drew closer to the scene...  "I told you, sir,"  his sergeant said, quietly.  "Yes, but this... this is, well, nothing short of bloody monstrous... the victim, a man in his mid to late fifties, has been almost totally eviscerated... "Who found him, Izzie?"   "The poor bloody priest"

Father Gerald Byrne, along with his sister, grew up in Speke Hill, an orphanage that was run by the Roman Catholic Church.  He developed a deep interest in theology and the Church which eventually brought him into the priesthood.   After years of traveling all over the world it also brought him full circle back to St. Luke's where he would be not only their priest but also the priest of Speke Hill.  But, shortly after his arrival the murders started.  Bodies are being placed in various cemeteries after being totally disembowel and mutilated. 

This book took me down a very winding road!  As much as I tried to determine who was carrying out the brutal murders, the harder it was for me to justify my suspicions.  And at the end... I was totally surprised.  As always, Brian L. Porter has written another book that can't be put down.  I can never get enough of his books.  He has a Stephen King/Dean Kunze/Jeffrey Deaver frame of mind when he writes putting him right up there in their class of authors.

All Saints: Murder on the Mersey

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