Saturday, December 7, 2019

If you need a few ideas for your holiday shopping


Check out our books page to get a few hints on what you can give (or get) in the way of Cozy Chicks mysteries.  Just click this link!

You can also check out our author websites.  Click our names to land on our web homes.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Time to start baking!

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett


Have you started your holiday baking?  I got an early start this year because I asked my brother what he wanted for Thanksgiving dessert. He didn't hesitate to answer: CUT-OUT COOKIES!

Of course, I used my favorite cookie recipe, and it's one that the Cozy Chicks used on a promotional postcard. Sadly, they're all gone now, but I kept one for me. But I'm happy to share it with you now. Personally, if using almond extract, I double the amount. (And tossing in a little vanilla extract won't hurt, either.)


(If you want to make a copy, put your mouse on the recipe snd right click; when the little menu comes up, choose SAVE AS.)

I didn't decorate all of them. They freeze really well (and for a LONG time. A couple of years ago, I forgot there was a container of them in my freezer and didn't eat them until a year later. They still tasted GOOD.)

As for icing them, I use a really simple recipe:

Ingredients
2 cups powdered sugar sifted
6-8 teaspoons milk
4 teaspoons corn syrup*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
food coloring optional

Instructions
Sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add 6 teaspoons milk, corn syrup, and extract. Stir vigorously until icing is smooth.
If needed, add additional milk to thin icing more. You've reached the correct consistency for frosting if a scoop of icing slowly falls off the spoon. If making colored icing, divide into bowls and add food coloring.

Note: I didn't have any corn syrup (and honestly, do you actually NEED more sugar?) and the icing turned out fine.

Here's a batch I made.  My brother pronounced them "Yummy!" (Yes, he actually said that.)

What's your favorite holiday cookie?

--------------------------------------------

P.S.  If you haven't already got your copy of The Cozy Chicks Kitchen, which is filled with wonderful recipes, including cookies and candies great for the holiday season, you can get it now!  (Makes a great gift, too!)

AmazonKindle US  | Kindle Worldwide | Nook | Kobo | Apple Books


Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Perfect Cup Of Tea

by Karen Rose Smith



With the release of MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS, the fourth book in my Daisy's Tea Garden cozy mystery series, my mind has been on all things tea-related.  I can remember as a child having a cup of tea meant boiling some water in a pan on the stove, pouring it into a mug and adding a tea bag.  Tea was often the choice warm beverage on days when I was home from school with a nasty head cold.

But when I embarked on the task of creating a tea-themed focus for a new cozy mystery series and began researching tea and tea rooms, I developed a new-found appreciation for tea.  I was amazed at all the varieties and blends available and the art involved in creating a perfect cup of tea.  There definitely is a tea to satisfy everybody's palette.  
As I began visiting area tea rooms, I was fascinated and curious how each owner was able to supply every guest at a table a different cup of perfectly brewed tea of their choice from an extensive menu.  I was delighted to find on the back of a business card from TranquilaTea Tea Room in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania tips for brewing a perfect cup of tea.  I would like to share those tips with my readers.

Brewing A Perfect Cup Of Tea

  • Bring cold water to a boil
  • Measure 1 tsp loose leaf tea per 6 oz of water
  • Place tea in an infuser or tea filter bag
  • Immerse infuser or tea bag filter into cup or pot filled with boiled water that has cooled slightly  
Water Temperature

205 degrees (F) for black, herbal and rooibos teas
180 degrees (F) for green and white teas

Steeping Times

Green and white teas -- 2 minutes
Black teas -- 3 minutes
Herbal and rooibos teas -- 3 to 5 minutes
For a stronger cup, add more tea leaves.  Do not steep for a longer period of time, as this can lead to a bitter cup!




Now available:

Keith Rebert is homeless with a sad story that includes the death of his wife and medical bills that decimated his finances. Daisy and her friend Jonas Groft meet him through one of Daisy’s employees and offer help. But soon Keith is caught up in a murder investigation. He was supplying the shop Pirated Treasures with antiques, including Gettysburg Battlefield memorabilia. The nephew of the shop’s owner, Barry Storm, was lowballing merchandise that Keith brought in. One day Keith and Barry vehemently argued. Soon after, Barry was found dead, killed with a marble rolling pin that held Keith’s fingerprints. Daisy’s special for the month, cherry tarts, was found spilled on the floor next to him. Keith is the number one suspect.

Keith finds a job on a farm where he can live in a cabin with his daughter Mandy. A friend of Barry’s lived and worked there before the murder, then suddenly moved out. As Daisy finds clues that give insight into Barry’s life and prepares for her daughter’s wedding, she faces danger, verbally battles with the detective on the case, and tries to figure out what part Jonas Groft plays in her life. When she finds the ultimate clue that tells her exactly what Barry Storm was involved in, she almost loses her life. 


MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS on Amazon


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Hi, Duffy Brown here from the Consignment Shop Mysteries.
Today I’m here to talk about weddings…the good, the bad, and the deadly!

Personally I’m not a fan of flamboyant weddings so killing someone off in Killer in Crinolines was fun.
Killer in Crinolinesis set in Savannah and centers around a murder at a big old Southern style wedding with everyone dressed in GWTW period costumes. You know that old saying always the bridesmaid never the bride, well Reagan Summerside, the female sleuth in Killer, has been both. The bride part didn’t take proven by the fact that Reagan caught Hollis, her husband and the hound of Savannah, doing the horizontal hula with Cupcake right there in his office. 
The last wedding Reagan attended she was there to deliver a bowtie from her consignment shop to the groom as he misplaced his.  The good part of that wedding was that the cake was delicious. The deadly part was that the groom wound up dead in five tiers of icing and fondant, the bad part was that her BFF, Chantilly, the groom’s ex got accused of the murder. 
Chantilly shouldn’t have been at the wedding in the first place of course but she and her UPS truck just sort of wound up there. 
“You shouldn’t be here,” I said to Chantilly as she swiveled round in the driver’s seat of her UPS van. White icing and cake crumbs smeared her lips and a glob of raspberry filling dripped down her chin. A pink butter cream rose stuck to the front of her brown uniform blouse. “Dear God in heaven! You went and ate the wedding cake!”
“One slice,” she mumbled around a mouthful. “Who’s going to miss one little old slice? The freaking thing is five tiers high. It took three Cakery Bakery employees and the owner Delta Longford herself to lug it in. They even made GracieAnn Harlow stand on a ladder to get the bride and groom thing on top.” 
Chantilly held up a chunk of mangled pastry. “This here should be my wedding cake, except for the pink roses. This should be my wedding day, my wedding colors of creamy-peach and blue-morning-rain. Simon is my man. We were engaged! How could he marry someone else!” Chantilly wailed, a tear sliding down her cheek and cutting a path across a white icing smear. 
Hopefully none of the weddings you’ve attended were like this one with the groom dead as Lincoln right there in his own cake. 
So what do you think is the best part of a wedding? The cake? The first dance? The saying I Do? Let me know and I’ll give away two Killer in Crinoline tote bags from the answers.
Hugs, Duffy Brown



Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Goodbye, November; Hello, December

by  Maggie Sefton


I can barely believe it.  It's December.  This Fall has zoomed by for me.  I hope all of you Cozy Chicks Readers and fans are adjusting.  I haven't bought the presents for my family yet, and I fly back to Northern Virginia on the week before Christmas.  Yikes! I'd better get busy.  Of course, one thing that has made my shopping WAY easier is my decision a few years ago to give my family Gift Cards to their "Store of Choice."  That has made my life---and the shopping demands---SO much easier to handle.   And, after many years of wandering about department stores and sports stores wondering what to buy for that large family of mine, the gift cards have been an inspiration.


The only exception that shopping decision has been for grandchildren gifts.  I still LOVE buying items for my grandchildren.  And now that both sets of grandchildren---daughter Christine's two sons and two daughters in Northern VA and daughter Maria & husband John's two daughters and  one son in Washington DC area---are all old enough to love reading books, I have another excuse to disappear into the book department.  :)    Yay!    


That means I get to hang out in the children's department of any large Barnes & Noble for several hours and look at all the the new books that have come in---and new editions of popular series books.     That's always a fun time for me.  In fact, I'll be going to one of the large malls in Northern VA next week and enjoy myself.  :)  


Do any of you have a chance to shop for family members who love books?

Monday, December 2, 2019

A VEGAN THANKSGIVING

By Mary Kennedy                                             

This year, I prepared two Thanksgiving dinners. The traditional one, (turkey with all the trimmings) and a vegan one. I'd like to tell you about the vegan one. Some people think it's hard to "go vegan," but honestly, it's easy. I'll show you.

The main thing you need to do is to get some vegan supplies on hand. I used almond milk, Chao cheese, Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing (make sure to get the cornbread variety, some of the others have chicken broth) and Gardein turkey cutlets. They include little vegan gravy packs, which is handy.
                                                                                                                                         



Now, for a nice vegan scalloped potato casserole, here's a foolproof recipe. The potatoes are tender and cheesy and crispy on the outside. The dish is easy to prepare and it takes 90 minutes in the oven.

Scalloped potatoes (vegan)

4 russet potatoes
One and a half cups almond milk, unflavored
one package CHAO cheese.
 (Whole Foods has a really good selection of vegan cheese but you can usually find CHAO in the "vegetarian" section of your local grocery)
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons vegan butter like Earth Balance
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise

Slice the potatoes thinly, by hand or with a mandolin. Mix the almond milk, mayo, butter and flour in a sauce pan over low heat and add the Chao, chopped up. It comes in slices and is hard to grate, so just chop it.

Cook for about five minutes and then pour over half the sliced potatoes that you have placed in an oven proof dish. Now add the other half of the potatoes and top with the rest of the hot mixture. Cover and bake at 350 for one hour. Remove cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
                                                                           

I guarantee you won't know it's dairy free! Have a happy holiday! And don't forget to make a donation to your local animal shelter. The animals deserve a treat, too!

Mary Kennedy

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thankfully Reflecting On A new Release

by Karen Rose Smith



I have so many things to be thankful for and I could write about the traditional thanksgiving list of family, friends, health and on and on--all the things that surround me on a daily basis.  Truthfully as I grow older, I reflect on these things every day.  The one thing, as I get wrapped up in my day to day writing chores, that I sometimes forget to appreciate is the fact that I was gifted with the talent of telling stories in the written word and that I was fortunate enough to be able to share my stories with my readers.  So it seems significant that I celebrate my 103rd release this week with the publication of MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS, the fourth in my Daisy's Tea Garden cozy mystery series for Kensington Books.  And today I want to thank my faithful readers through the past twenty-seven years for believing in me and trusting me to produce a story that will warm your hearts and touch your spirit.  I have appreciated all of your kind words and supportive notes through the years.

MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS is a cozy mystery which revolves around Daisy's outreach to a homeless single father and his darling daughter.  I created a yummy cherry tart recipe for this book that is included in the back of the book. 

Pirated Treasures is an antiques shop that also plays a significant
role in the mystery.  Daisy purchases a Burton and Burton Victorian design teapot atop a teacup from the owner of the shop on one of her many visits to the shop while she is gathering clues to solve the murder of the store owner's nephew.  Notice its uniquely-shaped infinity handle.

What could better than a steaming cup of tea, delicious food and delicate china to soften the sometimes terrifying search for a murderer in the community of Willow Creek, Pennsylvania, deep in Amish country!

Here is a little summary of the book which is now available:


Keith Rebert is homeless with a sad story that includes the death of his wife and medical bills that decimated his finances. Daisy and her friend Jonas Groft meet him through one of Daisy’s employees and offer help. But soon Keith is caught up in a murder investigation. He was supplying the shop Pirated Treasures with antiques, including Gettysburg Battlefield memorabilia. The nephew of the shop’s owner, Barry Storm, was lowballing merchandise that Keith brought in. One day Keith and Barry vehemently argued. Soon after, Barry was found dead, killed with a marble rolling pin that held Keith’s fingerprints. Daisy’s special for the month, cherry tarts, was found spilled on the floor next to him. Keith is the number one suspect.

Keith finds a job on a farm where he can live in a cabin with his daughter Mandy. A friend of Barry’s lived and worked there before the murder, then suddenly moved out. As Daisy finds clues that give insight into Barry’s life and prepares for her daughter’s wedding, she faces danger, verbally battles with the detective on the case, and tries to figure out what part Jonas Groft plays in her life. When she finds the ultimate clue that tells her exactly what Barry Storm was involved in, she almost loses her life. 


MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS on Amazon

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving the Savannah Way

Reagan Summerside here from the Consignment Shop Mysteries by Duffy Brown and I’m gearing up for my favorite holiday…Thanksgiving Savannah style.
It all starts with a beautifully set table. KiKi uses the good china, crystal and best linens.  There will be turkey and dressing for sure and AnnieFritz and her sister Elsie who live next door will bring the best pecan pie you ever put in your mouth. It’s so good I’m going to share the recipe with you right here.
9” unbaked pie crust 
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs slightly beaten
1/3 cut butter melted
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecan halves (or walnuts)
heat oven to 350. Combine corn syrup, sugar, eggs, butter, salt, vanilla and mix well. Pour into crust, sprinkle with nuts and bake for 50 min till knife comes out clean. Cool. Add whipped cream or a scoop of Leopold’s vanilla ice cream. J

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without mamma’s cornbread stuffing and this year I’m trying my hand at making the cranberry salad. I stole the recipe right out of Paula Deen’s kitchen.

1/2 orange
2 cups water
1 tart apple
3 cups cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Squeeze the orange and set the juice aside. Cut the rind into pieces. Boil the rind and water for 10 minutes, then drain. Dice the apple add the cranberries along with the orange juice, orange rind, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Boil, then simmer till the sauce thickens, the apple is tender and the cranberries have burst. 

Uncle Putter always says the blessing and then we each take a turn telling what we are most thankful for. This year I started the Prissy Fox and found my new four-legged BFF, Bruce Willis under my front porch. That’s a lot to be thankful for.

After dinner friends drop by. I’m sure that no-good, low-rent lawyer Walker Boone will come visiting and mooch leftovers, that’s just his style. 

It’s going to be a mighty fine Thanksgiving Day here in Savannah, I’m sure. So what are your plans for Thanksgiving and do you have any favorite foods you’re looking forward to? I’ll give away two Iced Chiffon totes from the answers.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Consignment Shop mystery regulars.




Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thanksgiing Coming

'by  Maggie Sefton




I hope all of you wonderful Cozy Chicks Readers and fans have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday.  I'm in Colorado now and slowly recuperating from that wicked Flu virus that started out West and has been moving East ever since.  Enjoy all the Turkey and stuffing and all the rest of those yummy extra dishes.  I'll be easting more simply this holiday.  :)    Enjoy, Everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2019

103 BOOKS BUT WHO'S COUNTING?

By Mary Kennedy                                                   

My pal and fellow Cozy Chick, Karen Rose Smith, is remarkably calm and composed for a lady who's written 103 books. Yes, 103! 
                                                                            

The latest, Murder with Cherry Tarts, is a delightful release in the Daisy's Tea Garden Mystery series. What's it about? Here's a one sentence wrap up. Enough to whet your appetite but not give away the plot!   

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Daisy Swanson has a tea shop to run, a daughter to marry off—and a murder to solve . . .

If you've been following the series and Karen's posts, you'll know that she makes regular trips to the Amish country in Pennsylvania and her books have a wealth of authentic detail. She also gives book signings at a cozy tea shop and readers can catch up for a chat with her while enjoying a delightful tea including soup, finger sandwiches, quiche and scones. She goes to the TranquilaTEA Room in Waynesboro, PA for their Friday night Book Lovers Tea Party.                              
                                                                            


Karen moves from table to chat with the guests as they chat about her wonderful series and enjoy delicious tea time treats. Here is the mouth-watering menu. I want to go there right now! If anyone's up for a road trip to Waynesboro for her next appearance, count me in!
                                                                                   
                                                                             

 Karen collects teddy bears, and here's one that Mandy carries in the latest release. I always think of warmth and comfort for the soul when I see a teddy bear and Karen's books are full of heart. The bugle in the photo also features in the plot and a transaction for it could provide a clue to the killer.
                                                                                

                                                                                    


Daisy buys this Victorian designed tea pot from Pirated Treasures in the book. (I want to go shopping with Daisy, don't you?)
                                                                           
And there is something else that endears Karen Rose to me. She not only loves cats, but she rescues them and cares for two ferals, Bonnie and Clyde, in addition to her own lovely cats. That makes her a hero in my book!

You can read more about Karen Rose Smith on her website. https://karenrosesmith.com. And of course, you can find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KarenRoseSmithBooks . You can enjoy her tweets on Twitter @karenrosesmith and she blogs every Thursday on the Cozy Chicks. www.cozychicksblog.com.

Release day for Murder with Cherry Tarts is Tuesday, November 26,  and yes, Karen includes a recipe in the book for the fabulous cherry tart pictured above. Here's the amazon link for the book.

Enjoy! And I know you join me in celebrating Karen Rose's success!


By Mary Kennedy


                                                                                    

Saturday, November 23, 2019

'TIS THE SEASON TO BE CRANKY

By Mary Kennedy                                             

'Tis the season to be jolly, right? Wait, not so fast. Something is off this season and I feel positively churlish, cranky, even curmudgeonly.  And it seems quite a few other people feel the same way. Is it stress, the crowds, the pre-season sales, the endless traffic? The need to put on a happy face?

Maybe it's a combination of all those things. Today was the worst. Two people cut me off on the highway; one person went sailing through a stop sign and nearly flattened me on my daily walk.

Worse, during a quick trip to pick up coffee at Mickey D's, I saw a father and son leaving the parking lot, throwing their trash out their car window. Yes, out the window!  I was so annoyed I pulled into a space and picked up the trash myself. They spotted me and yelled, "Hey, girlie, they have people to do that!"

"Yeah, well, I don't see any."

"What a moron!" the father replied and father and son broke into raucous laughter.  A horrible braying laugh and with their overlarge teeth, they bore a striking resemblance to Mr. Ed, the talking horse. At least that image brought a smile to my face.

Maybe it's just me or maybe it's the rest of the country, but something feels off. I promise I'll be back and in a more cheery frame of mind on Monday!

By Mary Kennedy

Friday, November 22, 2019

It's Tough Being Adored

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett



I have been lucky to have a string of wonderful cats. In fact, I came across a saying just yesterday:  "No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat." They were all special, but one stands out:  Fred.  He was my son. My little prince.  My sweet puppy boy. I adored him from the day I first saw him at Pet Smart. It took me five months to convince Mr. L to finally let me have him. (The store stipulated that he MUST be adopted with his brother, which is why they were both there for THIRTY-NINE WEEKS.)

Unfortunately, George didn't work out. He was a runt, but he was also a bully. He attacked the other cats, and even I was bitten (and my thumb started to turn black), but when he viciously attacked our Betsy, that was the last straw. He had to go. (And believe me, it was a tearful decision. We'd never had a cat failure.) Luckily, Mr. L's cousin's best friend was looking for a cat. George went to live in Buffalo and the minute he saw Cindy, it was love at first sight. He's still with her and he has not only tolerated her other cats, but been best buddies.  Go figure. (We learned the hard way that five cats strains the system.)

After George left, Fred became my boy. He was the most cheerful cat on the planet. All I had to do was look at him and he would purr. He loved for me to throw him over my shoulder and dance. He came when I called him. He wasn't much of a lap cat, but he'd sit with me for at least five minutes every evening. I loved that cat with all my heart and he loved me. I'm still broken-hearted that we lost him to kidney disease 20 months ago.

But loving Fred did not prepare me for Emma.

We got Emma and her sister nine months ago after 11 sad months of being catless. Not that we didn't look for cats. We looked for cats all the time visiting shelters and pet stores. None spoke to us. We wanted babies, because all of our previous cats had been elderly and we didn't want to lose new ones for at least a couple of decades. (We had three cats that lived to be 20.) One of my readers fosters cats.  She told us about Poppy and Emma.

At first, Emma was aloof and Poppy was the lover. (She still is, but on HER terms.) It took Emma a while to warm up to us. She's only now learning to be a lap cat (and it seems ONLY when I'm sitting in the family room editing the day's work. Go figure.)  But over the summer, Emma decided that I am her human. She is with me at least 22 hours of the day. She sits beside me (in the other chair) in my office. If I get up, she gets up. She follows me like a puppy. If she's out of sight and I call, she immediately comes running.  At night, she sleeps either at my feet, or next to my pillow.

Lately, we noticed that the normally silent Emma only talks when I go into the kitchen. For the rest of the day, she's as quiet as a mouse. Here's a video I took of her just yesterday.




I often feel sorry for Mr. L because Emma snubs him. Just yesterday, I walked into his office (which adjoins mine) and Emma walked past him (on his desk) to jump to his other office chair, climbed on top and begged me to make a fuss of her. She would love it if I made a fuss of her 24/7 telling her what a beauty she is and how much she's loved.

Yeah, she (and her sister) is a keeper.

Have you ever had a very special cat?

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Vote for Mamma.

Hi, Reagan Summerside here from the Consignment Shop mysteries set in Savannah. Pearls and Poison is all about my mamma, Judge Gloria Summerside. Not often does a judge get accused of murdering her opponent, especially my very own mamma. Here’s a bit of how things got there...



A dead-as-a-doornail opponent is one way to win an election…unless you wind up in jail for the murder. 

     “People are going to hate me if I do this,” I said to Auntie KiKi. “They’re going to cuss a blue streak and call me names and tell me to mind my own blankety-blank business and then slam the phone in my ear.”                                
      “Oh for crying in a bucket, Reagan.” KiKi shoved a computer printout at me. “Time to put on your iron-clad bloomers and dial the numbers on this here sheet. It’s your very own mamma everyone in this room is trying to get elected to city council. Least you can do is tell folks what a fine alderman she’d be, and Lord knows the city needs her instead of the scumbucket running against her.”
     
It’s election time in Savannah and my very own mamma, Judge Gloria Summerside known affectionately...or not so affectionately depending on who you were and what you did...as Guillotine Gloria is on the ballot.     

Mamma and my Auntie KiKi are sisters. At birth the muses tangoed over auntie’s crib turning her into Savannah’s dance diva and they wrapped mamma in a blanket with little elephants resulting in this campaign and me getting the name Reagan. 

If I had my way Mamma would run ads on TV saying what a total jerk Kip Seymour is because that’s exactly what he’s doing to her. The problem is that mudslinging politics is not mamma’s style.

The HotDoggery serves as Mamma’s campaign headquarters, the place filled with banners, signs and a Lego replica of Mamma from the Garrison Elementary kindergarten class over on Jones Street. 

Bruce Willis, my four-legged bff with wagging tail, and I hated to see the Doggery fold but even we couldn’t eat enough to keep the place afloat, though heaven knows we tried. All that remained was a dull yellowish mustard stain in the back corner and a faint whiff of relish. 

Today Mamma looked worried, riddling me with bad-daughter I hate making callsguilt. I’m the product of a Catholic education from no-nonsense nuns who take the honor thy mother and father idea real serious. I snapped up the phone. “Look, look, I’m dialing, I’m dialing!” 

Mamma’s lips thinned to a fine line across her face reminiscent of when I married Hollis Beaumont the Third. Considering how that turned out, I figured whatever worried Mamma today was sending us all straight to hell in a hand-basket. 

“I heard that Kip Seymour has a new attack ad coming out about me,” Mamma said. “I don’t know what it is but I’m concerned. They say it’s a nasty one, even worse than the that accused me of embezzling money from the Children’s Aid Society.” 

“Oh, but I can do much, much better,” Kip Seymour said from the doorway of the HotDoggery. “I’m going to win this election, Gloria Summerside, if it’s the last thing I do.” 

The Gettysburg Connection in MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS

by Karen Rose Smith


When I write a cozy mystery, I try to make each book special with an element that will give the novel an extra sparkle.  In MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS, which will be released on November 26, I wanted to give the book a Pennsylvania local connection.  I chose historic Gettysburg.

My favorite and most meaningful landmark has always been THE ETERNAL LIGHT PEACE MEMORIAL, also known as THE PEACE LIGHT.


If you have ever visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. and felt the church-like atmosphere of standing there before the monument, you can begin to understand the hushed atmosphere at The Peace Light.  There are no picnic tables or interactive stations.  There is simply the monument and what it stands for...the words engraved in granite.  The monument symbolizes the blue and grey uniting under one flag.  The gas-lit flame was the inspiration for the eternal flame on President John F. Kennedy's grave at Arlington.


So rich in history, Gettysburg is only an hour and a half drive away from my fictional town of Willow Creek that is situated in Lancaster County.  It was easy for me to tap into its history to play an important role in MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS.  Specifics about Gettysburg memorabilia were essential to the intrigue in this cozy.    

During a Willow Creek town council meeting, the idea of prettying up the town to draw in more tourists is raised.  My sleuth, Daisy Swanson, suggests decorating in a similar way as does that Gettysburg with pots waterfall begonias hanging from the street lamps.  She and her beau Jonas Groft have more than one reason to visit the historic town.  Yes, to see how the townspeople make the town a tourist draw but also to follow the breadcrumb clues of the murder mystery they are trying to solve.

Daisy and Jonas know that besides catering to tourists, Gettysburg is, in fact, a college town.  Galleries and theaters dot the area and cafes invite everyone into their eateries.  Nevertheless, because history is a mainstay, visitors also find antique shops on the main streets.  In MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS, memorabilia and shops that sell it are a focal point.  The fictional shop of Cannonball provides an important clue for Daisy when she and Jonas stop in to ask a few questions.  An antique shop in Willow Creek, Pirated Treasures, has a connection to the Cannonball that Daisy and Jonas are
pursuing.  Daisy and Jonas also drive to The Peace Light to have an important personal discussion.  The atmosphere there lends to the quiet and serenity that is necessary for sharing.

The plot in MURDER WITH CHERRY TARTS revolves around history mixed with modern day concerns...but, most of all, around family connections.  As the Gettysburg connection winds around the mystery, I hope you find Daisy's Tea Garden a cozy place with warmth, soup and baked goods you'll want to visit often.  Be sure to check out the scrumptious cherry tart recipe in the back of the book!  

*****************

AVAILABLE NOVEMBER 26, 2019


 In Pennsylvania's Amish country, Daisy Swanson has a tea shop to run, a daughter to marry off...and a murder to solve!

Daisy's worried one of her employees at Daisy's Tea Garden may be in a spot of trouble.  Lately Karina has been loading up on soup and second-day baked goods at the end of her shift--and while the shop's scrumptious treats may be hard to resist, Daisy suspects there's more going on, especially since Karina has been seen hanging out in a rundown part of Willow Creek.

Planning her own daughter's wedding is enough to keep her busy, but Daisy can't help feeling a protective maternal instinct--and an instinct to investigate.  It turns out Karina has been helping a down-on-his-luck single dad who's been making ends meet--barely--by selling antiques at a place called Pirated Treasures.

But when an employee at the antiques store is bludgeoned to death with a marble rolling pin, Karina's new friend is suspect number one.  Though the motives are muddy and steeped in intrigue, Daisy is more than determined to flush the real killer out.