Food and Craft Mysteries Catch Up!

Jan 25, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Food Fun, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

This week we have 2 food mysteries and a craft mystery for your reading fun-A Murderous Tangle: Seaside Knitters Society Mystery by Sally Goldenbaum, Cobblered to Death: Courtney Archer series by Rosemarie Ross, and Murder with Cherry Tarts: Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery by Karen Rose Smith. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of all 3 books, along with links you can use to purchase them. If you have ad blocker on you won’t see the Amazon links at the end of each review.

A Murderous Tangle: Seaside Knitters Society Mystery by Sally Goldenbaum
Review by Sandra Murphy

Bobby Abbott owns a popular bar. He is a genial host, remembers customers names, and is willing to buy drinks for special guests. As a man, he is not at all likable. He’s spoiled, rude, and likes to ridicule. It’s not a shock when his body is found on the rocks beneath the deck outside his bar.

Given the number of affairs he had, the suspect list included women he treated badly, their spouses, boyfriends or family, his own family, employees…there are a lot of choices.

One of the choices is Tess Bean. She’s a rabid environmentalist, part-time teacher, and part-time employee at the veterinary clinic. She’s also got quite a following with her twelve-year old students. She was seen arguing with Bobby not long before his death.

Nell, Birdie, Cass, and Izzy form the Seaside Knitters, based at Izzy’s yarn shop. Since Birdie’s granddaughter Gabby is positive Tess is not a murderer, the women believe her and search for the killer. They never put themselves at risk but research, ask questions, and analyze the results. This time they have to wonder, is the murder based on something that happened in the past or in the present?

The four women are as different as can be and yet, their friendship is unshakable. Birdie is the oldest although living with Gabby is adding years to her life. Next is Nell, retirement age and loving it. She’s the best cook, providing weekly dinners or bringing food to the knitting sessions. Discussing the murder with her husband Ben, she’s able to iron out any problems that arise. Cass and Izzy are about the same age. Cass owns several lobster boats. Izzy’s yarn shop keeps them all knitting.

At first, the story may seem slow paced, but it’s the thoughtful way the women live that brings the reader right into the small town. The mystery is good and wasn’t easy to solve, the kind I love to read. More than that, it’s a visit to Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, just before winter settles down for a long stay. When Nell and Izzy walk through the woods, you’ll swear you smell the ocean breeze coming through the trees.

This is book three in the series and includes a recipe for slow braised chicken thighs with olives, capers, and bay leaves and a pattern for a warm cowl neck, knitted in the round.

Goldenbaum also writes the Queen Bee quilt shop mysteries (3).

Cobblered to Death: Courtney Archer series by Rosemarie Ross
Review by Sandra Murphy

Courtney Archer is a chef with her own show, Cooking with the Farmer’s Daughter. The problem is, her parents are professional people and Courtney’s never been near a farm. Her show’s run for five years and is feeling a little stale in her opinion. What she really wants to do is teach people to carve fruits and vegetables into works of art, using her own designer line of knives.

There’s one year left on her contract before she can renegotiate terms. Hosting the The American Baking Battle should broaden her audience appeal. It’s an easy enough gig—stand on the correct mark, tell the contestants what to bake, and tell them baking time starts now.

Problems on the set look never ending. Otto is a professional chef, competing against sous chefs and home cooks. He doesn’t bother to hide his frustration when he doesn’t win each challenge. Mick looks to be the main troublemaker. He learns Courtney’s secret and in spite of promises to keep it to himself, she feels he can’t be trusted. He also needles Harrison, one of the judges, and Tabitha, a complaining chef.

Security is tight in order to keep fans out of the building. What appears to be a weekly show will actually be filmed back to back in a short span of time. Mick wins Best Baker for the first day but loses his life when he’s bashed over the head with a cherry cobbler filled cast iron skillet while on the set after hours.

As a person of interest, Courtney feels the evidence is stacking up against her. Her prints are the only ones on the skillet. She was on set long after the contestants went back to their hotel rooms. On the plus side, at least for her, Mick had gathered secrets from each cast member. Add in a hunky head of security and she’s determined to find the killer’s identity.

This is the first in a new series. Courtney has a bad habit of talking about her secrets and suspicions without realizing how many people can hear her. Eric, her producer, is a model of patience. For a glimpse behind the camera, this story will make you feel like you’re right in the kitchen ready to bake with them. When trying to figure out the murderer and motive, keep in mind, everyone has a secret.

Murder with Cherry Tarts: Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery by Karen Rose Smith
Review by Sandra Murphy

Daisy and Aunt Iris are about run off their feet at their tea garden. It’s hotter than blazes so an iced tea and cherry tart sound like just the break everyone needs. Daisy’s daughters, Vi and Jazzi, both work there, plus Vi’s fiancé, Foster. Vi is pregnant, and the wedding is only weeks away, putting everyone’s nerves on edge.

Karina, one of the employees, befriended a homeless man, Keith, and his toddler daughter. She shares leftover soup and pastries from the tea garden for their dinner every night. When Daisy finds out what’s going on, she wants to help, too.

Keith has been a picker—finding items for sale and reselling them to an antique shop. When the shop’s employee is murdered in the store, the blame falls on Keith. His prints are on the murder weapon, and although there’s a good reason, the detective isn’t looking any farther.

Daisy’s been involved in murder investigations before. She really doesn’t have time to figure this one out either but feels Keith is being treated unfairly—plus it’s a good reason to take a break from wedding planning and Vi’s pre-wedding jitters.

Daisy isn’t one to take risks, but someone is determined to sideline her questions. After a couple of threats, she’d like to, but it’s also proof she’s getting close to the truth.

In her personal life, her relationship with Jonas is moving along, albeit slowly. Her family takes up a lot of time, but with Vi moving in with Foster soon, Jazzi spending time with friends, Aunt Iris dating again, Daisy is close to an empty nest. On the other hand, Vi’s baby will take up a lot of time. The tea garden is doing well and in need of more employees, with whatever issues they bring along.

This is book four in the series. Daisy’s devotion to her family is absolute, her relationship with Jonas, one to envy. Her willingness to help extends beyond family and into the community. Daisy had been raised to be agreeable and to go along. Now she is finding her own voice, and it will be interesting to see where that will lead her. I can’t wait to see what happens as Daisy comes into her own. A modern day story that feels like home, Daisy’s Tea Garden is the place to visit for a bit of quiet, good food, and the occasional murder.

Daisy shares recipes for sour cream cucumber salad, chicken soup with veggies and egg noodles, and of course, cherry tarts.

Smith also writes the Caprice De Luca mysteries (8), many reviewed here.

To enter to win a copy of all 3 books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “food crafts,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 1, 2020. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week!

You can use this link to purchase any of these books from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. A Murder of Crows, edited by Sandra Murphy (a popular title so you need her name to search), has twenty-one cozy stories. Each features the collective name of an animal and a crime. The animals range from tarantulas, koalas, wolves, bears, jellyfish, toads, cats, dogs, alpaca, goats, penguins and more. No animals were harmed. The people weren’t so lucky. Available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Thanks for these delightful and intriguing mysteries.

  2. Great collection of books! Count me in!

  3. Enjoy reading mysteries and these are all new authors to me!

  4. Just Wonderful reviews on ALL THREE of these Fabulous
    BOOKS. I would absolutely day the chance to win all 3 of
    These amazingly fantastic stories.
    They each have the most Magnificently beautiful ? covers.
    Thanks for Sun fun review’s and the chance to win :-

  5. More books to add to my “want to read” list. These look interesting. Love the covers.

  6. Food craft

    Tasha bundage
    9002 sterlingshire st apt 2108
    Houston tx 77078

  7. Love reading Mysteries and they make me feel warm and cozy inside. Thanks for your great generosity.

  8. This will be some great reading for whoever the lucky winner is!

  9. These series sound wonderful. Thanks for the contest.

  10. Three great authors with three great books. Thanks for featuring them on your blog. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  11. Three great books. Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. Three more Excellent books for my reading enjoyment- Thanks for the article!
    Kelly Braun

  13. All three books sound amazing. Thanks for the chance.

  14. Would love these books. Going on my tbr list

  15. They all sound interesting and fun to read. thank you for the chance

  16. I would love to win these. These
    cold days are conducive to sitting
    by the fire reading. thanks.

  17. We have a winner!


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