by Cynthia Chow
& Ellery Adams
This week we have a review of the latest Book Retreat Mystery by Ellery Adams, along with a fun recipe from Ellery. Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of one of Ellery’s books and a link to order the new one from Amazon and an independent bookstore.
Murder in the Cookbook Nook: A Book Retreat Mystery By Ellery Adams
Review by Cynthia Chow
Famous for their book-themed rooms and specializing as a resort for bibliophiles, Virginia’s Storyton Hall is about to be the site of a televised cooking competition show, A Bookish Cookoff. Six renowned American chefs will be competing against one another in book-themed challenges for bragging rights and a prize of $100,000, all hosted by young billionaire entrepreneur Mia Mallett. Before they even begin filming, there’s a fire on the archery field grounds and resort manager Jane Storyton fears that the sabotage has already begun. The combative relationships between the chefs is incendiary enough, although that’s mostly a result of Chef Pierce’s sexist, condescending, and bullying behavior. When his body is found surrounded by priceless broken porcelain tea cups and stabbed to death with one of the shards, Jane rallies her forces to investigate and protect her beloved Storyton Hall home.
Jane does indeed have a formidable army at her side, as she is the Guardian of Storyton Hall, a historical estate that for centuries housed and protected tomes believed too valuable or dangerous to be read by mankind. Jane has only recently changed their purpose and begun disseminating the information to the world, with her loyal guard of wise and battle-trained Finns at her side. Just as instrumental to her has been her boyfriend Edwin, a Templar whose Robin Hood-ish mission has been to steal already-purloined books and return them to their rightful homes. Now they make it their goal to solve the murder of the chef before filming stops and the suspects return to their various kitchens and television studios around the country. That doesn’t mean that Jane still won’t have time for her Cover Girls book club meetings, especially when they follow the cuisine theme by reading – and cooking from – chef memoirs. Nothing can be more mouth-watering or heartwarming than meals coming straight from the souls of Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl, Eddie Huang, or Top Chef’s Kwame Onwachi.
As someone who has seen every episode of Top Chef, this book delighted me in a countless number of ways. While chefs are renowned for their brash personalities and big egos, here many surprise with their generosity and willingness to help others to shine on a fair playing field. There is so much fun to be had as chefs compete in challenges based on Hemingway and Dickens, with the descriptions of their exquisite meals worthy of any Gourmet or Saveur Magazine review. Even more rewarding is the presence of reclusive Olivia Limoges, staying at the resort while her chef competes and she recovers from a personal tragedy. Fans of Ellery Adams will, of course, know Olivia from the Books by the Bay mystery series, in which she and her wonderful standard poodle Captain Haviland own and run the Boots Top Bistro restaurant. The tone is kept light and lively here with the exciting cooking competitions, television production machinations, and scandals within the food industry. Readers will be educated as well as entertained in this seventh of the series, which continues the mythology of Storyton while reveling in the cooking competition world. Bibliophiles and foodies will find so much to enjoy in this latest installment of the adventures of Jane and her book-protecting family.
Cooking with Ellery Adams
In Murder in the Cookbook Nook, there are too many cooks in one kitchen. The intensity of a celebrity chef cooking competition is fierce, and not everyone can take the heat.
As the days grow warmer and the garden starts producing vegetables and herbs, there’s nothing like a simple dish. to create a relaxed feeling. You’ll feel like a celebrity chef after making this pie. With fresh ingredients and lots of love, you can’t lose.
And since you cooked, someone else should clean up while you kick back and read a book.
Storyton Hall’s Tomato & Basil Pie
4 fresh tomatoes, peeled and sliced
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 (9-inch) prebaked deep dish pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the tomato slices in a colander in the sink. Sprinkle with salt and drain for 10 minutes.
3. Layer the tomato slices, basil, and onion in pie shell. Season with salt and pepper. Gently blend the grated cheeses and mayonnaise together. Spread mixture on top of the tomatoes and bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.
Giveaway: Comment with the title you’d like to win from the Book Retreat series or The Secret, Book, and Scone series and whether you’d like a print or ebook version. There will be TWO winners. US only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you would prefer to enter via email simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Ellery Adams,” and be sure to include what book you are wanting to win and in what format. 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. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.
You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:
You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
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.