Icing on the Casket By Catherine Bruns: Review/Giveaway/Recipe

Jun 6, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Food Fun, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from from Amazon.

Fortune Cookies…and Mystery!
Life in Colwestern, New York, Sally Muccio-Donovan’s hometown, has evolved from a refuge after a bitter divorce to “there’s no place I’d rather be.” Four years ago Sally returned home, opened up Sally’s Samples cookie shop with her BFF Josie Sullivan, reunited with and married her high school beau Mike Donovan, added a daughter (nicknamed Cookie) to the family, and continues to be the talk of the town for her prophetic fortune cookies and amateur detecting skills. Seems a full life, but add in a very quirky Italian family from her supportive sister Gianna to wise grandmother Rose with the occasional language faux pas, “hip” mother Maria to her father Domenic who’s making himself famous with his Father Death blog, and don’t forget the cantankerous neighbor Nicoletta, who is her sister’s mother-in-law, adding the right amount of humorous angst. All of this is delightfully orchestrated by Karma, and of course, those prophetic fortune cookies.

Icing on the Casket earns 5/5 Pine Boxes…Deliciously Entertaining!
Like all new parents, it’s the 3 a.m. hollering and sleepless nights that are hard to handle, but for Sally and Mike, they have a whole family of willing babysitters. Good because there’s the big order for cookies and such for the Easter holiday that needs her “wide awake” attention. But, Sally’s dad, needs some of that attention; his friend is missing. “Honest” Eddie Phibbins, director of Phibbins Mortuary, is also one of Dom’s biggest advertisers on his blog, and according to his wife, hasn’t been seen for forty-eight hours. She’s filled out a missing person’s report with the police, but it’s not like Ed to leave her by herself to run the business. Myrna Dublin’s husband died suddenly, and the funeral was quiet unorganized, and rumors of fraud, theft, and embezzlement are roaring around the community. Dom pleads for Sal’s help, but it’s not her help that’s needed…at least not now. Domenic found his friend in one of the funeral home’s coffins: dead, embalmed, and all ready for his final send off!

Domenic made a big deal about Sally’s detective skill to the widow, essentially volunteering her to find out what happened. So, she’s got a new born baby to care for, a business to run, several Easter cookie orders to fill, and a murder mystery to solve. The widow? Disgruntled ex-employees? Sibling conflicts? We’re any of the rumors true? Add her father’s very intrusive manner, and it’s just another day in the life of Sally Muccii-Donovan.

Brilliant! Catherine Bruns is a favorite author and Cookie and Chance is a favorite series, but that’s not just talk about a friend. I am thoroughly entertained by her clever mystery, circumstances, motives, and suspects; it always challenges my own inner detective, and it seems there’s always a bit of karmic justice in her plan. Catherine’s characters are so realistically illustrated in description and dialogue; the Muccio/Donovan/Sullivan families, neighbors, and customers seem reflective of friends and family. Ok, if anyone really knows a “cringe-worthy” Nicoletta Gavelli…I’m sorry. Anyone with a grandmother like Rose? Raise your hand [My hand is raised high]. The mystery is entertaining, and after nine books, it’s still fresh and engaging with personal peril, again, and justice for all. But, the victim seemed so nice, helpful, who would want him dead? The obvious avenues of interest were included, but misdirection and “I didn’t see that coming” make it quite the page turner. Catherine likes to leave you guessing. Of course, life goes on in between the questions, spying, and troublemaking, there’s taking care of the bakery, lots of baking, family dinners, keeping marriages healthy, and taking care of an infant, toddler, and four others. Loved it!

BONUS! I always look forward to seeing what recipes Catherine adds to her books. For this ninth book we get Cappuccino Crinkle Cookies, Spiced Apple Sugar Cookies, No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies, and Sprinkled Lemonade Cookies. I love it all! Is there a Cookies & Chance cookbook in the future? Let’s see what the fortune cookie says…

Be a Big Catherine Bruns Fan!
USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns pens many of my favorite cozy series that true cozy fans should not miss. From Gemma Halliday Publishing there are her nine-book Cookies & Chance Mystery series with the cryptic messages found in her fortune cookies, the three book Cindy York Mystery illustrating the murderous side of real estate, and the two-book Carrie Jorgenson series in the Aloha Lagoon Mystery multi-author collection giving us a delightful Hawaiian setting. She also has her new soon-to-be two-book Italian Chef Mysteries series with Poisoned Pen Press. Something for every cozy interest and many with easy-to-follow recipes!

Catherine Bruns Books (Facebook)
Catherine Bruns (Website)
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Fortune Cookies
With permission from Catherine Bruns
Excerpt from: Tastes Like Murder, Gemma Halliday Publishing

2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
Typed or handwritten fortunes – Make at least two inches long so that you can see where they are when the cookie is folded.
Food coloring
Approximately 4-ounces chocolate chips for dipping – Toll House, Reese’s, or Heath-flavored, whichever you prefer.
Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease a metal cookie sheet. In a medium sized bowl, stir together egg whites, vanilla, cinnamon, flour, and sugar. The batter should be very loose. If not, feel free to add a few drops of water.

Scoop about a tablespoon of batter and pour onto the cookie sheet in a circle. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the circle out and make a thin layer to form a medium sized cookie. Only bake a couple of cookies at a time since they harden quickly upon removal from the oven. Bake cookies for about 6-8 minutes, only until the edges begin to brown.

Remove the cookies from the oven. Then use a thin spatula to remove them from the tray. Immediately place the fortunes in the center and fold the cookie in half. Pinch the open edges inward and together to create the fortune cookie shape. Cookies harden instantly after they are formed, so you want to try to get this right the first time.

After all cookies have been baked and shaped, melt the entire amount of chips in the microwave for about 30 seconds on medium heat. Afterward, dunk the rounded edge of the cooled cookies into the chocolate. Immediately roll in sprinkles, and let harden. Place on parchment paper. Makes about one dozen cookies.

Another Homemade Fortune Cookie from blogger Lindsay recipe can be found at one of my favorite resources: www.evermine.com/blog.

To enter to win either an ebook copy of Icing on the Casket, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “icing,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 13, 2020. US only, and must be 18 or older to enter. 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 last week.

You can use this link to purchase this book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

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. Catherine Bruns is a good author. Count me in.

  2. My library doesn’t have her books yet, so sure would love to win – thanks for the chance.

  3. would really like to read. Thanks for the chance.

  4. Thank you for the recipes, and this chance to win

  5. Thanks for the review. Would love to read it. kckendler at gmail dot com

  6. I have a few of your books and would love to add to my collection. Thanks for the chance! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  7. We have a winner!


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