Death at the Day Lily Café By Wendy Sand Eckel: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Jul 23, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Food Fun, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

This week we are reviewing a new author for us, Wendy Sand Eckel. We also have a fun food related guest post from Wendy which includes some recipes! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a signed copy of Death at the Day Lily Café and a Day Lily Café mug, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, as well as a link to purchase it from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.

Death at the Day Lily Café: Rosalie Hart series by Wendy Sand Eckel
Review by Sandra Murphy

Rosalie Hart was happily married when her husband announced he was not, and he wanted a divorce. She’s been able to move on and that included finally opening the café of her dreams. She inherited a farm from her aunt and with the help of Tyler, her next door neighbor, now has chickens for free range eggs, organically grown veggies, and plans to go much bigger. The café opens to a great success. So far, they’re open three days a week, soon expanding to four. As they get their balance, it will be a seven day place to eat and will include dinner and drinks.

Rosalie owes a lot to her friend Doris. When Doris asks a favor, she can’t say no, even though she doesn’t have a minute to spare. Doris’ sister, Lori, was married to Carl James (CJ). He was a contractor working on the dormitories for the college. Money went missing, and it had to be a contractor that took it. Until the mess is figured out, all the contractors are barred from the job. book

CJ is dead, and the Sheriff is sure Lori shot him at point blank range with a shotgun. She swears she didn’t do it. Lori is the kind of person who does things and finds out the consequences later but never learns from the experience. It’s no wonder people doubt her.

Custer, Rosalie’s cook, is a dream in the kitchen but very close-mouthed about his past. He’s on probation, she knows that much, but no one will tell her why. Now he’s hanging out with Rosalie’s daughter, Annie.

In between trying to help Lori, reassure Doris, and keep up with the restaurant, Rosalie wonders about her attraction to Tyler, his friendship with Bini, acts as go-between for Annie and her dad and investigates new beers and wines with her helper, Glenn. Within just a couple of weeks, the café has regulars and is a gathering place, just what she hoped.

CJ’s best friend, Butch, is back to console Lori. Anyone who knows him, is sure there’s more to it than that. He’s Custer’s father and Tyler’s brother but neither wants anything to do with him. Butch can be charming when he wants something, mean when he doesn’t get it.

This is the second book in the charming Rosalie Hart series. Rosalie is low-key, doesn’t put herself in danger unless it’s where her daughter is concerned, and acts as peacemaker and diplomat for others. There’s information about organic, locally grown food scattered throughout. The characters are rich, with a depth like you’ve known them a good while, without putting every detail on the page to slow the story. This is a series to watch and will certainly be on my favorites of 2016 list. The café is where townspeople come to relax with good friends and good food. The book is where readers go to do the same.

Rosalie shares recipes for an egg bake dish, potato cakes, arugula side salad, caramelized onion grilled cheese sandwiches, ten-minute tomato soup, key lime bars, and a variety of seasoned salts.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble and a Kindle. You can find several of Sandra’s short stories at Untreed Reads including her newest, “Arthur,” included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now. Look for Denali, in the anthology Dogs and Dragons.

Murder on the Menu
By Wendy Sand Eckel

Ginger hurried in the door of Brio shaking rain off her umbrella and stomping her black pumps on the mat. We were meeting for a glass of wine after work as we often did now that we were no longer neighbors.

“Sorry I’m late,” she said as we hugged.

“I’m just happy to see you.” I motioned to Dave, our favorite bartender.

Ginger and I first met twenty years ago. Both new moms who had recently been transplanted to a very small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, we were grateful to have found one another. At first we lamented about leaving jobs in larger cites, Houston and Washington, D.C., respectively, and trying to find a way to fit into the close knit community we now called home. But after a few years, Ginger and I had settled in like round pegs in snug round holes. In fact, I was so taken with the place, I chose it as the setting for my Rosalie Hart mystery series.

A flat stretch of land wedged between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic, Maryland’s Eastern Shore is a unique part of the country known for its salty watermen, dug-in farmers, and the landed gentry who are hidden by long, tree-lined lanes that lead to their historic estates along the waterways. The residents of this part of the country are insular and proud, and you have to earn their trust before you are brought into the fold.


Wendy Sand Eckel

“Tell me everything,” I said to Ginger as Dave set a glass of Chardonnay on a white cocktail napkin before me. “How are your boys? How’s your new puppy? How was your Mother’s Day?”

Ginger laughed. She had a kind face with high, round cheeks and dancing brown eyes that made her look perpetually ready for the next adventure. “I’ll start with Mother’s Day. Byron came home from college and made me breakfast. We spent the entire day together.”

“Lucky you.” Fingerprints dotted the chilled glass as I finished my first sip. “He’s such a good cook. What did he make?”

“Family fave,” she said. “Banana bread French toast.” Ginger held the stem of her glass with both hands and tasted her Merlot.

“I’m sorry,” I said, “what did you say?”

“Banana bread French toast. You mean you’ve never had it?”

My mouth watered. I licked my lips thinking it sounded like something Elvis would eat. I loved encountering a new spin on an oldie but goodie, such as topping grilled cheese with slow-cooked caramelized onions or adding basil-infused cream to tomato soup. My thoughts turned to the book I had just completed. I had recently submitted the first draft of the latest in my Rosalie Hart mystery series, Death at the Day Lily Café, to my editor at Minotaur.

In Death at the Day Lily Café, in addition to being asked to clear a friend of murder charges, Rosalie Hart realizes her dream when she opens the Day Lily Café. After several weeks of crowded tables and satisfied customers, she decides to expand her hours to include a Sunday champagne brunch.

I studied Ginger. I needed to rewrite that scene.

She tucked her light brown hair behind an ear. “You okay?”

“I need that recipe,” I said, as I dug through my bag for a pen.

She laughed. “It’s pretty darn good.”

Banana Bread French Toast

Banana Bread

Nonstick vegetable spray
4 large ripe mashed bananas
3/4 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 stick melted butter
1/2 cup lightly toasted chopped walnuts frenchtoast

Preheat oven to 350º
Coat an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, bananas, and butter in a larger bowl until smooth (I like to put the bananas through a food processor first). Add dry ingredients to wet and whisk until just combined. Stir in walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until center comes out clean, around 55-60 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Slice bread into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces.

French Toast

3 large organic eggs
1/2 cup whole organic milk
1/3 cup organic heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
1 Tablespoon organic butter
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
Powdered sugar

Whisk the first five ingredients together in a medium bowl. Heat butter and oil in a large nonstick frying pan on medium heat. Dip slices of banana bread in mixture until coated. Place in pan and cook each side about five minutes. Keep cooked slices warm in the oven until all slices are cooked.

Sift powdered sugar over each slice and serve with pure maple syrup.

You can check out the book trailer for Wendy’s book on Vimeo:

To enter to win a signed copy of Death at the Day Lily Café and a Day Lily Café mug, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “lily,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 30, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

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

Wendy Sand Eckel is the author of the Rosalie Hart mystery series set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Murder at Barclay Meadow, the first in the series, was published by Minotaur Books in July, 2015. Death at the Day Lily Café will be released by Minotaur on July 26, 2016. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the International Association of Crime Writers, she has degrees in criminology and social work and a passion for words and their nuanced meanings. Find out more at


  1. New author/series is always so exciting. And the blurb makes it even more so. Love the covers and appreciated the recipe.
    Thanks for the heads up and a chance at the book with the lovely cover and a mug to sip tea while reading

  2. What a delightful sounding read! Thanks for the intro and chance to win!

  3. This is a new to me author. Book sounds like a great read. Thanks for the chance.

  4. I love a good mystery…. and talk about a great mystery… I loved Wendy Sand Eckel’s book Murder at Barclay Meadow, set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with places I am familiar with… I can’t wait to read Death at the Day Lily Café! And it would be so nice to meet Wendy at a book signing event. Thank you for the review and guest post to include the yummy recipes.

    • Hi Sandy,

      Where do you live? I’ll let you know if I have a signing or will maybe schedule one nearby. Thanks!


  5. This sounds very good thanks for the chance.
    Penney, penneyw@sbcglobal(.)net

  6. Love the cover! The recipes sound great. Can’t wait to read it!

  7. I’m going to use this banana bread recipe! Thanks!

  8. My kind of favorite read! My fingers are crossed. 8-))))

  9. I think Rosalie’s dream sounds like it could be the dream of many people. The characters and the plot sound like a terrific story to draw a reader in. Would love to be the winner. annettena (at) yahoo (dot) com

  10. Sounds good. Would like a chance to read and review this book. email is cactuspare(at)cox(dot)net

  11. Book sounds great! Thanks for the french toast recipe. I have yet to master french toast for some reason….maybe heavy cream will be the magic ingredient I’ve been missing?

  12. Wthanks fir this great opportunity!

  13. I am always on the lookout for new cozy series. 🙂 Think one looks great.

  14. Sounds like a great read, thanks for the giveaway! eileen@eads. (dot) pro

  15. Loved the first book & can’t wait to read this one.

  16. Sounds like another new to me author.

  17. This looks like a great read.

  18. Sounds great and I love cozies…the cover is wonderful too. I collect tea sets so this is perfect. Thanks for the contest.

  19. Would love the chance to win and read this. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  20. This sounds like a good cozy series and a fun book. Thanks for the giveaway!
    maria63303 at gmail dot com

  21. Reviewing this book and I am really enjoying it. The recipes sounds very tasty.

    • Oops forgot the email, it is dr(dot)Oldsmobile at icloud(dot)com

  22. This sounds like a fun – and busy – mystery! Would love to read it and get to know all the characters!

  23. We have a winner!

  24. Thank you!!


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