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Much Ado About Muffin By Victoria Hamilton: Review/Guest Post/Giveaway

IN THE August 13 ISSUE

FROM THE 2016 Articles,
andFood Fun,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andSandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy
& Victoria Hamilton

We have another fun food mystery this week, Much Ado About Muffin by Victoria Hamilton. We also have a fun food guest post from Victoria including a recipe! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Much Ado About Muffin, 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.

Much Ado About Muffin By Victoria Hamilton
Review by Sandra Murphy

Merry Wynter had one really good date with Sheriff Virgil Grace before she was called to go to Italy to her estranged mother-in-law’s deathbed. She had blamed Merry for her son staying in the US and being killed in a car accident but now wants to make amends.

It was a nice break from the constant worry about how to do needed repairs and pay the bills at Wynter Castle. Merry inherited it from her uncle but not money to keep it going. Now, two months have elapsed in Italy and she needs to get back to reality. book

Her best friend, Pish, has been taking care of things while she was gone, but he’s apt to get busy with music and forget details like getting the grass cut. Beckett, her uncle’s cat, has decamped to the forest like he did when her uncle died. To make matters worse, Pish invited a house guest. Of course, that wouldn’t be a problem, but Roma Toscano, an opera singer, never met a man she wouldn’t flirt with—including Merry’s husband. She pretends not to remember it, but Merry can’t forget her behavior. She’s as prone to over the top emotions as the characters she plays in an opera and a slob besides.

One of the people she has a big scene with is Minnie who runs the post office. There are a lot of complaints about the way she does it, but nothing’s been done so far. Minnie takes in boarders and currently has two boys (Karl and Luke) and one girl (Brianna) living at her house.

When Minnie’s found dead in the post office, Roma is a likely suspect. As much as Merry would like to believe it, she feels Roma is more the type to cause a scene than to do the deed. Minnie didn’t have many friends (one or two) and seemed to go out of her way to make as many enemies as possible so the suspect list is long, including Karl, who she kicked out of her house the night before.

Between Roma’s emoting, getting her muffin business back up and running, and some surprising news from Virgil, Merry’s got her hands full. Add to those problems, her BFF Shiloh is acting weirder than usual, and her friend Emerald’s massage business has turned into a Consciousness Calling franchise, ready to heal the woes and supply riches to all who can afford private sessions with Crystal, Emerald’s partner/mentor/guru.

This is the fourth book in the Merry Muffin Mystery series. Merry’s able to explore her feelings about her husband and his death, her new feelings for Virgil, and learn to tolerate Roma for Pish’s sake. Readers get a better sense of all the side characters this time which adds depth to the storyline without detracting from the mystery. Merry found the time to include the recipes for apple crisp muffins and double chocolate walnut muffins.

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.

Food & Cozy Mysteries; A Match Made in Food Heaven

By Victoria Hamilton

I’ve always cooked, or at least it seems like it. My mother was a nurse who worked shift work, and my father was a true sixties dad. He knew how to cook—he was a cook in the army—he just didn’t cook for his family. So at nine years old, I learned how to make dinner for my family. My first meal was boiled potatoes, canned peas, and fried meatloaf. I burned the peas because I was reading the funny papers. That was just the ‘first’ time I burned something because my mind wandered or I got reading; many more disasters would follow!



Fast forward to now, and I write cozy mysteries that often feature recipes. It feels like a natural fit; I’ve been cooking most of my life, after all. Muffins are my favorite baked good to make, so it also seems natural that I write the Merry Muffin Mysteries and feature muffin recipes.

Here, for your delectation, I present a simple and versatile muffin recipe!

Banana Muffins
Makes: 12 Muffins

3 large ripe bananas (I always buy too many bananas, so I often have some go too ripe to eat, but I peel them, mash them and put them in zip bags and freeze them, with a label that tells me how many bananas are in the bag, usually two or three) ) 1/2 cup white sugar 1 egg 1/3 cup oil (I use canola oil) 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose) 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tin with 12 paper muffin cups.
2. Mash bananas until smooth.
3. In a large bowl mix the bananas, sugar, egg, and oil until well blended.
4. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium size bowl and stir them together. This is the ideal time to pop in some add-ins, like chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts work well), or chocolate chips (mmm, banana and chocolate go well together), or whatever morsels you like. Mixing them with the dry ingredients helps keep them from sinking in the muffin cups once the batter is mixed.
5. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, but don’t over-mix! I like to fold the ingredients together gently until there is very little dry flour showing.
6. Spoon the batter evenly into 12 lined muffin cups.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 23 minutes (anywhere from 22-25 minutes, depending on your oven), then let them cool in the tins for about 5 minutes. Turn them out of the muffin tins and let them finish cooling, or… eat one warm with butter! Sooo good with a cup of coffee or tea.

To enter to win a copy of Much Ado About Muffin, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “muffin,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 20, 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 from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of three bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria Hamilton and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.
Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing! You can learn more on her website.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole Vickers
Twitter: @BeagleNic
August 13, 2016 at 9:37am

Okay, I’m always freezing whole, overripe bananas and not once did it ever cross my mind to peel and mash them first and it’s always such a mess when I thaw them to use. Oh my goodness, I need to start doing this! Thanks for much for posting the review, I’d love to read this book. 🙂



2 Dianne Mossor August 13, 2016 at 10:32am

Now I want some muffins! The book and recipe both sound good. ?
jademoss17 (at)gmail(dot)com


3 Julie Stafford
Twitter: @stafford-spike
August 13, 2016 at 1:12pm

This Muffin Cozy Murder Mystery Series and the banana Muffins both sound scrumptious. I love cozy mysteries and banana muffins. I send my over-ripe bananas to my sister-in-law and she does exactly what Ms. Hamilton does with them. I have the recipe now. Would love to win the book. Thanks for the opportunity!!??. ? Email:spike5271943@aol.com. Good luck to all who enter!!


4 Julie Stafford
Twitter: @stafford-spike
August 13, 2016 at 1:17pm

I typed the wrong Twitter name in my comment above. Didn’t know how to edit it.


5 Julie Stafford
Twitter: @stafford-spike
August 13, 2016 at 1:15pm

I typed the wrong Twitter name above.


6 Kristi Lewis
Twitter: @Kristilynn001
August 13, 2016 at 2:25pm

I would love to win this book. My favorite way to relax is to curl up with a good book!


7 Jess d August 13, 2016 at 3:21pm

Would love to read this book


8 Harriette August 13, 2016 at 5:13pm

All of her mysteries are delightful page-turners. I hope to read this one soon. I like the review saying we get to know more of the supporting characters in this book.


9 Donamae
Twitter: @donamaekutska
August 13, 2016 at 7:50pm

The book sounds awesome!!


10 Doward Wilson August 14, 2016 at 12:11am

Great recipe and post. I love this series. Thanks for the chance to win.


11 Marilyn Watson
Twitter: @MarilynWatson18
August 14, 2016 at 12:49am

Sounds great on the book…and I have burned stuff too. I love muffins though and I will try and make these. Yum..I really like your characters name Merry…Please enter me.
Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com


12 Valerie Hoynacki August 14, 2016 at 7:44am

Muffins?!?! OKAY!! Sign me up to read this one!


13 Dianne Casey August 14, 2016 at 2:55pm

This is another great series. I like books that feature recipes and the banana muffins look really good. Looking forward to reading “Much Ado About Muffin”.


14 Kathleen Kendler
Twitter: @Kathleen
August 15, 2016 at 1:28am

Can’t wait to read. Kckendler@gmail(.) com


15 holdenj
Twitter: @.
August 15, 2016 at 5:17am

Great tip about mashing the bananas before freezing them! I just made banana muffins this morning and my recipe is a bit different, will have to give this a try! Love Merry’s series and thanks for the chance to win!


16 Anne
Twitter: @anne
August 15, 2016 at 10:45am

Thanks for this delightful giveaway. Mashing is a great idea. Thanks.


17 Donna Durnell August 15, 2016 at 4:47pm

Love the Merry Muffin series. I usually let my bananas go too long and they start getting moldy. I will have to start going ahead and mashing and freezing. Then when I’m actually ready to bake, I’ll have the bananas. Thanks for the hint.
I’m going to be trying this recipe too!

donna {dot} durnell {at} sbcglobal {dot} net


18 SHELLEY S August 20, 2016 at 7:19pm



19 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
August 30, 2016 at 12:04pm

We have a winner!


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