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.
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.
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!
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:
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