And Then There Were Crumbs By Eve Calder: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Aug 17, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Food Fun, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow
& Eve Calder

This week we have a review of the first in a brand new series by Eve Calder, And Then There Were Crumbs. We also have a fun food guest post by Eve. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of And Then There Were Crumbs. There is also a link to purchase it Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.

And Then There Were Crumbs A Cookie House Mystery by Eve Calder
Review by Cynthia Chow

It was a trifecta of calamities that led to Kate McGuire completely upending her life and starting over in Coral Cay, Florida. In one day her New York City apartment went condo, the owner of the restaurant where she worked as a pastry chef closed due to embezzlement, and she cancelled her wedding due to her cheating fiancé. Just when Kate didn’t think things could get any lower, her car conked out on the way to a job interview at the third-rate Fish-a-Palooza “restaurant.” It’s why she’s so eager to offer her pastry chef skills to the Sam Hepplewhite, owner of the Cookie House bakery that inexplicably does not sell cookies. While Sam is adamant that she only work the register and at below the federal rate’s minimum wage, Kate is able to negotiate free room and board by staying in an unused storeroom. It’s a decision she comes to question when she hears someone breaking into bakery. What seems like a prank turns into something far more suspicious when developer Stewart Lord, last seen having a confrontation with Sam in the Cookie House, is found poisoned to death by a cinnamon roll.mystery

When Sam is taken into police custody, Katie can’t help but feel the evidence isn’t adding up and that the police are jumping to the wrong conclusions. The boxes she unpacks in the Cookie House reveal that once it was a place that celebrated pastry treats, and Katie is determined not only to prevent the bakery from closing, but in having it live up to its name and once again honor the legacy of Sam’s late wife. Kate is more than qualified to assist Sam on all fronts, as not only did she train at the Culinary Institute of America, she has the superpower of being able to identify everyone’s favorite cookie. Just as honed as her taste buds are her observational skills, which not only allow her to spot a possible stalker, they have her on the lookout for the break-in suspect based on his smell.

This absolutely charming mystery introduces readers to the small town of Coral Cay, where locals warmly support one another and encourage one another’s quirks. Businesses have irresistible names – the In Vino Veritas wine shop and As Time Goes By antique store are just two examples – and they all come together to help Katie renovate Sam’s bakery. No one is more supportive than Maxi Max-Buchanan, owner of the Flower Maximus Floral shop next door and a woman who introduces Kate to the world of Cuban-American cuisine while also serving as a detective assistant. Rounding out this cast of eminently likable characters is Oliver, the town’s huge poodle puppy that belongs to no one but is owned and adored by all.

As investigations are conducted by the Coral Cay Irregulars mystery book club, Kate and Maxi juggle the grand reopening and open house celebration of a new Cookie House. No recipes are included, but the descriptions are so lusciously detailed that readers will feel as though they are making the cookies themselves. Nods to Agatha Christie, search for a third generation sourdough starter, and investigation of a ruthless developer make this a satisfying and extremely fun read. This is the start of an extremely fun new series full of sympathetic characters, tantalizing food descriptions, and a heroine discovering that is exactly where she was meant to be.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Cooking Up a Culinary Mystery
By Eve Calder

It started simply enough.

My editor asked: How about a cozy mystery with a pastry chef protagonist?

Visions of cookies, cupcakes, and eclairs danced in my head. Honestly, who wouldn’t want that gig? Especially since it basically combines two of my favorite things: food and mysteries. (And when it comes to food, I have a definite sweet tooth.)

But Martha Stewart I’m not.

In my cozy mystery, And Then There Were Crumbs, home cook Maxi confesses to Kate (my pastry chef) that sometimes her own desserts don’t always rise as predicted or pop perfectly out of the pan. Her husband calls those the “flop cakes.” And her family loves them. mystery

I stole that bit from my own grandmother, who was known for her wonderful cooking and baking – and had the good humor to laugh at her (rare) culinary missteps. But the truth is it could also describe a good number of my own kitchen creations. Including one batch of chocolate chip cookies that, for whatever reason, just wouldn’t rise. They may have looked like chocolate chip pancakes, but they tasted great.

Still, if I was going to write a culinary mystery, I had to raise my game.

It was definitely time for some research. I binge-watched the Great British Baking Show. I analyzed Milk Street and America’s Test Kitchen with a pen and paper at the ready, taking copious notes. Because there was going to be a test. And when it came, I needed to know the difference between French buttercream, Italian buttercream, and Swiss buttercream. Not to mention the different varieties of cinnamon.

I visited bakeries and chatted with bakers. I watched, mesmerized, as cake decorators used colorful icing to turn plain layers into whimsical creations. I haunted the aisles of Williams-Sonoma and Crate and Barrel, studying the tools chefs and home cooks were reaching for most, along with the techniques for using them. And, in the name of “research,” I had a ready excuse to sample cookies, cupcakes, and pastries. After all, if Kate McGuire was actually making them, I had to be able to describe the smells, tastes, and textures. (Even if it meant running a few extra miles a week to compensate.)

And finally, the light bulb popped on. (Kinda like the ones from those old Easy-Bake Ovens.) I didn’t have to turn myself into a pastry chef. I just needed to be able to describe that world to readers. Preferably with all five senses. The smell of warm chocolate and cinnamon when Kate steps into the kitchen. Watching bakery owner Sam Hepplewhite practice hand flouring the counter as he begins making a batch of his famous sourdough bread. The tinkle of the shop bell on the door, as customers rush into the shop with good news or a bit of juicy gossip. And the salty-sweet taste of warm peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven with a cold glass of milk.

Call it my own version of “fake it ‘til you make it.” And don’t knock those flop cakes. They taste delicious.

To enter to win a copy of And Then There Were Crumbs, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “crumbs,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 24, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. 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 featuring one of Kate Carlisle’s books went up this week.

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 on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Eve Calder writes the Cookie House mysteries, including And Then There Were Crumbs just out from St. Martin’s Press. (Read more about the series at CookieHouseMysteries.com.) She’s currently finishing the sequel, Sugar and Vice. And she’s really enjoying the research.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. 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.

31 Comments

  1. Sounds interesting. Count me in!

    Reply
  2. And Then There were Crumbs sounds unique and delightful.

    Reply
  3. Sounds like a good start to a new series. Thanks for the chance to win.

    Reply
  4. This sounds wonderful! I heard somewhere to never tell people that what you made didn’t turn out right and maybe they wouldn’t notice. Or as my mom used to say, “Put a good frosting on it.” ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

    Reply
  5. sounds like a great new series!

    Reply
  6. Sounds like a great start to a new series. Looking forward to reading.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

    Reply
  7. Would love to read this book.

    Reply
  8. This book sounds great and I love the cover!! Thanks for the chance!

    Reply
  9. County me in, plesse.

    Reply
    • Sorry my comment should be count me in.

      Reply
  10. I love cozy cooking mysteries. Thanks for the chance to win this one.

    Reply
  11. Looks like an awesome read.

    Reply
  12. this sounds like a winnder – looking forward to reading jcook22@yahoo.com

    Reply
  13. Sure sounds like a great book – thanks for the chance to win – trwilliams69(at)msn(dot)com

    Reply
  14. This sounds good

    Reply
  15. I just read this and it’s great. I hope it will be a long-running series. I just wish there were recipes of all the mouthwatering breads and cookies described.

    Reply
  16. Great interview.

    Reply
  17. This sounds like a wonderful story. I love how you came up with some of it from your own past with your grandmother. I would love to read this. Thank you for the chance

    Reply
  18. Love reading these mysteries they always make me feel warm and cozy inside. Thanks for this terrific chance.

    Reply
  19. Putting this on my TBR list! cheers (at) marjimmanor (dot) com

    Reply
  20. Sounds like a great new series to look forward too

    Reply
  21. Sounds like a great new series to look forward too

    Reply
  22. This sounds like a delightful read. I really enjoyed the review and it made me think of my “popovers” which my daughter has always called “popunders” because they would not rise the way they should – and she insisted that I NOT perfect them because she preferred the popunders! 🙂 Nelsonjj304@aol.com

    Reply
  23. Great to get in on the beginning of
    a series. Sounds like a good read.
    thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Reply
  24. Looks like it will be a good read. Thank you for this chance at the giveaway. pgenest57(at)aol(dot)com

    Reply
  25. I love this! The cover is great and the books sounds really good. Thanks for the chance!

    Reply
  26. This sounds good! I would love to win this contest! lindaherold999(at)gmail(dot)com

    Reply
  27. We have a winner!

    Reply
  28. Y’all find books which seem to be so much fun. Thanks for the review and information.

    Reply
  29. Are Kate’s recipes available somewhere?

    Reply
  30. Love your stories! Am anxiously awaiting the one! Would kove to have Katr’s recipes.
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

SUBSCRIBE NOW!

podcast

powered by TinyLetter

The gold medal for all-around wonderful kitty could easily go to darling Chicken Little! This cutiepie never misses an opportunity to hoot it up with her friends, explore any nook or cranny, and make it her mission to check out whatever happens to be going on. Chicken Little came along way after suffering a toe injury calling for immediate amputation. She's all better now and you can't even notice she's missing a rear toe. What an adorable combination she is of fun-loving spirit and sweet, deep affection, a girl who will easily capture hearts in a forever family that cherishes her. Precious Chicken Little would love to be your most darling doll! Check her out on the Cat House website to learn more.