Cocktails and Murder By H.Y. Hanna: Review/Giveaway/Recipe

Oct 24, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Food Fun, Kathleen Costa

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win either an ebook or print copy of Cocktails and Murder, and a link to purchase it from Amazon. We also have a recipe from Kathleen.

Shaken not Stirred for Murder!
What would you do to escape a job, a heartache, and cold, London weather? For Ellie Bishop she accepted her Aunt Olive Goldberg’s offer of a few weeks at a beachside resort on Florida’s sunny Gulf coast. The Sunset Palm Resort is just the cure for what ails Ellie: tropical weather, delicious regional treats, and friendly people and resort mascots. Aunt Olive is a hoot, a free-spirit that, in true Auntie Mame fashion, encourages her niece to “Live, Live, Live!” Sol, the head waiter at the Hammerheads Bar & Grill, shares lots of local insights and opportunities for taste testing, and the hunky Dr. Thornton might just be the answer to “What happens in Florida, stays in Florida!” There’s also Hemingway, a troublesome squawking scarlet macaw, and Mojito, a nosy black cat with green eyes. Sure Ellie has found herself mixed up in a couple of murder investigations, but there’s always time to relax and get her bikini tan.

Barefoot Sleuth Mystery
Flip Flops and Murder (August, 2020) KRL Review HERE
Seashells and Murder (September, 2020) KRL Review HERE
Cocktails and Murder (October, 2020)
Bikinis and Murder (January, 2021)

Cocktails and Murder earns 5+/5 Scorpion Punches…Engaging Delight!
Ellie is enjoying her Florida vacation. Of course, in between a couple of pesky murders she was successful at solving, she relaxes by the pool, strolls on the beach, and heads over to the Bar & Grill for a cool cocktail, spicy treat, and some people watching. Today’s people watching included some awkward eavesdropping. Not on purpose, you know, Ellie overhears Walter Saunders, a wealthy guest, deep in conversation with his “not gonna remain silent” business partner, but when the conversation goes from gators to scorpions, she tries to find something else to occupy her interests. [Enter Mrs. Saunders] The much younger, fancier, full of vinegar Mrs. Saunders shows up, and immediately pranks the young waitress, then accusing her of incompetence. When Sol tries to diffuse the situation, Mr. Saunders chimes in with threats to have his job! So, of course, that puts the two of them on the suspect radar when Mr. Saunders ends up dead!

A Bowl Full of Excitement!
Another excellent story in H.Y. Hanna’s Barefoot Sleuth Mystery series with suspense, misunderstandings, close calls with reptiles, surprises, and in this third book a whopper of a cocktail…the Scorpion Punch! The murder solution seemed obvious with relatives having so much to gain or fear, but hold on, H.Y. Hanna is well known to hide the solution and then systematically reveal, to reader’s enjoyment, more suspects and motives sending my inner Sherlock all over the place. I just thought arrest the lot of them from the wife, the nephew, the partner, the punked waitress, and Sol. The final reveal and bit of peril was an exciting surprise. The “romance” dance between Ellie and the hunky doc has a couple of missteps, and Aunt Olive’s suggestion to be bold isn’t Ellie’s style, but no pain…no gain! Animal lovers will enjoy Hemingway, the resort’s macaw, and the cat Mojito who both thankfully don’t know the word, “No!” Hanna’s writing style and organization of the drama is well plotted and steady, descriptive language is engaging, and filled with endearing, and some, frustrating characters and fascinating insights into scorpions and gators. Aunt Olive remains a favorite character I’d love to emulate, but so is Ellie whose realistic actions and reactions, strength, self-sufficient manner, and cleverness is entertaining. She struggles, of course, with confidence and often especially in the romance department, too, but didn’t we all at her age. Loved it…want more!

Hurrah! Set to release in January 2021 Book 4, Bikinis and Murder, is on PREORDER. “When death strikes a bikini contest at her luxury beach resort, Ellie must use all her wits and to find the killer.”

Audible Delight! The first two books in the series are now in audiobook. Order Book 1, Flip Flops and Murder, HERE, and Book 2, Seashells and Murder, can be ordered HERE. Don’t miss out the absolutely marvelous voice talent of my favorite narrator Pearl Hewitt! What a marvelous way to enjoy H.Y. Hanna’s work!

Be a Big H.Y. Hanna Fan!
USA Today bestselling author H.Y. Hanna is a friend and the author of my all-time favorite series; the now ten-book Oxford Tearoom Mystery always added a little treat for me to bring a proper English tearoom into my home. Another top favorite is the six-book Bewitched by Chocolate series, which sprinkles a bit of magic to the delectable descriptions of all kinds of chocolate. I am thrilled that she has given me another favorite with the entertaining four-book English Cottage Garden Mystery planting wonderful characters and a clever mystery along with a bit of humor. All of her series are in print and eBook, but several are also in audio format giving readers a little extra with the delightful voice artistry of narrator Pearl Hewitt who enriches the already engaging story with varied accents, dialects, emotions, and tone. I always say “Murder is better with an English accent.”

Facebook – H.Y. Hanna Books
Website – H.Y. Hanna
Twitter At @_HYHanna

Tropical Treat: Scorpion Bowl
This punch-like cocktail is absolutely mouthwatering, goes great with Chinese and Polynesian food but it might be more commonly found at Asian restaurants. By JJS0513

Servings: 4

Yield: 1 scorpion bowl

3 cups ice
2 oz. gin, 90 proof
1 oz. dark rum
2 oz. 151 proof rum, overproof rum
2 oz. rum, 80 proof
2 oz. vodka, 80 proof
2 oz. Grenadine Syrup
8 oz. Orange juice, raw
10 oz. Pineapple juice, canned, unsweetened, without added ascorbic acid
3 oz. Lemon juice, raw
4 Pineapple, chunks, canned, juice pack, solids and liquids
8 Maraschino Cherries


1. Place the crushed ice in a large pitcher and pour in the gin, dark rum, 151 proof rum, light rum, vodka, grenadine, orange juice, pineapple juice, and lemon juice.
2. Stir well to mix, then pour into a large, decorative cocktail glass and garnish with pineapple, cherries, and straws.

To enter to win an ebook or print copy of Cocktails and Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cocktails,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 31, 2020. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. MAKE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT PRINT OR EBOOK.

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 this week.

You can use this link to purchase the 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 a 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 her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

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. Nice cocktail! Count me in!

  2. I would love to win the print book of Cocktails and Murder!
    Thank you for the great giveaway!!!

  3. Thank you for the great giveaway! I would love to win a print
    book of Cocktails and and Murder! Thank you for recipe too!

  4. interesting recipe

  5. If your work on the rest of the series is a prelude to the next great little cozey mystery wich I am certain it is, I’m totally in to wanting to be part of this giveaway .For those who haven’t read the fabulous series to date what are you waiting for pick up the first book and you won’t be able to stop there you will definitely want to carry through with the rest. ??Kat

  6. I’ve really enjoyed HY Hana’s English Garden Cottage mysteries and would love to receive a print book of Cocktails and Murder! Thanks for the great review and fun chance to win a book!

  7. Great author, I have to check out this series. Would love to win a print copy.

  8. Recipe sounds good, would love to get a print copy! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  9. Would really love to read the book. I prefer a print copy.

  10. Thanks for the giveaway. I’d like an ebook if I win.

  11. I would love to win a paperback copy!

  12. She is one of the best authors I know.
    I have been with her since the first book.
    Also love the fact she always has an animal in her stories.
    I have muesli ,in a frame along with all my pets, they are quite a few having done rescue work for years.i bring them home to prepare for adoption but somehow they never leave!
    Marjorie Richmond

  13. This is an excellent review… love the recipe! PRINT is da bomb diggity- Thank you for the chance to snag this beauty!

    Kelly Braun

  14. Print copy, please.
    Sounds like a fun read.
    Wish I had an Aunt Olive.

  15. We have a winner!


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