Flour in the Attic: By Winnie Archer: Review/Giveaway/Thanksgiving Food Post

Nov 23, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Food Fun, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow
& Melissa Bourbon/Winnie Archer

This week we have a review of Flour in the Attic by Winnie Archer and a fun Thanksgiving food guest post with a recipe from Winnie Archer/Melissa Bourbon. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Flour in the Attic. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.

Flour in the Attic A Bread Shop Mystery by Winnie Archer
Review by Cynthia Chow

Baker Ivy Culpepper and her best friend Emmaline Davis are used to long hours that frequently intrude on their personal lives. But it is a double tragedy when the latter’s duties as Santa Sofia’s Sheriff not only interrupts her marriage proposal to boyfriend Billy Davis, it calls her to the body recovery scene of Marisol Ruiz. Marisol was a lifelong resident of the Northern California town and their favorite waitress at Baptista’s Cantina and Grill, which means that Ivy is unable to resist David Ruiz’s admittedly drunken order that she investigate his wife’s death. Ivy and Miguel Baptista have proved themselves to be adept at solving a murder or two, and David is adamant that that the triathlete could never have drowned. It’s an assertion that is soon backed up by forensic evidence, which has them questioning who could have wanted such a well-liked woman dead.mystery

Through rather blunt questioning, Ivy learns that Marisol’s children are not in agreement over their stepfather David, especially in light of the unusual provisions in her will. There’s further dispute over Marisol’s final funeral arrangements, which should bring closure but instead only stir up memories not just for Marisol’s family but for Ivy herself. Luckily, Ivy is able to find comfort at Yeast of Eden, where Olaya Solis mentors her in the in the labor-intensive but always rewarding skill of breadmaking. Olaya and her enemy-turned-mostly friend Penelope Brandford are the gossip mavens who know all within Santa Sofia, and with their immense knowledge and connections Ivy will find her way to the truth, even if that means following the geriatric duo to an illegal gambling room at a bar conveniently named The Library.

This fourth in the series welcomes readers back into the diverse coastal town of Santa Sofia. Having returned to her hometown following a divorce and the death of her mother, Ivy is now steadily building up her dream business as a photographer and artist. The last thing Ivy needs is a visit from her past, but that’s exactly what she gets in the form of her cheating ex-husband, now regretful and determined to win her back. Miguel has a lot of opinion in the matter, but a bomb that Luke Holden drops will most definitely affect their immediate future. Despite the tantalizing descriptions of an infinite-seeming number of breads and pastries, the elaborate steps required to produce them will have readers thankful that recipes are not included. That doesn’t mean that foodies won’t be drooling throughout the novel, especially with meals served out of Baptista’s high-end Mexican seafood Cantina. The complicated relationships between Marisol’s adult children, their father, and their step-father ensure that the plot is compelling while the mystery increasingly complex. Few will see the horrific twist that motivates an all-too-possible crime, but they can rest assured that Ivy and her friends will see justice through and continue deliver comfort through their extraordinary bread and ethnic cuisine.

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).

A Thanksgiving Dressing Tradition
By Melissa Bourbon/Winnie Archer

When I think of Thanksgiving, the first thing that comes to mind is cornbread dressing. I once investigated why my southern grandmother called it dressing and not stuffing. Dressing, it turns out, “dresses” another dish, whereas stuffing is actually something that is stuffed into another food. We always make a massive rectangular baking dish full of cornbread dressing, so it is a side dish; only onions, orange slices, and other veg miscellany go into the turkey.

Hence we make cornbread dressing, not stuffing.

Cornbread dressing is a southern thing, and in my family, the tradition of our dressing comes from my maternal grandmother, Laverne Valentine Massie. Actually, it likely goes back farther than that. You see, Bertha Massie, LaVerne’s mother, died when LaVerne was just eleven years old. My grandmother, then married my grandfather Gene when she was just seventeen years old. So in reality, LaVerne probably learned to make the cornbread dressing not from her mother, but from Coleta Montgomery Sears, my grandfather’s mother—who we all called Mamaw. They lived in Santo, a small spit of a town in rural Texas. This cornbread dressing recipe has been passed down through several generations and over multiple states. It is simply part of our Thanksgiving—and our history.

cornbread dressing

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Stuffing with Corn Bread Celery Cranberry in Green Bowl on Wood Table

My love of my family’s cornbread dressing made it such that I simply could not abide by my mother-in-law’s white bread and green chili stuffing when my husband and I were first married. That first Thanksgiving away from my own family, I missed our cornbread dressing terribly (and my family, of course). The next year, I insisted—mostly for my own sake—on making and bringing a pan full. I admit, I was incredibly happy and very pleasantly surprised to be asked to make it again for subsequent Thanksgiving feasts. My in-laws were converts.

Over the years, the recipe has evolved. My Aunt Penny started adding sausage. My mother added mushrooms. And I added dried cranberries. No matter what, though, our dressing includes water chestnuts. They are a nonnegotiable. They add a special…something. I love them in this Thanksgiving staple.

My kids adore our cornbread dressing, too. In fact, when they’ve been part of “Frendsgiving” feasts, they’ve asked for the recipe so they can make it on their own. Let me tell you, as a mom, the fact that my kids love certain traditions we have (like our southern cornbread dressing passed down over generations, and our Christmas tamalada, a tamale making party that no one has ever missed) makes my heart sing.

If you haven’t tried southern cornbread dressing, dig in. You won’t be disappointed!

LaVerne Massie’s Cornbread Dressing

2 pans of prepared cornbread, approximately 8×8
1/2 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely diced
6-8 ribs of celery, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tube breakfast sausage, crumbled and cooked (I use Jimmy Dean Sage)
2 cans sliced water chestnuts
1 cup of dried cranberries
4-6 cups chicken, bone, or vegetarian broth
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2–1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp poultry seasoning


1. Crumble prepared cornbread in a baking pan and allow to bake at a low temperature to dry it out. The cornbread should be a little crusty and toasted. Allow to cool.
2. Sauté garlic, onions, celery, and mushrooms until soft and fragrant.
3. In a large bowl, combine the crusty cornbread with the sautéed vegetables. Stir in cooked sausage, water chestnuts, and herbs.
4. Mix in broth. I like to make the dressing very saturated. Adjust broth amount to your preference.
5. Stir in cranberries.
6. Taste! It’s so good already.
7. Spread in a 9×13 baking dish.
8. Heat through at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes. You can cover the pan with foil to retain the moisture, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking, or bake uncovered for a crispier top layer.

** To toast your cornbread: bake at 250 degrees for about 45 minutes. Check and stir several times.
** You can make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the sausage or using vegetarian sausage, and using vegetarian broth.
** You can make this recipe gluten free by using a gluten free cornbread.
I use Krusteaz gluten free mix

To enter to win a copy of Flour in the Attic, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “flour” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 7, 2019. U.S. residents only, and you must be 13 or older to enter. If entering via comment please include your email address which we will only use to let you know if you win. 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 went up this week.

Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

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

Opens to author website

Melissa Bourbon Ramirez is the national bestselling author of seventeen mystery books, including the Lola Cruz Mysteries, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series, and the Bread Shop Mysteries written as Winnie Archer. She is a former middle school English teacher who gave up the classroom in order to live in her imagination full time. Melissa, a California native who has lived in Texas and Colorado, now calls the southeast home. She hikes, practices yoga, cooks, and is slowly but surely discovering all the great restaurants in the Carolinas. Since four of her five amazing kids are living their lives, scattered throughout the country, her dogs, Bean, the pug, Dobby, the chug, and Jasper, a cattle dog/lab keep her company while she writes. Melissa lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos, and their youngest son. She is beyond fortunate to be living the life of her dreams.

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. This is a new to me series but already sounds like one I want to read as soon as possible. I’d prefer a print copy if I am the lucky winner.

    • Hi Dianne,
      I hope you do get a chance to read the series! Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. That recipe looks delicious and we always stuffed the turkey but I may try yours…
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

    • It’s so yummy! We’re already craving it. If you do try it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Thanks for the opportunity!

    • Terri, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  4. Sounds like fun! Count me in!

  5. I love cozy mysteries and would love to read Flower in the Attic.

  6. This book looks really good and the cover is so cute! Thanks for the chance to win!

    • Thank you, Faith! I think it’s a great cover, too. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  7. Love the cover and it looks like a great read, Thanks for your great generosity.

    • I love this cover, too, Linda. The publisher does a great job. Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. I love cornbread stuffing, and the books sounds great too – thanks for the chance to own a copy

    • My youngest son just told me that he loves the stuffing more and more each year. Made my heart happy! Happy Thanksgiving, Taylor.

      • I would love to read this cozy Mystery. Thank you for the chance.

    • I love your email handle, Kara. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. I’ve never heard of this series before. I love finding new ones!

    • Hope you enjoy it, Kim! Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Love this author.

  11. Love cornbread dressing! New series for me. Can’t wait to read it

  12. Sounds like a great book. Looking forward to reading.

  13. Delectable recipe. Thanks for this feature and giveaway.

  14. I do, too! I hope you enjoy the book if you get a chance to read it. Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. A bar named the library that is imagine that I really want to read it! This book sounds like so much fun to read. Thank you for the chance the recipe sounds delicious. Donakutska7@gmail.com

  16. Love this cover.

    positive DOT ideas DOT 4you AT gmail DOT com

  17. Making yeast products is a time-consuming
    project but so worth the effort. Can feel
    my mouth watering already as the
    descriptions. thanks for the chance to
    try this series. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  18. This is a new to me series but I got to read a copy from the library.. NOW I want to own one to share with my kids as I continue to add the new additions as they appear.

  19. Love the cover. Would live to read with my cat by my side.

  20. Flour in the Attic sounds intriguing. I’m going to have to read it and check out the whole series which is new for me. And the cornbread dressing sounds scrumptious. May have to try that too. Thanks for the giveaway entry opportunity!

  21. Thanks for the chance!

  22. Thanks for the information on Winnie Archer’s latest book, Flour in the Attic. My fingers are crossed I might be a lucky one. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  23. We have a winner!


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