Miss Polly Had a Dolly

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Miss Polly Had a Dolly (Emma Frost #2) by Willow Rose

Thoughts Before Reading:

This was the first of the Emma Frost mysteries I ever read. While I enjoyed it, it is not for the faint of heart. Rose can write a strong story, but she can go way out there and deep down dark.

The format of these mysteries has to do with two to three story lines, that all connect at the end and provide the solution to the mystery. One has to do with the people involved or victims of the mystery; and the other Emma Frost and her family.

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So this title comes from the nursery rhyme, Miss Polly Had a Dolly.

Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick.
So she called for the doctor to come quick, quick, quick.
The doctor came with his bag and his hat
And he knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat.
He looked at the dolly and he shook his head
And he said “Miss Polly, put her straight to bed!”
He wrote on a paper for some pills, pills, pills
“I’ll be back in the morning with my bill, bill, bill.”

The story begins in 1997 with Miss Polly and her little girl Nina. Six-year-old Nina is a beautiful blonde child, perfect. Her mother loves to dress her up like a doll and implements all kinds of rules to make sure she stays “perfect”.

This day Nina is not happy going to the park in her frou frou dress. She doesn’t like wearing them and wants to dress in pants like the other normal children but her mom won’t let her.

They are at the park and Nina is having a horrible time when she sees an ice cream truck. She goes up to it and is convinced to get inside. And when she is inside, there is no ice-cream.

In modern times of 2013, Emma Frost is at the signing of her newest book Itsy Bitsy Spider, all about the cannibal serial killer who turned out to be related to Emma. (I don’t want to spoil everything so check out my review, or read it yourself).

Life for Emma is going well as all is normal (although a few people are angry about the story coming out). Her father though has a surprise for her, a new girlfriend, Helle.

Meanwhile, the island of Fanø has been picked as the next place for the TV program, Shooting Star, the Danish version of American Idol or the X Factor. The host is Patrick an eccentric, out there type of guy. While he is a prima donna-interesting and stylish; he is also a serial killer, sewing doll bows into his kills. And he has just found his newest victim.

Emma is having a hard time coming to term with her father’s new girlfriend, Helle, who owns a doll shop. Even though her mother left a long time ago and she knows that they won’t get back together, it feels weird to her having him date. What makes it even more awkward, is when Emma asks Helle about her family, it turns out that her daughter went missing years ago. She was a beautiful blonde six-year old, playing at the park and said to have wandered off into the ocean.

Hmm…

Back in 1997, Miss Polly was distracted by a another parent talking to her. She finally is able to cut the conversation short, but her daughter is gone! She searches everywhere, but all she can find is her daughter’s dolly, Miss Jasmine.

In 2o13, Emma and Sophie are excited for Shooting Star. Two of Sophie’s kids are going to try out for the show, while Emma’s daughter Maya has been given permission to hang out around the set.

Meanwhile, Josephine Glydenstjerne, blonde, beautiful, and six years old; daughter of the Count and Countess of Denmark has finally managed to sneak away from her governess to go past the park to the beach. There she meets a lady with a dog. Besides the dog, the lady has a doll named Miss Jasmine. She invites Josephine to come to her place to see her other dolls that she makes, and Josephine decides to go.

Uh-oh

Back in 1997, Nina is thrown into a brothel. She has been caught up in a prostitution ring that takes blonde, beautiful children from Denmark and sends them to Eastern Europe to where they are in high demand. She lives her life there, depressed and confused thinking she was given up by her mother.  But when a friend is murdered in a sex act; Nina kills the man and decides to get out; making anyone who stands in her way pay for it. She grows to enjoy killing as it gives her power and control.

In 2013, Emma discovers that numerous blonde, six-year old children have disappeared from the ’90s- late 2000s. Most people thought they just wandered off to the ocean and drowned., but Emma can’t help wondering if there might be something else to it?

Meanwhile in her hacking, she discovers that the police are searching for the “Bowtie Serial Killer”. They believe the killer to be connected with the show, Shooting Stars, as the killings occur in areas where the show is taking auditions. Whether crew or a crazy fan, they are searching into who it could be.

I wonder…

Josephine has found herself in a Buffalo Bill-esque situation. Although instead of wanting her skin to make a suit, the lady who kidnapped her wants to use her to make a doll and add it to her collection.

Emma sets out to try and figure out who the killer is and whether it might be connected to the missing children. However, she unwittingly allows her daughter to attend the Shooting Star tryouts on her own. Maya just barely manages to miss being a bow tie victim the fist time, but then is invited backstage the next night for a close encounter with Patrick.

Nooo!

Patrick goes to Helle’s doll shop and attacks her, but is interrupted just in time. When they take Helle to the hospital, Emma knows she is connected to the mystery, but which one? Could she be the missing link that ties the disappearing girls and the bow tie killer? But then Helle lost her own child?

I wonder…

How does it connect? How will it end? Read to find out.

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Thoughts After Reading:

This book is probably the best written of her books in this series. There were a lot of twists and turns, and every time you think you had it figured out there was a new surprise.

Some parts were a little more graphic then I would like but that seems to be how Scandinavians like to write.

And not only was it a talented psychological thriller, but it also had a political agenda. I had never heard of the slave trade in Europe other than those who try to emigrate to America. But in here, Rose brings your attention to the sex slave trade throughout Europe, a very sad thing that more people need to pay attention to and try to change.

For more Emma Frost mysteries, go to The Itsy Bitsy Spider

For more mysteries with a serial killer, go to The Final Seven

For more characters fighting to save people from sex slavery, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For more mysteries, go to Whistling in the Dark

REESE’S PIECES Peanut Butter Cookies

Thoughts Before Baking:

So I wanted to make a certain cookie, but it turns out that the baker’s chocolate I had was over a year past the due date.

I had a bunch of candy that was given to me and wanted to make cookies with them. After some searching I finally found REESE’S PIECES Peanut Butter Cookies from the website Hershey’s Kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup (1 Stick) of Butter
  • 1/2 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Peanut Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Cup of REESE’S PIECES Candies

Directions:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, egg, vanilla extract in a large bowl until fluffy.
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt; adding to the butter mixture and beating until blended.
  4. Stir in candies.
  5. Drop by a tablespoonful unto a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until brown.
  7. Cool slightly, then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Thoughts After Baking:

It was pretty sticky trying to move from the tablespoon to the sheet, so just fair warning.

Now I’m not really a REESE’S PIECES person, but I really liked how they tasted. It was a good mix, and not too overpowering in peanut butter.

For more peanut butter cookies, go to 1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies

For more cookies, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more desserts, go to Vanilla Crackle

For more peanut butter recipes, go to Rice Krispies Peanut Butter Banana

Whistling in the Dark

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Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen

Sally O’Malley promised on her father’s deathbed to tell her sister Margaret “Troo” O’Malley that he forgives her and to keep her safe. But that will be harder than she thinks.

During the summer of 1959, the girl’s mother is hospitalized with a staph infection, their stepdad abandons them, their big sister Nell is too preoccupied with her boyfriend, and their is a murderer and molester on the loose.

Sally may have a big imagination, but she is sure she knows who the killer is.

She is just as sure that she is on the list.

And know it is up to her to keep her sister and her safe.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t care for this book at all.

I didn’t like the style it was written in and I didn’t like how it markets itself as more of a suspense when in reality it is actually tale of two girls growing up in 1959 Milwaukee.

Ugh, really?

I thought it was boring and a waste of my time.

For more historical fiction, go to Murder and the First Lady

For more mysteries not in a series, go to Murder at Oklahoma

For more mystery reviews, go to Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust

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Dust to Dust (Kovac and Liska Mysteries #2) by Tami Hoag

Thoughts Before Reading:

While I enjoyed the character of Kate in Ashes to Ashes, I thought the dynamic of Officer Kovac and Liska was just dynamite. I think Hoag realized this too, and that’s why she switched to making the rest of the series about them.

And while I did enjoy this book, let me warn you it is not for the faint of heart. It can be graphic at times in descriptions and language. Of course I won’t be in my review, but if you decided to read it afterwards, you were warned.

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Internal Affairs Minneapolis Officer Andy Fallon was found dead in his home from hanging himself. One word was left on the mirror, Sorry.

Where is the treasure?!

Was it auto-erotic asphyxia  gone wrong?

Or a suicide, sorry, being the note?

As his father is considered a hero, shot and injured in the line of duty; and most knew that Andy was gay; the department heads decide it is better to qualm any gossip by ending the investigation quickly and moving toward a funeral.

However, this doesn’t sit right with Officer Kovac. Even though it isn’t in his jurisdiction, he decides to start looking into the death for Andy’s father, Mike Fallon. Mike was Kovac’s mentor and he feels he owes it to him to discover the truth.

Liska agrees to their “uninvestigating” and as they begin digging, cracks start to form. They uncover multiple suspects, coming from both the police department and internal affairs.

But the department is not pleased with this investigation as they want this whole case to “go away”. With Captain Ace Wyatt leaving Minneapolis for Hollywood, and Mike having been through so much already; everything would be better if it was just left alone.

But that’s not Kovac and Liska’s style, and as they decide to root out the truth, they discover that Andy was looking into the case of when his father was shot.

WHAT!

Could this two month old death have anything to do with what happened over twenty years ago?

I wonder…

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Thoughts After Reading:

Once again Hoag hits it out of the park. She created an interesting and suspenseful story that keeps you on the edge of your seat to discover whodunit.

So we as a reader know from the beginning that Andy was murdered. While some books it can be annoying or feel too drawn out waiting for the other characters to reach this realization, the way Hoag wrote it just intensified the rest of the book as we all eagerly read to discover which of our potential suspects was the killer.

While I figured out most of the resolution, Hoag still had a few twists I didn’t see coming.

For more Kovac and Liska Mysteries, go to Ashes to Ashes

For more retrograde mysteries, go to A Duty to the Dead

For more suicides as a cover for murder, go to Catering to Nobody

For more mystery reviews, go to Murder and the First Lady

 

Crazy Cantina Chili

So today is:

As I am part Mexican, this is a holiday I celebrate every year. I haven’t posted anything for this day yet as haven’t made anything that would be perfect for any Cinco de Mayo celebration. But today I have something:

Chili

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So a friend of mine entered me in a chili competition and I was at a loss of what to do. I’ve never really cooked chili, but then I decided to do a recipe from The Star Wars Cookbook:Wookie Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes by Robin Davis.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16-0z Can of Kidney Beans
  • 1 16-oz Can of Black Beans
  • 1 16-oz Can of Garbanzo Beans
  • 1/2  a Large Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chili Powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 28-oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes with Juice (I used the Diced Tomatoes with Chiles as I like my food HOT!)
  • 1 Cup of Tomato Juice
  • 1 lb of Ground Beef or Turkey (Optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt

Directions for Vegetarian Chili:

  1. Open the cans of beans. Drain off the liquid from the cans in the sink. Rinse and set aside.
  2. Chop the onion and set aside.
  3. Put the oil in a large saucepan and set the pan on medium heat.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and stir with a wooden spoon until tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the chili powder and cayenne pepper and stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato juice; and stir well.
  7. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve Chili with cheese and/or sour cream

Directions for Meat Chili:

  1. Cook meat in a pan on the stove.
  2. Follow the directions above, adding the meat during step 7.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I thought the original recipe was good, but wasn’t as hot as I liked it so I added the chiles. I also included meat as I thought it would be more appealing.

I didn’t win the contest, but I had fun trying.

For more recipes to help with your Cinco de Mayo, go to Best Guacamole Ever! (Plus Make Your Own Tortilla Chips!)

For more from The Star Wars Cookbook, go to Twin Sun Toast

For more holiday posts, go to Yoda Soda

For more soups, go to White Bean and Barley Soup with Tomatoes and Greens

For more vegetarian recipes, go to Two-Cheese Roasted-Veggie Pasta

Yoda Soda

So you know what today is!

That means that it is time to post a recipe from my The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookie Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes by Robin Davis.

Thoughts Before Cooking:

My nephew had been looking through my cookbook and wanted to try out this Yoda Soda as he thought it sounded really good. Sadly we did not have the ingredients needed, so I promised the next time he spent the night we would make them.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Limes
  • 3 Tablespoons of Sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 Cup of Sparkling Water
  • 1 Scoop of Lime Sherbet or Sorbet (you can substitute rainbow sherbet or lemon sorbet.)

Directions:

  1. Place one lime on the cutting board and slice in half.
  2. Squeeze the juice from each half into a measuring cup.
  3. Repeat with the limes until you have 1/4 cup of juice.
  4. Put the lime juice and three tablespoons of sugar in a small pitcher.
  5. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Add the sparkling water and stir until mixed.
  6. Taste and add more sugar if desired.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the sherbet and drop it into a tall glass.
  8. Pour in the lime water.
  9. Serve immediately.

Thoughts After Cooking:

This turned out good but only makes one drink.

WHAT!

Yes all that work for ONE DRINK!!!

It is also impossible to find lime sherbet or sorbet ANYWHERE. I had to substitute with rainbow. It wasn’t bad, but I would have liked to try the recipe as it was originally created.

But it was pretty good. I suggest trying it out and seeing if you think it is worth the effort and time to make.

For more on May the 4th, go to Wookie Cookies

For more The Star Wars Cookbook recipes, go to Twin Sun Toast

For more drink recipes, go to Strawberry Milkshake

 

Murder and the First Lady

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Murder and the First Lady (Eleanor Roosevelt Investigates #1) by Elliot Roosevelt

When one of Mrs. Roosevelt’s employees is suspected of murdering her boyfriend, Mrs. Roosevelt decides to investigate in order to clear her aide’s name.

The murdered boyfriend is the son of a congressman and he does not care for the First Lady’s involvement, especially as she starts to unearth some unsavory things about his son.

Mrs. Roosevelt will not give up, going from gambling dens to brothels in order to find the truth.

Thoughts After Reading:

I hated it.

It was so dumb. How could the President’s wife go undercover as a prostitute and no one notice?

Yeah, thought this was dumb and boring. Definitely a skip.

For more mysteries based on real people, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more historical fiction, go to A Duty to the Dead

For more on going undercover as a prostitute, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For more mystery reviews, go to The Sign of the Four

Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

Thoughts Before Cooking:

This recipe comes from the cookbook, Christmas Cookies. I was given this years ago for Christmas but never made anything from it.

My new resolution for Spring Cleaning, is use my cookbooks or get rid of them. So I decided to make a cookie from this, even though Christmas is eight months away.

Background on the Cookie:

“These delicious tea cakes were made by an Aunt Cornelia (“Neal) on special occasions and holidays, using hand-churned butter and eggs she gathered from the hen-house. This southern Georgia version dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. “

**Dough has to be chilled**

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup of Granulated (White) Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • White Sparkling Sugar

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add one cup of sugar, beating well.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla; beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl: combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the milk to butter mixture, alternating between the two. Begin with adding half the flour mixture, then add the milk, and finish with adding the flour mixture.
  6. Mix at a low speed after each addition, until just blended.
  7. Shape dough into two discs.
  8. Wrap the discs in wax paper and chill for at least one hour.
  9. After having chilled, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  10. Roll each disc to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured surface.
  11. Cut with a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter; and place one inch apart on lightly greased baking sheets.
  12. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  13. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  14. Cool for one minute and then remove to wore racks to cool.
  15. Makes about two dozen.

Thoughts After Baking:

When I took it out of the fridge it was super hard and I was unsure if it would come out okay.

But after being in my hands it quickly became super sticky, so make sure you flour the rolling pin and the cutting board.

But after all that this cookies were super good. Not too sweet and perfect for tea time.

For more tea cakes, go to Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

For more tea treats, go to Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

For more cookie recipes, go to Rice Krispies Cookies

For more desserts, go to Vanilla Crackle

The Sign of the Four

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The Sign of the Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

**Contains Spoilers**

So the second book of Sherlock Holmes has us go on as equally an interesting adventure.

We begin the case with a Miss Morstan coming to Sherlock to get assistance with a problem. And immediately Watson finds himself attracted to her.

“In an experience of women which extends over many nations and three separate continents, I have never looked upon a face which gave a clearer promise of a refined and sensitive nature. “

Miss Mostan comes on the recommendation of her employer, a Mrs. Cecil Forrester, who Sherlock Holmes helped before. Her father was an officer in an Indian regiment, and sent her to a boarding school in Edinburgh after her mother died. She stayed there until she was seventeen, when her father took 12 months leave and planned to come home. He telegraphed her in London than he was safe and to meet him at the Langham Hotel. When she arrived she couldn’t find him, and the manager told her he was there but left.

Since then no one has seen him since and the police have been unable to discover anything.

Luggage was left at the hotel with nothing missing. Her father had only one friend lived in London, Major Sholto, but he didn’t even know that Captain Morstan had returned to the country. That was December 3rd, 1878, ten years ago.

But then six years ago, on May 4th, 1882; as advertisement appeared in the newspaper asking after a Miss Mary Morton, saying it would be to her advantage to answer.

When she did s small cardboard box came to her containing a large pearl, but no note.

Since then every year on the same day, May 4th, a similar pearl arrives. She took them to an expert and they were pronounced rare and valuable.

But this morning she received something different; a note that troubles her.

London, S.W.

July 7

Be at the third pillar from the left outside the Lyceum Theatre to-night at seven o’clock. If you are distrustful bring two friends. You are a wronged woman and shall have justice. Do not bring police. If you do, all will be in vain. Your unknown friend.

I wonder…

Sherlock agrees to take the case, planning for Dr. Watson and him to accompany Miss Morstan on her meeting.

Holmes looks at the note, studying it and leaves to find the answer to what pricked his mind.

While he is gone Watson can’t get Miss Morston out of his mind, but tries to move past it, Who could want an ex-army surgeon, with a weak leg, and weaker bank account?

Holmes returns much later than planned with some news. Major Sholto died on April 28, 1882. Within a week of his death a pearl arrives for Miss Morston and follows every year? A letter talks about a wrong that has happened to her. What other than her father’s disappearance could be the wrong? And why presents, unless Sholto’s heir knows something about the whole thing.

Miss Morston comes in the carriage, and they start away. She can’t believe Major Sholto would do anything, as he was her father’s best friend. However, she has a new clue to throw in the mix. A piece of paper found with his belongings that no one could quite figure out what it was. She gives it to Sherlock.

Sherlock examines it and  sees that it is from India, part of a blueprint for a large building, with a + and “3.37 from left” written in red ink. In the left hand corner, a symbol that looks like four crosses in a line with the following

++++ The sign of the four- Jonathan Small, Mahomet Singh, Abdullah Khan, Dost Akbar.

I wonder…

Sherlock can’t see how it relates now, but asks Mary to hold onto it.

They head to Lyceum Theater where the crowds are thick. Before they even reached the destination point, they are approached  by a coachman. They are invited into a coach and travel to an unknown location, a house that appears to be the only one on the block that is occupied. They are met by an Indian servant, who lets them know that the sahib is waiting.

The sahib is Mr. Thaddeus Sholto, Major Sholto’s son. The house on the outside may look worn and neglected, but in this room are riches. After they introduce themselves Thaddeus asks Watson to examine his heart, as he worries about it.

He reveals that Miss Morston father is dead, that he died of a heart attack. (But then why wasn’t the body found?)

He wants them to help settle this matter, to be a united front against his brother Bartholomew. He then tells his story. Major John Sholto was a part of the Indian army but retired 11 years ago and moved to Pondicherry Lodge in Norwood. Thaddeus and Bartholomew lived in luxury with many Indian servants. However all was not happy. Their father was afraid to go out alone and hired ex-prize fighters as body guards. He avoided men with wooden legs, and shot at one once; who was later revealed to be a harmless tradesman. In 1882 he received a shocking letter, that nearly caused him to faint. He suffered previous medical conditions and by April was reaching the end.

Major Sholto then shared his guilt at never helping Miss Morston and asks his boys to give Mary her share of the Agra treasure, but not until he died. Morston and Sholto had come into a large treasure and brought it over from India to England.  When Morston came from India he meet with Sholto and wanted his share of the treasure. Sholto and him argued about what was fair, with Morston becoming angry and his weak heart gave out, making him fall, crack his head, and die. Major Sholto then told his son to make sure that Mary received the father’s share and that the treasure was hidden…

After asking them to promise that, Major Sholto started to yell and scream “keep him out”. The two brothers turn to look and see a bearded man with a wooden leg. They try to get him, but he escapes. The next morning the whole house was searched and one message left behind.

The sign of the four

Their father died and then the two brothers dug everywhere searching for the treasure. Bartholomew didn’t want to part with the pearls, but Thaddeus sent them as they was his father’s last wish. The two argued and Thaddeus left to set up his own home. Yesterday, Thaddeus received word that the treasure was  found, and valued at half a million.

The group sets out to talk with Bartholomew, Watson a little saddened ay he state of affairs as to how could a millionairess ever want him?

When the reach Pondicherry, they find a strange state of affairs. The servants will let Thaddeus in but no others. To make things even stranger, Bartholomew hasn’t been out of his room all day.  And even though he is in there and expecting them, there is no light in the window. Strange.

Thaddeus goes in while the rest wait outside. Mary is frightened and grabs Watson’s hand.

Inner squeal!

They don’t wait long before Thaddeus comes running back out. He knows something is wrong but not what, they all rush indoors and up the stairs to his room.

He and Watson break down the door and see Bartholomew with a hideous smile fixed upon his face. Bartholomew is dead.

Above him there was an opening large enough for a person to pass through. A piece of rope on the ground and a brown, close-grained stick, with a stone head like a hammer. Beside it a note

The sign of the four

By his ear was a long dark thorn stuck into the skin. A poisoned one according to Sherlock. Watson grows grim at them ever figuring things out.

“On the contrary,’ [Sherlock Holmes] answered, ‘it clears every instant. I only require a few missing links to have an entirely connected case.”

Meanwhile, Thaddeus has discovered that the treasure is gone. Yesterday they lowered it into the room through the ceiling and locked it up at ten last night. What happened since then? Holmes sends Thaddeus  to tell the police of the death and assures him he will figure this out.

Holmes deduces it was the one-legged man aided by another, a sailor; and they dropped one of them in through the hole in the ceiling.

The police arrive and suspect Thaddeus of killing his brother, just what Thaddeus feared. Sherlock urges the police to follow his lead. The first man was a Jonathan Small (one of the original four). He’s small, poorly educated,  with a wooden leg. The other, too little info yet to determine who he is.

Watson takes Mary home and then heads to a home near the water’s edge to pick up Toby, a dog with the best nose for hunting down criminals.

When he returns he discovers that not only has Thaddeus been arrested, but the gatekeeper, housekeeper, and Indian servant.

The two examine the house closer, seeing the path that the one-legged man took. They also find his thorns dropped in his hurry to leave. They then set Toby upon it and head out after him.

Watson is still mystified as to what happened but Sherlock sets him right. Two officers were in command of convicts and learned an important secret about where the treasure was buried. Jonathan Small drew a map, putting his name and his associates in the corner. The officers took the treasure, one bringing it over from India. Jonathan Small couldn’t get it himself as he was a convict and in jail. What had upset Major Sholto, was that he had received a frightening letter, a letter about Small’s escape. He then tries to protect himself from the one-legged man. Small tried to get the treasure, but his presence interrupted Shlolto from revealing it to the sons. He searched the whole house but found nothing.

Smalls kept watch and when the brothers finally found the treasure he and his associate broke in and killed Bartholomew, escaping with the treasure. Toby takes Watson and Sherlock down to a wharf, where they discover that the one-legged man and his associate have gone in the water.

The two head home while Holmes employs his street urchins to root out some info. He does figure out more about the assistant. He turns out to be a cannibal from the island Andamand.

Watson heads over to Mary to give her an update and stays for most of the day. When he  returns home nothing has come to pass.  That night Sherlock dresses up as a sailor and heads out to the river to try and find some answers.

It was a long day with no answers as Watson waits for Holmes’ return. Athelney Jones, the inspector joins them and soon an old man arrives, but it turns out to be Holmes himself.

That night they head out to the ship Aurora and capture Smalls. He reveals all that Sherlock Holmes surmised is true, even Tonga, the islander, having killed Bartholomew.

Watson brings the box to Mary and tells her of the good news, The two break it open but find it empty.

Where is the treasure?!

But this gives Watson the courage to tell Mary how he feels. And she responds the same.

Yay!

They return to Smalls but he won’t reveal a thing about where the treasure is, other than he has hid it where none shall find it. They never discover its whereabouts, Smalls goes off to jail, and another case closed for Sherlock.

It ends with Watson sharing how he is engaged to Mary, soon to be married. So ends this story, but many more are right around the corner.

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it. I thoughts it had great action, drama, mystery, everything you could want.

I highly recommend it for any Sherlock fan.

And I’m pretty sure that this story is what The Great Mouse Detective writers took a lot from when creating their story. The peg-leg, dressing up as a sailor, Toby, missing father, etc.And I love that film so it definitely already set the foundation for how much I would enjoy this.

But whether you are  Sherlock or Basil fan, you should definitely take a look over this book. It was fantastic.

For more Sherlock Holmes, go to A Study in Scarlet

For more classic mystery novels, go to The Murder at the Vicarage

For more mysteries with a treasure hunt, go to Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

For more mysteries revolving around a disappearance, go to Emilie & the Hollow World

For more mysteries involving poisonings, go to Catering to Nobody

Twin Sun Toast

StarWars

As Tuesday’s book review was on a fantasy/science-fiction book, I thought that the perfect recipe to pair it would be one from The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookie Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes by Robin Davis.

This is similar to the Joanne Fluke recipe, Hole in One, but doubles it! Is it doubly delicious? Or a double fail?

Ingredients:

  • 1 Wide Slice of Sourdough Bread (at least 7 inches wide)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Butter
  • 2 Small Eggs
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Put the bread slice on a cutting board.
  2. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out two holes side by side, but leaving bread between and around the holes.
  3. Put a skillet on the stove and switch on the medium heat.
  4. Put the butter in the skillet.
  5. As butter melts, spread it evenly around the bottom of the pan.
  6. Place the bread slice in the pan and break an egg into each hole.
  7. Add salt and pepper.
  8. Fry until the clear parts of the egg turn white, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  9. Slip a spatula under the bread and flip it over quickly and carefully enough to not let the eggs slide out of the holes.
  10. Cook for one minute more.
  11. Slide toast on a plate and a plate and enjoy.

Thoughts After Reading:

So this did not work out at all like the image in the cookbook. The bread kept ripping and egg went everywhere.

But I did not see that they needed to be small eggs, I just used the regular large ones.

So I will try to make this again and make sure I use small ones. But otherwise it was a delicious way to start the morning.

For more recipes from theThe Star Wars Cookbook: Wookie Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes, go to Wookie Cookies.

For more breakfast recipes, go to Herbed Eggs with Sour Cream

For more recipes, go to Vanilla Crackle

Binky Brothers, Detectives

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Binky Brothers, Detectives by James Lawrence

Norbert “Dinky” Binky and his older brother, Albert “Pinky” Binky have started their own detective agency.

On the case!

Dinky thinks that as partners they should be equal, but big brother Pinky decides that being older means he gets more benefits and more of the money gained from their detecting.

While in between cases, the two brothers are selling cups of lemonade for 2¢. While selling, Chub Doolin, catcher, comes along. He hires the brothers as his mitt was stolen, and the team will be unable to beat the Wildcats without it.

Chub hands over the ransom note he was given:

Ha Ha! I have your mitt. Now the wildcats will beat you. Guess who? [Skull & crossbones]

Soon Wildcat players, Spike Brown and Joe Parker stop by. They have information they shouldn’t about the missing glove.

When Spike gets his money to pay, a pink note comes falling out. It is the same type as the one that Chub was given. It has a different message.

Tell the team we can win easy now. I hid you-know-what in the house. Those dopes will never look high enough to find it unless one of them is a monkey. Mel. [Skull & Crossbones]

Pinky figures out that Mel must be Melvin Krantz, the wildcat shortstop. Pinky thinks on the note and decides that the house in the note must be the team treehouse.

When he gets to the house it is too easy. And good reason to be, as it was all a trap to get rid of the Cubs best pitcher, Pinky. Pinky doesn’t know what to do.

Dinky comes along as he has found the glove, having figured out that the second note was a trap. He blackmails his brother into letting him be in the game and get equal share in the detective agency.

Thoughts After Readig:

This was not a good mystery.

I mean it didn’t even explain how Dinky figured everything out, he just did.

For more children’s books, go to The Chocolate Chip Mystery

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to C is for Corpse

For more mystery reviews, go to Emilie & the Hollow World

Emilie & the Hollow World

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Emilie & the Hollow World (Emilie Adventures #1) by Martha Wells

Emilie is living in an 19th century-esque world. She has decided to run away as her aunt and uncle are extremely controlling and always insinuating that she is a wanton women, ready to “whore” it up.

Seriously!

She is going to visit her cousin who runs a school, and work there. Only problem, she doesn’t have enough money to sail there.

But Emilie is of plucky stock and decides to stowaway on a boat. Unfortunately, she ends up stumbling upon a thief ring and a group of sabotagers. She saves the ship she was going to stowaway on, one belonging to Lord Engal.

As the ship sails away, it turns out that they are leaving the country and heading to the center of the Earth. The ship is lead by Lord Engal and Lady Marlende as she is searching for her missing father, Dr. Marlende, his ship damaged inside the Earth.

Also on board is Kennar, a Cirathi which is a creature from inside the planet but traveled out to seek aid for Dr. Marlende.

When they go inside the Earth, they encounter all kinds of strange creatures, get involved in an underearth war, and find themselves caught in betrayal and sabotage.

Emilie is going to have to use every ounce of nerve she has to overcome these obstacles and survive.

Hopefully…

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this book was fantastically written. For those who are a fan of steam punk, Jules Verne, and fantasy stories, will love this book.

I thought the characters were all well written and fun. Emilie was a normal girl, who was thrown into incredible situations and able to overcome and work with them.

I loved her interactions with one of the sailor/sorcerer Daniel and hope more develops from them. They were hilarious and fun.

Aw, how cute.

I only had two issues with this book:

1) I hate when books have the character Emily spelled Emilie. For some reason my brain keeps reading it as Emil. It’s not the author’s fault, but just a pet peeve of mine.

2) I wish the author gave more background as to Emilie’s world (the non-hollow part). The author just drops us into it, but we never get a lot about the culture. I mean I assume it is similar to our earth, but I don’t know. I think the book would be stronger if they gave us more on that aspect.

Otherwise, I loved it and recommend it.

Read it today!

For more fantasy books, go to Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean a Demon’s Not After You: Storm Front

For more steam punk books, go to Ticker

For more mysteries involving a missing person, go to B is for Burglar

For more mystery reviews, go to Gingerbread Cookie Murder

Vanilla Crackle

So I had a recipe on Gingerbread Wands which I thought would go perfect with Gingerbread Cookie Murder, but I lost the recipe and can’t make them.

So instead I will post a recipe from Joanne Fluke, but if you are interested in Gingerbread cookies, check this recipe out.

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Thoughts Prior to Cooking:

So the recipe comes from Apple Turnover Murder. This recipe intrigued me as it only had a few ingredients and seemed incredibly easy to make.

She calls it Vanilla Crack, but that has negative connotations so I changed the name.

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Ingredients:

  • Non-stick Cooking Spray or Butter
  • 1 Box of Soda Crackers ( I used saltines)
  • 2 Sticks of Salted Butter (1 Cup, 8 oz, 1/2 lb)
  • 1 Cup of White Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup of Salted Nuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Line a 10 by 15-inch cookie sheet with foil.
  2. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray or rub with butter.
  3. Cover the pan completely with a single layer of crackers, salt side up. Set aside
  4. Preheat oven at 350° Fahrenheit.
  5. Combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a heavy saucepan. Bring it to a full boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  6. Boil for five minutes, stirring constantly. Don’t stop stirring.
  7. Pour the mixture over the crackers as evenly as possible. Spread it about if needed.
  8. Sprinkle the nuts on top.
  9. Slide the pan into the oven for ten minutes.
  10. Remove pan from oven and let it cool. When they have thoroughly cooled, peel off foil, and break into pieces.

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Thoughts After Cooking:

When I ate the first piece I thought they were okay. But then, I had to have another, and another, and another…you see why they are called crack. They are addicting! But there is no drugs in it, it is that toffee taste that is so good it destroys your self-control.

These were really good, and there is a chocolate version that I am eager to try.

For more Hannah Swensen recipes, go to Too Easy Hotdish

For more dessert, go to Cherry-Pistachio Tea Cakes

For more recipes, go to How to Make a London Fog

Gingerbread Cookie Murder

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Gingerbread Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen #13.5) by Joanne Fluke

So I hate these Hannah Swenson holiday specials.

They are boring, predictable, and just avenues to include a ton of Christmas type recipes. But I started something, and now I am going to finish it. The review must go on.

Plot Synopsis:

It is Christmas time once again in Lake Eden. Ernie Kusak, driver, chauffeur, etc; has recently won the lottery, moved into Hannah’s condo, and started playing Christmas music incredibly loud and ALL THE TIME.

I don’t like it.

He told Hannah he would turn it down tonight, so hopefully he does.

Yay!

That night Hannah goes out with Norman, his mother Carrie, her new husband Earl, Hannah’s mother Delores, and her new boyfriend Gary Jenkins. He just moved into town, and bought Ernie’s old house.

When Hannah gets home she discovers that Ernie negated on his promise and that all the music is on and full blast.

Luckily someone has called the police, so Mike is there. Ernie’s ex-wife loans Mike her spare key to get into the house and they find Ernie’s dead body.

Who killed him? And why?

Thoughts After Reading:

So what did I think?

So what are my issues with this book?

1)Helpful Hannah

Mike questions Lorna, as we all know the wife/ex-wife usually has good motive for murder. Hannah tries to help by telling her she didn’t do it and it’s horrible to have her be accused. HELLO Hannah if you interfere with Mike’s questioning he is never going to let you in on anything. And two, you don’t know that she didn’t do it. She could be the killer.

Seriously Hannah!

2)Mike Questions Hannah as the killer

Really Mike? You think that she could be a killer. My goodness that is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Why are the deputies so stupid!

3)How does Hannah run her business?

How does Hannah make any money selling her goods at 50¢?

4)The Cops are Idiots

Now it hurts me to write this as I like police officers. My family has had them throughout and I respect them. But man they are so stupid in this book series.

The cops seem to get dumber in each book. In this one they think one man killed Ernie, but only wiped half of his fingerprints, leaving the crucial ones. Really? Smells like a frame-up

5)Fluke Knows Nothing of Cell Phones.

So Hannah discovers that Gary’s phone number was the same on the winning ticket. You know you don’t pick your number when you get a cell phone, you have one assigned. So it is pretty strange to choose “these” influential numbers that mean something, when he couldn’t do that.

6) It is All Circumstansial Evidence

And the dumbest thing to this book? How Hannah discovers the reason for murder and the guy admits it. So all the numbers on Gary’s phone number all have a certain special meaning to him. These are also the ones he chooses for the lottery ticket, the one Ernie claims is his. He has it framed and hanging on the wall, Gary spots it and kills him. Hannah figures it out and when she questions him, all Ernie has to do is deny it. There is no proof he was in there, just because they use the same numbers doesn’t mean anything. It all is circumstantial. All he has to do is say he doesn’t know anything, let them prosecute the other guy and go on his way. Why would he give himself up? It’s just dumb, dumb, dumb.

For more Hannah Swensen mysteries, go to Apple Turnover Murder

For more Hannah Swenson Christmas mysteries, go to Plum Pudding Murder

For more Christmas mysteries, go to A Most Peculiar Circumstance

For book reviews, go to A Duty to the Dead

How to Make a London Fog

What better way to spend a rainy day than with a cup of tea?

Here is how to make the drink London Fog, borrowed from my sister blog.

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As you can tell, this post isn’t about this:

Stay out of the forest!

But this:

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So during the week I go to a coffee shop in the morning to kill an hour before work and while there buy a cup of Earl Grey tea.

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I drank so many that I had enough to get any drink free! I asked the barista what she recommended and they said a London Fog- Earl Grey tea with Vanilla and heated, foamy milk. I tried it and LOVED it!

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I had to have more of it. So I decided to make it myself.

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Ingredients:

  • Tea Kettle/Teapot
  • Earl Grey Tea (I use loose leaf but you can do bagged)
  • Milk
  • Vanilla Creamer
  • Milk Frothier
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Tall Glass
  • Tea Mug or Teacup

Directions:

  1. Put your kettle or teapot on and heat the water.
  2. Prepare your loose leaf tea (one teaspoon per cup of water). [I typically drink out of a…

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