This Time There Had Been Flowers Scattered Over the Woman’s Body. Roses. Sweetheart Roses!

Today is the fourth anniversary of my blog Mysterious Eats.

We’ve reviewed all kinds of books, mysteries, short stories, recipes…

That’s a LOT…

The traditional gift for a fourth anniversary is flowers or fruit. I settled on sweetheart roses from Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Mary Higgins Clark

Happy Anniversary and a very special thanks to all my readers!

For more anniversary posts, go to It Was Brain-Tanned Leather, As Soft As a Horse’s Nose, and the Color of Butter Melting in the Sun

For more on Let Me Call You Sweetheartgo to Let Me Call You Sweetheart

For more on Mary Higgins Clark, go to I’ve Got You Under My Skin

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The Crown Conspiracy

The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are two of the greatest thieves you could ever go against. Their duo goes by the name Riyria, that name being known throughout the land.

RiyriaRevelationsHadrianRoyce

At the beginning of the novel, the two are heading to work on a job when they are stopped by some thieves. All they have to do is say who they and they scare the others off like rabbits.

They head off to try and rob Archie Ballentyne, the Earl of Chadwick, by breaking into his impenetrable tower.

Meanwhile, Archie Ballentyne has been waiting for Marquis Victor Lanaklin. Archie has unsuccessfully been trying to woo his daughter, Alenda, as he is after the Lanaklin lands. He has managed to intercept some of her private love letters to the rebel Degan Gault, and wants to use them as leverage with the father. In order to keep them safe he has locked then in his study in the crown tower, a gigantic tower with only one entrance, the only one who can open it being Archie.

But when he goes to show the letters, they are MISSING! They have been stolen, along with the Marquis’ carriage. Who could have done this? Riyria.

RiyriaRevelationsHadrianRoyce

Riyria return back to their pub and deliver the goods to Alenda, receiving their payments. But just as one job is finished, there appears there is another who wishes their services.

Hadrian goes to meet with the man, Baron Delano DeWitt. He has a job that needs to be done tonight. Sadly, Baron DeWitt has committed the biggest mistake anyone in that region could, he looked upon the wife of the master swordsman, Colonel Pickering. Colonel Pickering will duel anyone who stares at his wife, and with his skill he is impossible to beat.

Colonel Pickering’s only weakness? His special rapier that he cannot fight without. Baron DeWitt has stolen the sword and hid it in the castle’s chapel and he wants Riyria to smuggle the sword out of the castle before they search and  find it. Now Riyria has a rule about accepting rush jobs, they don’t. But Hadrian isn’t really a thief, he has a warrior’s heart. He likes things to be fair or to fight for something “right”, justice, etc.

He has felt a little disheartened at stealing things for royals, then notifying the party they stole from to get payment to steal it back. This is a job that will mean something. Plus the pay is really good.

Royce was raised on the streets and has been a thief as far back as he can remember. He has no qualms about what they do, and because of what he has been through he is also extremely suspicious. He does not want to take this job, but Hadrian convinces him it is worth it as they will get 200 gold tenets.

That night they sneak into the castle and into its chapel. They go to search for the sword but find the king, dead.

As their minds grasp the situation, a dwarf starts screaming out that they killed the king. Guards swarm on them and they end up locked up in the dungeon. Yes, someone murdered the king and framed them. But who? And why?

Alric Essendon wakes from a tumble with a maid to discover he is the new King. He is furious over the death and prepares a horrible punishment as his revenge.

Meanwhile, Hadrian and Royce await their fate in the dungeon; Hadrian wishing he hadn’t tried to take the job and Royce wishing he had talked Hadrian out of it. To their surprise they receive a royal visit from princess Arista Essendon.

Arista questions them, and Hardrian tells her the story, claiming they did not kill her father. And to their surprise, she believes them.

Arista is not like other women. Her father sent her to University and she studied the lost art of magic. She had been given a warning about the threat upon her father’s life but unfortunately didn’t heed it. Now she wants to hire the two to kidnap her brother.

Hadrian and Royce are surprised, but Arista explains that she thinks someone is after the Essendon line and wants to kill her brother as well. She wants them to smuggle him out of the castle and go to Gutaria Prison, the secret ecclesiastical jail. They they will meet the wizard, Esrahaddon, who will be able to guide her brother. They think it is odd, but faced with death, they take the job.

What other choice do we have?

Arista has a complete plan in place. She will send two monks in to administer the last rites and have the two unchained to pray. They will knock the monks out, switch clothes and meet her in the kitchen where she will have Alric.

Everything goes off without a hitch as they head off to the prison to find Esrahaddon, the wizard. As they continue their quest they run into a monk with a photographic memory that survived a massacre; a hidden prison that not only is built into a rock wall but once you enter cannot leave; the great wizard Esrahaddon who has been alive for eons; and secret church and government plot to answer the legend of the god Novron’s son and unite all the kingdoms under one rule!

Meanwhile, Arista tries to rule in her brother’s place but finds treachery very close to home. They try to brand her a witch and kill her.

Will this ragtag group be able save the throne? Or will they be outwitted and destroyed by these agents of Novron?

Thoughts After Reading:

I started reading this book, and I could not put it down. It is that amazing!

Luckily, my book had one and two in it as I quickly consumed it, and then searched for the rest in the series.

It is an amazing book trhat I highlyt recommend for Lord of the Rings fans or anyone who likes fantasy with a little mystery thrown in.

For more fantasy-mystery, go to Gates of Thread and Stone

For more magic and sorcery, go to The Emperor’s Edge

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie

The recipe is actually Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie, but as I have one that is almost the same title I added oats to this to distinguish it from the other.

I found this on Pinterest and it sounded good (you know me and smoothies) and I had the ingredients. The original site is Daily Smoothie,  I think with a name like that, the will be popping up again on my blog…

Ingredients:

  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/2 Cup of Almond Milk (I don’t like almond so I use regular)
  • 3/4 Cup of Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup of Oats
  • 1/2 Tsp of Cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp of Peanut Butter

Directions:

  1. Combine all in blender and mix well.
  2. Add a dash of oats on top.

Thoughts After Making:

It was delicious. I loved the peanut butter and I loved the smoothie. It was delicious and I recommend it.

For more Pinterest recipes, go to Creamy Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more from Daily Smoothie, go to Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie

For more smoothies, go to Blueberry Banana Protein Smoothie

For more peanut butter, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

For more drinks, go to Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

Design for Murder

Design for Murder (Death on Demand #2) by Carolyn G. Hart

It has been a while since we reviewed a Death on Demand, so let’s do a quick review. Annie Laurence, from Texas, tried to be an actress in New York, but when she didn’t ht it big she headed to Broward’s Rock of South Carolina where her beloved uncle lived. When he died, she inherited his mystery bookstore, Death on Demand.

She was followed by the wealthy billionaire, Max Darling, who she met in New York and fell in love with. She left him as she felt they were too different, but Max won’t let true love get away. He opens up a private investigators business on the island. Meanwhile, in the last book, Elliot Morgan was murdered and a whole list of suspects were involved-with Annie being number one. She and Max solved the case and since then life has been good.

Until…Annie is hired to do a Mystery Night for historic Chastain’s garden and historic house show. The Historic board is championed by tyrant Corinne Pritchard Webster who likes everything her way. She didn’t want to add this mystery night, but was outvoted, the board hiring Annie to plan it.

Corinne is a snake, but Annie is thrilled to create her own murder mystery play with clues! This is perfect as it takes her mind off her fight with Max about wedding plans.

Annie receives a note from Cordelia with her outline for the murder mystery, which infuriates Annie as she spent hours planning something else. But when she presents it to the board she discovers it wasn’t sent by Cordelia, but that someone pretended and sent a mystery to embarrass Cordelia.

After that Annie works extra hard on an English style murder mystery that has no resemblance to anyone whatsoever and her booth for the night. Before you know it, the day has come and it is time to stage it all. As Annie does a once-over of the grounds she spots the body in the wrong place. When she goes to move it-it turns out to not be a mannequin but a real body. Cordelia! But which of the many people who hated her murdered her?

Could it have been Lucy Gaines, the once fiancé of Corrine’s brother, the relationship Corrine broke up. Soon after Corrine’s brother died and Lucy never married or had children. She also was stuck working and dealing with Cordelia everyday. Did it finally get to her and she killed her to get back at the life that could never be?

Mayor Webster, Corinne’s husband, has been alienated from her for years. In fact he developed a relationship with one of the local teachers. Could he have murdered her to get his money, freedom, and a new girl?

Or her…

Corinne bought off her niece, Gail’s, “unsuitable” boyfriend and has been crushing her spirit. Could she had snapped and finally stopped her aunt from being involved?

She has taken all paintings and works made by local and museum artist Tim Bond. She has a contract that they are owned by the museum and selling them not to Tim’s New York show, but loaning them out to other museums. This will ruin his career. Did he kill her to get everything back? Or was it his girlfriend Sybil Giacamo who hates Corinne and wants to help Tim, her lover?

You know artists have artistic temperament

Roscoe Merrill got drunk when out of town on business. He slipped up on his marriage and Corinne just happened to see him. She holds that over him and threatens to ruin his perfect marriage. Did he kill her to end the blackmail? Or was it his wife who killed Corinne  to ensure no one sees their marriage as anything less than ideal?

Dr. Sanford has been practicing on that area to work exclusively with a doctor in his specialized field. He has plans to increase the hospital and increase his work. Corinne wouldn’t let him change anything in the hospital. Could he have done it, so that he continue his love?

Is it?

Edith Ferrier gives so much to the community and wanted to have the position of president of the historical society as it is her favorite thing. Corinne wouldn’t give up her power, even though Edith would do a better job. Was this the last straw after constantly being crushed? Did she snap and kill her?

Unfortunately, the only one who the police are focusing on IS Annie! Will she be able to solve the case or be sipping her future mint juleps in jail.

Thoughts After Reading:

It’s so good, and always get me.

A real page turner!

For more Death on Demand, go to Death on Demand

For more Design for Murder, go to So Many Books to Review, So Little Time

For more Historical Socities, go to Death by Cashmere

For more Southern mysteries, go to For Whom the Bluebell Tolls

Easy Northumberland Pan Haggerty

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Thoughts Before Baking:

So every 17th I try to make an Irish recipe in honor of the day. Usually I make some Irish Soda Bread and something else to go with it. The last two years I have done sweeter recipes, so this year I decided to go with something savory and made out of an Irish staple: Potatoes.

I was planning on doing one recipe, but discovered I purchased the wrong potatoes. I scoured the internet and found this one on The Spruce Eats.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz of Butter, divided
  • 9 oz of Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4-6 Potatoes, Peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces of Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice the onion.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes.
  3. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Over medium heat, melt 1 oz of butter in a large, oven safe, frying pan.
  5. Gently cook the onions until soft, but not browned.
  6. Melt half of the remaining butter.
  7. Remove pan from heat.
  8. In the pan, arrange a layer of potatoes.
  9. Add a layer of onion.
  10. Sprinkle on a layer of cheese.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
  12. Repeat steps 8-11, until all ingredients are used and the top is layered with potatoes.
  13. Place the pan over medium heat and cook on stovetop for a few minutes, or until the bottom layer of the potatoes are brown.
  14. Dot the surface with the rest of the butter and place in the heated oven, baking for 30 mins.
  15. Remove from oven and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.
  16. When the oven’s temperature has risen, return the pan to the oven and cook for 15 more minutes.
  17. To serve, loosen the edges of the potato cake from the frying pan with a spatula.
  18. Flip the pan over onto a  plate or breadboard.
  19. Cut into wedges and enjoy.

Thoughts After Cooking:

So I didn’t have an oven safe pan, after cooking on the stove I flipped it into my pie pan. So I had mixed feelings about this. The potatoes on top and bottom cooked very well, and were delicious. However, the ones in the middle didn’t all cook through.

I sliced my potatoes extremely thin, so I don’t think that was the problem. If I were to do this again, I would do less potatoes; maybe 2 or 3. Or try it with the yukon gold or red potatoes.

But the parts that were cooked, were so good. Yummy:

For more Saint Patrick’s Day posts, go to Irish Blueberry Scones

For more potato recipes, go to Grilled Sausages, Potatoes, & Carrots with Salsa Verde

For more holiday posts, go to Creamy Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Creamy Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Happy Pi Day

Thoughts Before Baking:

As you see above, today is Pi day so I decided to post a pie recipe.

I’ve made a sour cream lemon pie before, but this is a new recipe. This one comes from The Chunky Chef.

Ingredients

Pie Crust:

  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 3/4 Cup of Shortening
  • Ice Water

Filling:

  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 4 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 2 Lemons Juiced (about 1/2 Cup)
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • 3 Large Egg Yolks, Lightly Beaten
  • 4 Tbsp Cold Butter, Cubed
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  • Whipped Cream (Optional)
  • Lemon Slices (Optional)

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix up the shortening and flour. Add in water a tablespoon at a time until dough is more malleable. If you add to much and it is too liquid-y, then just add a bit more flour to firm it up.
  2. Line crust with foil and place beans, rice, or pie weights (as pie dough will rise) and bake for 8 mins or until browned. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add sugar and cornstarch. Whisk to combine.
  4. Slowly whisk in milk and lemon juice.
  5. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
  6. Reduce to low, and cook 2 mins longer, stirring often.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Lightly beat eggs in a small mixing bowl. Whisking continuously, add a small amount of the hot lemon mixture, then add the mixture to the hot saucepan.
  9. Heat pan on medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil, and cook for 2 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat again and add lemon zest.
  11. Continue to cool, but don’t stir.
  12. Cool mixture for 30-40 mins and then fold in sour cream until no white streaks remain.
  13. Spoon mixture into the pie crust and spread out evenly.
  14. Cool in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or more). To serve, top with whipped cream and lemon slices.

Thoughts After Baking:

I made this for Thanksgiving last year and it was sooooo good! It was eaten immediately. I only got one slice! 😦

For more on lemon pies, go to Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more pie recipes, go to Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

For more pinterest recipes, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

For more desserts, go to Braided Candy Canes

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Under Suspicion #1) by Mary Higgins Clark

Laurie Moran’s doctor husband was shot in the park while he was out with his son Timmy. After the killer shot him, he told Timmy “I’m coming for your mom next, then you.” All Timmy remembers from of the man was his intense and scary blue eyes.

Five years have gone by and Laurie has raised her son with help from her retired police officer father, Leo Farley. Laurie is a television producer who has had a few bombs recently.

This time she is sure she has a winner, a Unsolved Mysteries like TV show where all the people from the case reenact what happened in cold cases, having them be looked over and maybe solve it-with viewer’s aid.

And she has the perfect case to start them off, the murder of Betsy Bonner Powell, otherwise known as The Graduation Gala Murder. Twenty years ago, four close friends graduated from college and Robert Powell and Besty Bonner Powell decided to throw a huge gala for the four of them-Claire Bonner (Betsy’s daughter and Robert’s step daughter), Nina Craig, Alison Schaefer [Kimball], and Regina Callari.

The morning after the party, Robert went to deliver his wife her early morning coffee, as he did every morning, and found her dead-smothered to death. He, the housekeeper Jane, and all the girls were heavily questioned, being under suspicion for twenty years.

Robert Powell is very ill man, not long for the world, and he agrees to the show and to putting up $250,000-tax free. That added to the TV show’s $50,000 they are paying each woman-every single one will take home $300,000 for just a bit of rehashing-and maybe even clear the suspicions surrounding them.

Hmmm…very tempting

Alex Buckley, famous defensive attorney, especially for the way he questions witness on the stand, will be the host and will question each of the graduates, Jane, Robert Powell, and the family friend George Curtis.

As they all gather everyone wonders and questioned which of them did it?

Claire was very close to her mother, even commuting to Vasser to live at home. Her mother was so beautiful and commanding and she so plain. Did she kill her mother because she resented Robert Powell coming between them or was she jealous of her mother?

Hmm…

Nina’s mother, actress Muriel Craig, was dating Robert Powell. One day they went out to a restaurant Nina saw her friend Claire and her mother Betsy also dining out. When Betsy met Robert that was it, they married not long after. Muriel was furious at this and always blamed her daughter for ruining her chances-did Nina snap and kill her-thinking it might finally shut her mother up?

Alison was from a poor family and a scholarship student who worked hard for everything she got and her scholarship to college. She married four months after the murder to longtime friend Thomas “Rod” Kimball. What could be her motive?

Hmm…

Regina’s dad heavily invested in Robert Powell’s hedge funds, losing everything and committing suicide. Did she get revenge by killing Betsy?

Jane used to work with Betsy when Betsy was a usher at the theater. Her life increased wonderfully after Betsy hired her on, or did it? Did she have a reason to kill her?

Hmm…

Robert Powell-he loved Betsy with all his heart and never remarried. Is he really the grieving widower, or was he the one who killed her?

And George Curtis, helpful family friend-or does something more lie under that facade?

But that is just the surface, each one has a secret-and a deeper motive for killing Betsy.

Hmmm…?

Claire could use the money and she hates Powell with vengeance, that being her only reason to come back. Powell molested her from the time she moved in until she fled after her mother’s murder. Claire had been trying to work up the nerve to tell her mother what was happening when she overheard the two, and discovered her mom knew and allowed it. Was Claire a part of the deal always, the real reason he left Muriel for Betsy? Claire had just found out before the gala, did she snap with anger and smother her mother?

Nina is just an extra and is stuck with her mother after Muriel almost burned her apartment down falling asleep while smoking. Life with her mother has been hell ever since Robert Powell left Muriel as every day she was verbally abused and yelled at for messing that up. She agrees to come to get the money and get rid of her mother-moving her out and as far away as possible. What no one knows is that besides the constant berating of her mother Betsy always rubbed in her face as well-even going as far as writing a slight on the invitation and to her face at the party. Did she finally snap under the pressure and silence her?

Alison’s dreams of becoming a doctor and researcher were dashed when she lost the scholarship that she had worked so hard for and couldn’t afford to pay for graduate school on her own. Rod signed on a great football contract and asked her to marry him, promising to pay for her schooling. However, shortly after they were married Allison lost her dreams again when Rod was injured and lost his contract-the two ending up working in a pharmacy and Rod having to use crutches or a wheelchair. She agrees to come to get the money and go back to school. While all know she lost her dream no one knows that Betsy was the cause. Betsy wanted to join a socialite club and in order to get in she had Robert donate a ton of money to the school and used her influence to give the rich daughter of the socialite the scholarship to seal her entrance into the club. Alison was furious as the girl who won it was lower in grades, had dropped out, could afford to pay her own way, and was not deserving of it at all. Alison also sleepwalks when stressed and angry, could she had found her way into the room that night?

Regina had a horrible divorce where she didn’t come out with much. She is a struggling real estate agent, competing with her wealthy ex for care and attention of her son. With the money-she could provide things for her son herself, and not have to worry about money. But she has a dark secret too. When her father committed suicide he left a note (which she stole to protect her mother) saying that Betsy manipulated him to invest the money. The two had been having and affair, she and Robert knew all along that the investment would fail, and planned this all to take his money and save themselves. Because of that she lost her dear father and home, a loss she felt no stronger than on her graduation. Did she finally snap and get revenge!

From the day that Jane moved into the house she fell head over heels in love with Robert. She also grew to hate Besty and her “queenly” ways. Did she do her in to get a chance at Robert?

George and Betsy had a two-year affair, which at the end of it Betsy threatened to tell his wife all unless he paid her off. George knew that paying her off wouldn’t end it but just begin a constant flow of payments-but he knew if Isabelle found out she would leave him and his life would be over. Did he kill her to protect his wife?

And Robert, how much did he know? How much was he a part of? And did he kill her too?

Meanwhile, Robert’s driver discovers most of the girl’s secrets and starts blackmailing them, and blue eyes resurfaces-hanging close to Laurie and planing on finishing his threat-during the graduation gala filming.

This had an amazing buildup! I was listening to it on CD while driving about and became so caught up in it I had to check the book out to read whodunit.

However, I did wish the deeper secrets were revealed, to all the characters which I wish they, as the “motives” for murder are so weak without them.

But otherwise a real page turner! And I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

For more Mary Higgins Clark, go to The Man Next Door

For more mysteries in retrospect, go to Let Me Call You Sweetheart

For more blackmailing, go to The Cereal Murders

Death Dines Out

Death Dines Out (Hemlock Falls Mystery #5) by Claudia Bishop

The Quilliam sisters are thrilled to take a vacation from the Inn for a week in Palm Beach, Florida-but of course we know it won’t be a “real” vacation.

In exchange for first class tickets the pair are helping Tiffany Taylor, wealthy socialite, with a week long charity function for phobic women. The two are going to stay at the luxury condo, Combers Beach Club, Quill will give one lecture on inn keeping, and Meg three cooking classes. They are really going for Meg in the hopes she can win back her third star from L’ Aperitif.

The whole thing is basically a ruse,

Tiffany just wants to get back at her ex-husband. The two keep one-upping each other and one ends up dead…a case of murder!

Thoughts After Reading:

This was awful.

Ugh!

It was boring, made no sense and just absolutely horrible. Whatever charm attracted me to this series in the first place is gone and I never want to read another one.

But you know me, ugh I have to finish the series. Bleh!

For more Hemlock Falls mysteries, go to Murder Well Done

For more Claudia Bishop, go to A Pinch of Poison

For more mysteries taking place in Palm Beach, go to Spring Breakdown

Grilled Sausages, Potatoes, & Carrots with Salsa Verde

My sister bought me a Rachel Ray subscription for my birthday. This recipe comes from the September 2018 issue a part of Six Ingredient Supper.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Fresh Sweet or Hot Italian Pork Sausages
  • 1 Bunch of Carrots (About 1 lb)-trimmed and peeled, halved lengthwise if large (reserve greens)
  • 1.5 lb of Red Potatoes (about 4 medium cut into 3/4 inch thick wedges)
  • 3/4 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp of Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat a grill or grill pan on medium-high.
  2. Cook the sausages, turning occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centers registers 160 degrees F. Let cool and then halve the sausages crosswise.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the carrots and the potatoes with 1/4 cup of oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill veggies until tender, about 20 for carrots and 25 mins for potatoes.
  5. Meanwhile, chop enough of the carrot greens to measure 3 tbsp.
  6. In a food processor or blender, puree the carrot greens, basil, garlic, and 1/2 cup of olive oil-about 1 minute.
  7. Season the salsa verde with salt and pepper.
  8. Arrange the sausages, carrots, and potatoes on a platter.
  9. Top with half the salsa verde, and serve with rest.

Thoughts After Cooking:

The best thing about this was the carrots in the salsa verde-it was delicious. I could just eat that.

For more recipes, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie