A Quiche Before Dying

A Quiche Before Dying (A Jane Jeffry Mystery #3)

Thoughts Before Reading:

So it has been a while since we reviewed one of this mysteries. The story is of widowed mom, Jane Jeffry, getting caught up in a murder mystery and doing her best to take care of her family and solve it at the same time.

As you might have guessed, all the books in the series are reworking of famous films/literature. This one is based on the book or movie A Kiss Before Dying.

Plot Summery:

This summer it is just the girls as Jane’s youngest son, Todd, has gone off with his paternal grandparents (who hate Jane) to Disney World. Her oldest son was off with his best friend and best friend’s father on a tour of colleges.

Katie, Jane’s daughter, is staying home as she has a job as a lifeguard for the summer. The two are to be soon joined by Jane’s mother. Jane and her mother will be taking a memoir writing class, one that Jane is not looking forward to.

Jane’s mother and father worked in the state department and went all over the world, while Jane has had nothing of note in her life. In fact, Jane ends up writing a historical fiction suspense novel instead.

The only sour spot in this whole class is that Mrs. General Agnes Pryce will be one of the classmates. She is a rude boorish woman, and nobody likes her.

The class is run by romance writer Missy Harris and the other classmates are: Jane’s best friend and neighbor, Shelley; Grady Wells, mayor and president of a small company; Ruth Rogers and her newly found sister Naomi Smith; and Desiree Loftus, bohemian artist who’s gone all over the world.

Agnes is just as bad as everyone thought it would be in the class. She even forces them to attend a potluck at her bric-a-brac stuffed house. After the party-Agnes winds up dead! Poisoned!

Which member of the class is the murderer? And will they strike again?

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like this.

Everything was given at the end really. Just nothing and then one giant reveal. I did not care for it at all. There was no chance to figure out the killer, no real clues, nothing.

Bleh…

For more Jane Jeffry Mysteries, go to A Farewell To Yarns

For more by Jill Churchill, go to Grime and Punishment

For more mysteries, go to A Willing Murder

Eggless Cookie Dough

So first off:

Now on to the recipe:

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I was in the mood for something sweet-like cookies, but I didn’t want to bake as it is too hot.

So I started searching for an eggless cookie dough recipe that I could just eat instead. I found this one on Like Mother Like Daughter. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsps of Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsps of Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsps of Sugar
  • 1/4 Tsps of Vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp of Milk
  • 1/8 Tsp of Salt
  • 6 Tbsps of Flour
  • 1/4 Cup of Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Microwave your flour for 30 seconds to 1 min to eliminate the risk of e.coli.
  2. In a small bowl, cream together butter and sugars until mixed.
  3. Add vanilla and milk, stir to combine.
  4. Add in salt and mix until combined.
  5. Enjoy.

Thoughts After Cooking:

I didn’t take a picture, sorry. Instead I ate it all up as it was super good.

It was delicious!

For more Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes, go to Chocolate Whoppers

For more summer recipes, go to Schooner’s Summertime-Only Strawberry-Raspberry Pie

For more cookie recipes, go to “The Best” Brownies

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

Patterns in the Sand

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Patterns in the Sand (A Seaside Knitters Mystery #2) by Sally Goldenbaum

It has been a whole year since the tragic murder that took Angie’s life, and all the knitters are looking forward to a happy, murder-free, knitting summer.

The first surprise is when the knitting shop is broken into by a young woman. She was found asleep in the storefront window on top of the yarn display there.

It turns out this woman is yarn artist, Willow Adams. Izzy had invited her to come, but never expected to come upon her like that.

She is very flightily and vague, staying with Nell in their guest house, but leaving every day to roam about the shops, galleries, and studios.

But then Aiden Peabody, gallery owner, artist, and wealthy member of the community is found murdered!

The whole town is in shock, the knitters even more so when it appears that Willow is the prime suspect.

What?!

The knitters set out to catch killer and clear Willow’s innocence.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I couldn’t stand this book.

Ugh!

They kept going on about how Willow couldn’t kill anyone and wanted to help her; the only problem is they DON’T know her. Just because she is an artist it doesn’t mean she can’t be a killer or a liar. We don’t KNOW her, she could be ANYTHING!

Their whole argument was that she’s is such a talented artist, she couldn’t hurt a fly. But then, the one who turns out to be the “real murderer” was an artist.

For more Seaside Knitter Mysteries, go to Death by Cashmere

For more knitting mysteries, go to The Postman Always Purls Twice

For more mystery reviews, go to Weak Flesh

Schooner’s Summertime-Only Strawberry-Raspberry Pie

Murderinmohair

Thoughts Before Baking:

I love pie!

castiel-i-need-pie

So when I find a recipe that isn’t chocolate, I just have to try it out.

So I know that this pie is a “summer” pie because of the fruit, but I live in CA. We have summer fruit all year long.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

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Ingredients:

  • 16 oz-(3 Cups) of Fresh, Ripe, Strawberries; washed, hulled, and sliced in half
  • 6-8 oz (1-1 1/3 Cups) of Raspberries; rinsed and set out in a single layer on a towled area
  • 1/3 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Cornstarch ot white flour
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
  • For dough use the one from the Apple Pie Recipe or buy a premade one.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Make the dough or roll out the premade one in your pie pan.
  3. Combine the berries, sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Add cornstarch or flour and mix gently until blended. Do not break the raspberries.
  5. Fill dough in pie pan.
  6. Cut remaining dough to into ten 3/4 inch strips and create a lattice.
  7. Brush top with egg.
  8. Cook 45-50 mins

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Thoughts After Baking:

My niece wanted to make the pie with me, so instead of doing the crust from my Apple Pie recipe, I decided to buy the a premade one.

bigmistake

I bought the pillsbury dough which did not turn out well. The dough was hard and dry. When I tried to follow the cooking directions,  it almost burned at 40 degrees. And then it tasted disgusting, like plastic.

horrible

The pie filling was good, not super sweet but that is okay. However, you need to eat this pie fast. It does not hold up well for the next day.

Not-Good

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For more Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries, go to Chicken, Asparagus, and Tomato Pesto Pasta

For more pie recipes, go to Sour Cream Lemon Pie

For more desserts, go to Orange Chocolate Cake

For more recipes, go to Pigs in a Blanket

Key Lime Pie Murder

Key lime pie murder

Key Lime Pie Murder (Hannah Swensen Mystery #9)

It’s summertime in Lake Eden, and that means that it is time for the Tri-County Fair!

Double double yay

As always there are loads of events, games, rides, and food booths. Hannah was planning on only suppling cookies to a booth, The Cookie Nook, but when a friend becomes sick, Hannah steps in to take her place.

gotthis

Yep, this year Hannah will be judging the bake-off; sampling all kinds of bread, cookies, pies, and more. She’s not in this alone, as the other two judges are home economics teacher, Pam, and instructional aide, Willa.

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In fact the whole Swensen family is taking part in the fair this year: Hannah’s mother Delores is running a dunk tank for the Lake Eden Historical Society;  Andrea, entering the mother-daughter beauty pageant with her daughter Tracey; and Hannah’s youngest sister Michelle is trying for the Tri-County Queen.

fair

What starts out as good eats, fun times, rodeo ramblings, and a quest to eat a deep-fried chocolate bar turns sour when Willa is murdered.

Murder

Now Hannah is on the case, trying to discover who is behind this killing.

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Did it have something to do with the robbery of the Rodeo entry fees? Was it someone who was upset with Willa disqualifying them from the Tri-County Queen contest? Could it have been someone who was upset that Willa gave them poor reviews on their baked good, causing them to win nothing and destroy their reputation as best cook? Was it a student flunked by Willa? Or was it someone unknown?

Sad but true.

Hannah soon realizes that she knows very little about who Willa is and her past. Why did she travel all over the United States, working in Washington, California, and Florida? Why did she break up with her fiancé two months ago? Why did she have her hair done and purchase a new outfit, when she had very little money?

don'tneedsleepneedanswers

As Hannah starts looking into this crime, she discovers that she needs to watch her step, or else she might meet the same fate as Willa did.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

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Thoughts After Reading:

Now I thought the title, Key Lime Pie Murder, was a stretch. There is hardly any Key Lime pie in the book, just the one case when they sample it for the fair.

seriously

And to add to it, Hannah never even made a Key Lime pie, nor does she add it to her shop’s menu, like in Lemon Meringue Murderwhich would tie the book together. Instead, I felt that since the book failed to revolve around any dessert, a rarity, they just picked one they thought sounded good (which didn’t).

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

The story itself was good, and the mystery interesting as we have to figure out why someone would have killed Willa. I think that it was easily solved, but in a good way, rather than feeling lazy or stupid.

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The only qualm I have with Hannah in this book is that she really seems to use Norman a lot, and he takes it like a doormat.

neverlovesomeonewhotreatsyouordinary

I think that out of all the books, this one shows how right her boyfriend Norman is for her, than her other boyfriend Mike. Mike is too controlling, in the sense that he is a cop and cannot allow vigilanteism, not to mention the ego-burst of having your girlfriend be better at solving these crimes. The opposite of this is Norman, who doesn’t care about her investigating as he enjoys jumping in with her. He also is amazingly sweet in how he takes care of her cat, treating it as if it was Hannah’s sick baby. In fact, in this book more than any other, I could see Norman and Hannah happily married, a Tommy and Tuppence of the midwest.

Tommy-and-Tuppence-1923

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For more Hannah Swensen Mysteries, go to Cherry Cheesecake Murder

For more book reviews, go to A Change of Fortune

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

Lemon Meringue Pie Murder

Lemon Meringue Murder (Hannah Swenson #4) by Joanne Fluke

So before I even start reviewing this piece, I thought I would point out something I noticed on the back cover:

In her third top-of-the line culinary cozy…” –Publishers Weekly

Third? Third? I guess Publishers Weekly doesn’t know how to count. This is the fourth book. It goes 1)Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

1.5) Candy for Christmas

2) Strawberry Shortcake Murder

3) Blueberry Muffin Murder

4) Lemon Meringue Murder

BacktothefutureThinkMcFlyStupid

So now to the review!

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So the winter blues have been kissed good-bye, as we now enter the summer months with the upcoming 4th of July.

applepie

Hannah is getting ready to wear her summer slacks, when she finds out that she cannot fit in them.

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That means only one thing, a DIET

Diet

In happier news, Norman calls to let Hannah know that he bought a house! Or rather he bought the perfect land from Rhonda Scharf to build their dream house.

Wedding

While Norman is building the house they designed together, he doesn’t ask her to marry him. This tiny nugget becomes a huge part of the plot as Hannah wonders why Norman hasn’t asked her, but yet at the same time doesn’t want to be asked as she doesn’t want to get married. You know what I have to say on that?

movingOnsherlocknotinterested

Come on Hannah, Norman knows you better than you know yourself and can tell you would say no. Hearing you go on and on about it is completely boring.

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In fact I find the whole Norman-Hannah-Mike love triangle completely dumb and am over it. Please end it. I mean it is clear that Hannah and Mike are only physical and won’t work long term; just choose Norman and put us readers out of their misery.

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Later Jed and Freddy stop by Hannah’s shop. Freddy is a developmentally disabled adult and Jed is his cousin. Freddy’s parents died and Jed has been helping take care of him ever since. The two form a handyman service, one of their regular customers being The Cookie Jar. Along with being paid, Hannah always gives them some treats.

cookies

Hannah notices that Jed seems to be spending quite a bit lately. Wonder where he is getting all the dough?

HMMM

The next day Mike returns from a trip and is mad that Norman is building a house for Hannah and that Norman proposed. All I can say Mike, if you weren’t such a rover maybe you would have the sense to ask Hannah yourself.

But the problem is, you just can’t give up other girls. But Hannah still likes this dude, and assures him she is engagement free. Mike is pleased and tells her “I don’t want to change anything. Everything’s great just the way it is.” Great for who? You. And with that attitude you can’t blame Norman for being a man and trying to move the relationship forward. But enough on that stupid drama.

movingOnsherlocknotinterested

Oh yeah, so in this mystery Hannah says that her pies are something she changes up every week. Pie? Funny that was never mentioned in the previous books. And it won’t be mentioned again, until Key Lime Murder.

coincidenceithinknot

So Norman, Delores Swenson (Hannah’s mom), and Hannah head out to the Rhonda’s house so Delores can pick over any pieces she wants for her antique shop before the wrecking balls destroy it.

When they get into the house they discover one of Hannah’s pies covered in ants. She also notices two takeout containers with osso buco. And inside the house are two wineglasses and a Chianti bottle. Sounds like someone had a party.

While Hannah and Norman are clearing things upstairs, Delores heads down to the basement and discovers a dead body, Rhonda’s.

AAAAHHHHH

So Hannah reassures everyone that she will not be investigating.

notbelievingyouyeahright

Whatever Hannah, you know you can’t help but put your nose into everything.

So while Hannah is “determined” to stay out of it, Delores wants to investigate, and urges Hannah to join her team.

veronicamarsinvestigatesleuth

Hannah tracks down who purchased her pies, three going to Claire who owns the boutique next to The Cookie Jar. There she discovers that Claire gave Rhonda one of her pies, and that Claire is dating the Reverend.

movingOnsherlocknotinterested

Later, after catering and other duties, Hannah returns to The Cookie Jar where she runs into Jed and Freddy, looking to get paid for their hard work. Through some very clunky, (and bad), exposition, we find out that Jed used to be in prison. He was supposedly only an outside contractor, and received a huge check which allows him to buy all these things he has been purchasing lately.

coincidenceithinknot

Hannah and Mike meet up that evening for dinner. They talk about the case which then leads into a discussion on Freddy and Jed. Hannah doesn’t like Jed as he introduces “ideas Freddy can’t handle.” Like buying a new truck or getting interested in girls.

Oh no Hannah, the horror! Freddy likes a new truck and will be riding around in it. Next thing you know he will be getting involved in drugs and end up in jail.

seriously

 And girls? Developmentally disabled people can get married and do regularly. Obviously Fluke doesn’t know anyone developmentally disabled. Although we really know why this is introduced, Fluke wants to establish Jed as the villian and killer.

seriously

SPOILER, you say? As soon as they announced Jed used to be in jail it is clear that he is being set up as the murderer. Totally obvious.

its-so-obvious-captain-obvious

Hannah then goes on the trail of the osso buco, trying to find out who Rhonda’s boyfriend was. One person who ordered take out was the Reverend, Hannah goes over to talk to Claire and finds out that he brought dinner for their night out. She also is told by Claire that Claire wants to be the Reverend’s wife. The only thing stopping her? She doesn’t know how to read sheet music or play the organ.

really?

Now it is things like this that really makes me question whether Fluke is living in the present time. This book is published in 2003, not 1962. Most churches do not have an organ anymore, they have switched to pianos or keyboards. And if they do have an organist, they hire someone. It is not a requirement for a minister’s wife. And how should I know such things? From experience, I’m a minister’s daughter.

Icannotstandmorons_Laura

Hannah does manage to track down Rhonda’s boyfriend, figuring out that it is the high school principal. He apparently went there to break it off, not staying very long and Rhonda very much alive when he left. So it it wasn’t the boyfriend? Then who is the murderer.

Freddy comes by The Cookie Jar the next day. He drops off a surprise for Jed, that he “lost” in the trash. Hannah agrees to hold it, once again being clunky thrown in.

its-so-obvious-captain-obvious

As Hannah is investigating, another mystery crops up. Old bills from a bank robbery about 30 years ago have resurfaced. Who could be behind it? Is it connected to Rhonda’s death?

Hannah returns to Rhonda’s old house and takes some photographs in the basement. When they look at them again they discover that there is something wrong with the jam jars. They are not organized as they should be, with the jam on the wrong shelves. That means someone was over there and there must be something important there.

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

There is also this moment when Andrea is planning on making red, white, & blue jello; but in the end can’t as they don’t make blue jello. I distinctly remember eating it when I was a child, and when I looked it up blue jello was invented in 1992. Andrea totally should have been able to buy it.

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Hannah gets caught up in a storm and finds herself at Beatrice’s and Ted’s apartment complex, the place that Rhonda rented from. Hannah comes in to call and let her family know she is safe. Beatrice offers to give her Rhonda’s clothes. Hannah uses that time to snoop and discovers a letter to Rhonda’s great-aunt.

The letter is from a prison inmate, Speedy. He talks about a treasure hunt they would go on and her peach jam.

suspicious Hmm

The 4th of July comes and everything seems great. That is until they find a bludgeoned Freddy. Luckily they get him to the hospital in time. There Freddy is in a coma, but will be brought out. Jed is disheartened, and Hannah tries to cheer him up telling him about Freddy’s surprise.

Hannah heads to the bakery the next morning to work on some dough. As she does she starts thinking about the note, Rhonda, etc and puts it all together. Speedy hid the money in Rhonda’s house, the one that used to belong to her aunt. Rhonda found it when she was cleaning things out. From there Jed found it and is the murderer as he he is spending a ton of money.

gotthis

To me that seems like an awfully big leap.

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Jed comes to get the “surprise”, but Hannah manages to beat him to it. He then locks her in her cooler. He admits it all, just as Hannah figured it out. Hannah tries to get out, becoming some super electrician and figuring the right wire to cut that will make someone investigate. How does she know such complex things?

What?

At least when Nancy Drew did it, she always explained where she got such knowledge from, and how she has done it before. Not just a casual conversation with her father 20 years ago.

seriously

In the end Lisa and Herb get engaged and Hannah discovers she switched pants with Andrea. She never had to diet after all.

oopsmybad

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Thoughts After Reading:

As you can tell I didn’t really care for this mystery. There were a lot of plot pieces left out, such as how Jed figured out about the money. And some things didn’t make any sense. To be completely honest, to me it seemed like a slapped together, overly complicated mystery.

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For more Hannah Swenson mysteries, go to Blueberry Muffin Murder

For more midwestern mysteries, go to Thorns of Rosewood

For more reviews, go to The Princess Plot