Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back from Vacation

We took a one-week vacation to get away from the snow and cold, which we get very sick of by the end of February. Here in the U.S. we call it a vacation and I think other parts of the world call it a holiday. Any way you say it: vacation, holiday, time off: it sounds good to me!

We went to a place that has electricity, but we had no television and no computers at our lodge. There were also no telephones and no newspapers. Cell phones don’t work. Sound amazing? Yes, there is a place in the U.S. like this: it’s Death Valley National Park in southern California.

Many folks would go crazy not having these things available, but we didn’t mind. We were there to enjoy the beauty of the park. It’s a land of extremes. You can drive from below sea level to 5,000 feet above sea level in about 20 miles. It was one of the most spectacular drives we’ve ever done in a national park.

In case you are wondering why there is no cell phone reception, there are mountain chains all around the park.

It’s a lesson we need to re-learn from time to time. Humanity has accomplished so many things, but when all is said and done, nature will just about always win.

While we were gone, I read one book about a famous female-sleuth and I’ll talk about it soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Katherine Heigl to Star as Stephanie Plum in the Film Adaptation of Janet Evanovich's One for the Money

I'm on the email list for Mystery Books news from It's a great site and I'd highly recommend it for current information on mystery books, authors, TV shows, DVD's and games.

This is from I post I received from them on February 10, 2010:

"Variety is reporting that Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy) has been signed to star as bounty hunter Stephanie Plum in the film adaptation of Janet Evanovich's novel One for the Money. The screenplay was written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith (Legally Blonde, The Ugly Truth), with an update by Liz Brixius.

Evanovich has (to date) written 15 "numbered" books in the mystery series plus four "between-the-numbers" books, providing plenty of material for future films in the franchise."

I haven't seen any of Katherine Heigl's work but I'd be interested to see this film.

Done with “Dying for Chocolate” by Diane Mott Davidson

One of the characters in this book actually died for chocolate. I won’t say who. This is a well written book, and even though this is my second time reading it I didn’t remember who the killer was. That’s a good thing because it was a complete surprise to me.

Goldy has a tendency to get so wrapped up in her mysteries that she forgets to take care of herself and her son Arch. Good for the mystery, but bad for her and Arch. Her relationship with investigator Tom Schulz deepens. He cares for her and Arch and tries to watch out for them both.

The book also includes several of Goldy’s recipes for various salads, soups, entrees and desserts. Someday I'll have to try some of these recipes.

You can buy the book here:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Biscotti and a Body

Re: “Dying for Chocolate” by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldy is staying at the home of Adele and Bo Farquhar while a security system is being installed in her own home. Adele is the older sister of Goldy’s friend, Marla. Bo is a former general in the Army and is an expert in explosives. He even used some explosives when he planted a garden at his home. What must the neighbors think? I personally think using a shovel is a better way to dig up a garden!

General Bo asks Goldy to make biscotti for his and Adele’s anniversary party. She does and it’s a hit. What is also a hit is Goldy’s young son, Arch, who has prepared several magic tricks to perform at the anniversary party.

Later when the party is over, Goldy tries to unwind by reading in bed. She thinks she hears someone swimming in the Farquhar’s pool but decides to ignore whoever it is.

The next morning she goes out to get some fresh air and discovers a body. Police investigator Tom Schulz has some questions for Goldy about her new discovery. Goldy and Tom have been dating. He shares information with her another case he is investigating: her friend Philip Miller’s death.

I don’t think it’s common in the real world for the authorities to share such confidential information with their girlfriends. But this is the world that fictional female-sleuths live in, and so we can believe this information-sharing will happen.

(Stay tuned for more posts on this book).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

This cake looks yummy. I wonder if Goldy has a recipe for it?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Food for Love

Re: “Dying for Chocolate” by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldy’s next catering job is for the next-door neighbor who is trying to put some of the spark back into her marriage. Goldy works on the menu and calls it “Aphrodisiac Dinner for Six”. Included are oysters, shrimp dumpling soup, lettuce salad with tomatoes, avocados and mushrooms, chile relleno torta, lamb chops, zuchini, breads and last, but not least, a platter of assorted chocolate treats.

The client wants Goldy to wear a short, black and white lacy uniform while she serves. It looks like a French maid’s uniform dreamed up by Frederick’s of Hollywood. Goldy says NO, she will only cook, serve and clean up. She will not wear the caterer-as-a-centerfold uniform.

Goldy has done her research regarding the menu, so as she serves each course she discusses how food relates to love.

Author Davidson tells us about Aphrodite’s birth. Legend has it that Aphrodite was born on dry land in the crest of a wave. The word ‘aphros’ means foam. So any food item from the sea, Aphrodite’s birthplace, is supposed to have aphrodisiac-type qualities.

So that is why Goldy serves oysters first. They contain iodine, which is reputed to encourage a person’s libido.

Goldy finishes up the meal with a variety of chocolate goodies. Romantic lore commonly identifies chocolate as an aphrodisiac, and gifts of chocolate are a familiar courtship ritual. (info and photo from Wikipedia)

Another interesting tidbit that Goldy relates is that the word for love potion in Latin is “venenum” - which also means poison. This is very interesting. Is it because a person needs a love potion to fall in love with someone they wouldn’t normally fall in love with, and so they are ‘poisoned by love’?

(Stay tuned for more posts on this book).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

“Dying for Chocolate” by Diane Mott Davidson

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, and with the emphasis many people place on eating chocolate this time of year, I thought I’d read a chocolate-themed or chocolate-titled mystery.

This is book two in the Goldy catering series. Goldy has moved her son and herself into temporary housing since her abusive ex-husband, John Richard Korman (AKA the Jerk) has been acting strangely. He’s been slowly driving by her house. He’s also been calling repeatedly and hanging up the phone when she answers. He has a history of physical violence towards Goldy, and she is afraid of him.

So now she is living at her friend’s sister’s home. It’s a mansion with a great security system. Goldy has become the family’s live-in cook while a security system is being installed in her own home.

This book opens with Goldy making and catering brunch for 60 people. She hates the thought of brunch because she thinks it’s a meal in between two other meals. Like you would eat breakfast, then brunch, then lunch. Sorry Goldy, but if I’m having brunch, I skip breakfast and lunch!

She’s been seeing a man named Philip Miller. They dated while she was in college and have gotten together again recently. Philip shows up at the brunch and asks Goldy to meet him at his office in town after she is done with her catering chores. She agrees, and later follows him in her car.

She notices Philip is driving erratically and thinks it’s odd because he was fine at the brunch. She honks her horn and motions for him to pull over, but he doesn’t. Then she is horrified to see Philip losing control of his car and crashing into an oncoming bus. He is killed.

(Stay tuned for more posts on this book).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

“The Moonstone Castle Mystery” by Carolyn Keene

I always enjoy a mystery that finds our female-sleuth exploring an old mansion or castle. So many secrets must be hidden in those walls!

This is book 40 in the Nancy Drew series, published in 1963. According to Wikipedia, the actual author of the book was ghostwriter Harriet Stratemeyer Adams.

There are two mysteries in this book. One involves a case that Nancy’s father, attorney Carson Drew is working on. Mr. Drew is asked to find a young woman named Joanie Horton because she is due an inheritance. Nancy and her friends are asked to help and so the case leads them to a town called Deep River.

The second mystery involves a moonstone that Nancy receives anonymously. While in Deep River, Nancy and her friends discover a castle named Moonstone Castle which comes complete with a drawbridge and moat.

As her investigation continues, Nancy begins to realize there is a connection between the two cases.

While reading this book, I wondered what a moonstone looks like so I found a few pictures:

Basically moonstones are classified as mineral gemstones of the feldspar variety. The stone has a milky, bluish color caused by the refraction of light from its thin, paired internal layers.

You can read more about moonstones at the

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Book from Kate Collins

I'm on the email list for Kate Collins' Flower Shop mystery books. I got this email a couple of days ago about her new book, "Sleeping With Anemone", and thought I'd share it here:

"A book makes a great Valentine gift, too!

There’s a killer out to get Abby. If only she knew which one....

Maybe Abby Knight shouldn't have chosen a home and garden show sponsored by Uniworld Food as the venue for her protest against the corporation’s harmful farming practices. But being bodily removed from the event won’t stop her campaign. Nor will a burning brick thrown through her flower shop’s window. After she narrowly escapes being kidnapped three times, Abby calls in the big guns-her ex-Ranger boyfriend Marco and her friends and family. And then the stakes are raised by murder…

On Sale Feb 2nd at bookstores everywhere!

See "Sleeping with Anemone" YouTube Book Trailer at:

The Flower Shop Mysteries:


*and coming October, 2010…

Happy Valentine's Day!
Bloomers Flower Shop
(Abby, Grace, and Lottie)

Read an Excerpt and see Abby's Flower Shop (Bloomers)"