June 29 – My Journey Back – SPOTLIGHT WITH RECIPE
Whoever thought a sixty plus year old bride-to-be competing for the perfect Southern wedding would need a chaperone? But no, the television show’s rules require all five of the Southern Belle finalists to be chaperoned at night and during certain events. Because Sarah Blair’s twin, Chef Emily, works nights, and Mother Maybelle didn’t want to inconvenience any of her friends, it’s Sarah who’s “stuck” with the task.
It's bad enough juggling her day job and taking care of her own furry pets, RahRah and Fluffy, while she is on duty, but the show contracted for rooms for the Belles and their chaperones at Sarah’s all-time nemesis, Jane Clark’s, bed and breakfast. Mother Maybelle assured Sarah that she could survive the few hours a night she’d have to be at Jane’s Place, especially since she’d be sleeping most of it, but Maybelle didn’t take into account that on the first night they would find the show’s producer lying dead in the front hall with Jane, blood on her hands, bending over his body.
In the last year, Sarah unraveled several murders in Wheaton, Alabama, but tonight she has a dilemma. Sarah hates Jane. Jane is the bimbo that broke up Sarah’s marriage, forced her to go from a life of luxury to an efficiency apartment, tried to steal RahRah, the Siamese cat that was the only thing she got out of her marriage, and has been a consistent thorn in her side, but Sarah doesn’t think Jane is a murderer. One part of Sarah wants to ignore Jane’s plea for help, but her loyalty and fears for her mother’s well-being prompt her to get involved before Mother Maybelle or any of the other contestants are permanently eliminated from the competition.
Read an excerpt
From Heather’s remarks last night, it didn’t shock Sarah that Heather not only ignored Sam’s request, but was fidgeting with her cell phone. Sarah rechecked the mental note she’d made to find out what it was that Heather had against Alan. Barbie and Rose also were obviously not complying. Sarah added them to her mental checklist.
Running the list through her mind, Sarah tried to think if anyone besides Heather had expressed negative feelings for Alan or if she had seen any of them interact with him in a way that might provide a motivation for murder.
Rose had experienced that séance-like episode where she kept repeating “evil” and almost fainted, but Sarah wasn’t sure if her reference was to Alan as a person or to the murder itself. Barbie hadn’t said anything negative about Alan, but she definitely wasn’t thrilled when he stopped her from following Starr into the big dining room on the day intros were taped. It might have thwarted Barbie at that moment, but not being able to fix her daughter’s makeup didn’t seem like enough of a reason to murder someone.
In some ways, Jane had the best motive for having killed him because he reneged on part of what she viewed their deal to be. Still, Sarah couldn’t believe it. Jane was a schemer, and a lot of other things, but from the few times Jane’s façade had cracked in front of Sarah, she didn’t think Jane had the coldhearted ability to murder anyone. The killer had to be someone else. But who?
About the author
Judge Debra H. Goldstein writes Kensington’s Sarah Blair mystery series (Four Cuts Too Many, Three Treats Too Many, Two Bites Too Many, and One Taste Too Many). Her short stories, which have been named Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer finalists, have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Malice Domestic Murder Most Edible, Masthead, and Jukes & Tonks. Debra served on the national boards of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and was president of the Guppy and SEMWA chapters. Find out more about Debra at https://www.DebraHGoldstein.com .
Kensington created a cookbook of Sarah Blair’s recipes, Simple Recipes from the Sometimes Sleuth, which can be downloaded for free from Debra’s website, https://www.DebraHGoldstein.com
Chef Wanda’s Honey Baked Apples
6 green apples
1 ½ cup of cranberries (works best with fresh ones)
2 ¼ cups of water
¾ cup of packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons of honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Core the apples, removing the peel from the top third of each apple.
Place the apples in a baking dish.
Fill the core holes with cranberries.
In a small saucepan, mix the water, brown sugar, and honey.
Bring to a boil. Note: Stir occasionally, making sure, if necessary, the sugar and honey dissolves.
Once boiled, pour the hot mixture over the apples.
Bake one hour at 350 degrees. Every fifteen to twenty minutes, baste with the juices.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.
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