It’s been quite awhile since we’ve had an Authors in Our Midst post, and I’m happy to get us started again with TaMara’s latest book: Recipe for Murder. Or perhaps it’s really Zander’s new book, as he seems to be claiming ownership!
This book looks really fun! I bet I’m not the only one who read Recipe for Murder, so here’s your link to order:
Duxbridge Mysteries: Recipe for Murder is available in eBook and paperback.
If you are an Author or an Artist who is interested in having your work featured, just let me know. I think several BJ peeps have new books, and I always try to remind you guys about this series in the comments when you mention your books; hopefully this will inspire you guys to write something up and send it in!
It’s amazing I get any work done. As usual, Zander ignores the rules.
First, thank you to WaterGirl for posting this for me. We talked back and forth on my reluctance to post it myself, because it felt a bit like I was taking advantage of the gift Cole gave me oh, so many years ago. So, with WG’s encouragement, we decided that posting it under Authors in Our Midst was a fine idea.
I suppose my reluctance is due in part to my feeling that my books are not profound, or literary or life-changing. I just want you to meet my friends and lose yourself for a few hours in a world that is more fun than disquieting, more hopeful than heartbreaking.
So with that, I bring you my next round of friends and family that populate the (somewhat) fictional village of Duxbridge, MA. Population: Just enough to be in everyone’s business and still have enough leftover for murders and mysteries.
I suppose it was inevitable that after years of writing a recipe blog, my next mystery/romance would involve recipes and murder.
On the board tonight:
- 1 cookbook author
- 1 handsome Kiwi
- 1 notoriously despicable restaurateur
- 1 small town, filled with quirky residents
- A dash of mystery
- Fine food and conversations to taste
- Sprinkle with an assortment of friends and family
Take Maggie, a successful cookbook author who has returned to her hometown of Duxbridge after an unsatisfying career and relationship in New York City. Dust her with an accusation of murder. Fold with remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously. Pour into a baking dish and heat until bubbling. Serve immediately or allow to cool for all-day nibbling. Pairs well with coffee or wine.
Chapters one and two are available here and here.
If you’ll indulge me a bit, I wanted to talk about one of those childhood books that shaped more than my reading habits and how that series somehow morphed into the Duxbridge Mysteries and some of the similarities:
Reflections on Trixie Belden and Duxbridge Mysteries
I received my first Trixie Belden book (The Mysterious Visitor, bk 4 in the series) while I was in the hospital recovering from surgery. Fun fact, when you’re a kid and you get stuck in a hospital, people bring you gifts: books, puzzles, games – oh, and homework – to keep you busy and your mind off all the weird stuff going on. My best friend gave me my first Trixie Belden book and before I finished it, I was hooked. My allowance went to buy more books in the series, which I have to this day.
I stuck with the series until the original author, Julie Campbell, left (to write Cherry Ames among other series). I felt like the books weren’t the same after that and also, my literary tastes were evolving, quickly, as you would expect from a pre-teen. Besides, in some ways, Trixie was dated even back then, though I have come to appreciate the fact the books did not receive any kind of update in the reissues I was reading. Trixie was stuck in the 50s and I liked the kind, uncomplicated (well, if you ignore all the ‘mysteries’ in which they became involved) world of Trixie, Honey, Brian, Matt and Jim.
For a military brat who moved every two years, there was comfort in their world. A consistency and security in their friends and family, that my world just didn’t have. And there was kindness, good deeds, and a sense of belonging. While I moved onto more sophisticated reads – my mom belonged to a book of the month club, so adult content was readily available to a point that most YA fiction held little appeal – I still revisited Trixie’s world at frequent intervals – even as an adult.
But as an adult, I had this longing to somehow, sometime, someway, create an adult version of Trixie’s world.
As I was finishing up Underway, my friend (and cover artist) and I were brainstorming story ideas, thinking we might have fun writing a series together. Something light, fun and PG. We kept coming back to my ducks and what clowns they were and suddenly we hit upon a small town with a duck theme. And since both of us had lived in Massachusetts at one time or another, we decided a small village in New England was the perfect setting, and Duxbridge was born.
Don’t get me wrong, I love TJ Wilde and writing her misadventures in adulting, but those books are most definitely R-rated content. The idea of writing about a small town, near cranberry bogs, beaches, and dense woods, filled with a population of warm, funny, and quirky characters was very appealing. As we sketched out the town residents and I began to develop the lead characters in the first book, I knew I had inadvertently stumbled upon my adult Trixie books.
Maggie, along with her cop brother Mike, café owner Jules, her wife Bria, building contractor Jake, and town matriarch Miss Kitty, could have a myriad of adventures over the course of several books. But it would mostly be about their relationships and the town in which they lived. My goal is to make Duxbridge someplace you’ll want to revisit because it makes you feel good to be there.
And the bonus? Since Maggie is a cookbook author, the books include all the recipes she makes. Which is a little Easter egg of its own – since I did an entire blog series on recipes in my favorite books, including Trixie Belden.
And for those who keep asking, yes, yes, yes, book three of the TJ Wilde Trilogy is in the works, as is a series that takes place here in Colorado.
What is everyone reading these days? I’m reading John Green’s Anthropocene Reviewed and still wading through Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club. Any good recommendations? What childhood books still hold power over you to this day?
And as always – if you have a book to promote, let me or WaterGirl know and we’ll get you a post.
A) Congrats, TaMara! I look forward to reading after I finish my own MS in the next few weeks. (No fun for me til then…)
B) Love food-and-mysteries. I cut my teeth on Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries (which my mother loved and made sure I knew about).
C) What I’m reading–not much, other than really depressing stuff about infectious disease all day (see near-complete MS). I do read a little, in bed, just before lights out. Almost all non-fiction these days, to keep me in the frame for said MS. Just last night finished Robert MacFarlane’s The Wild Places, which I picked up after having been enormously moved by his Underland. My next such night read may be a book he mentioned, The Peregrine, by J. A. Baker. I got the Kindle sample, which is an introduction by Mark Cocker, and I think I’m hooked.
Dorothy A. Winsor
I read Recipe for Murder and loved it!
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Did you get an early copy?
Dorothy A. Winsor
@WaterGirl: No. I just found it for sale on Amazon and bought it.
Congratulations! – and thank you for the shoutout to the early books in the Trixie Belden series, from one of which I learned a very useful life skill having to do with carbon paper. IYKYK. :)
@H.E.Wolf: OMG, that’s so funny. I have a “no signing privileges” rule with my clients. Keeps us all safer. But occasionally an emergency comes up, and instead of me driving an hour round trip, with my client’s permission, I use that technique. That I, like you, learned from the books. LOL
Shhhh…. don’t tell
Cheryl from Maryland
Congratulations. FYI, my husband was also a big Trixie Belden fan – he read everyone he could find when he was in elementary school (I preferred Nancy Drew, especially George).
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Thank you!
I’m around and reading comments as I do Sunday chores.
@Cheryl from Maryland: That’s great! I was a Hardy Boys fan myself. Also Bobbsey Twins. Loved them.
@Tom Levenson: Robert MacFarlane is superb. Don’t miss The Old Ways, either, about old walking paths. For me, it surpasses spiritual texts as it is grounded in the very real world and in celebrating walking.
I grew up in a cash-poor, skill rich home. We didn’t own books, though we were regulars at the library. My next older sister, who didn’t talk much, would save her tiny allowance for books (I squandered mine at the candy counter, where I could get a nickel’s worth in a little white bag). She inhaled Trixie Belden and I followed her example.
I read Cherry Ames and didn’t realize they had the same author.
@Nelle: penny candy! there was a whole store for it right around the corner from me! i still remember the smell of the store walking in.
Don’t belittle the importance of escapism! I read, with great enjoyment, one of your earlier books and will read this one. Great cover, btw.
I have written several books suitable for BJ readers: Coyote’s Road Trip by Laura Koerber | Goodreads This is my current favorite of my books.
This one is a riff on Brett Kavanaugh only with a different ending: The Summer I Went Crazy by Laura Koerber | Goodreads
I am within a day or two of publishing a book that includes a murder. It’s a satire of life in a gated community. One of the characters buried her husband in her ppatch. The action kicks off when the Garden Club decides to reassign plots on a rotation.
Thank you for giving writers a chance to share.
@Nelle: Cool story – because I was kind of precocious at 8-ish. When I realized the authors on Trixie had changed, I wrote (I’m sure with the help of my mother) a letter to the publisher, just to inquire about the change. And Julie Campbell wrote me back, explaining the change!
My mom was not as wowed as I was, because in high school, for a school project, she wrote to Jackie Robinson and he wrote BACK!
Congratulations! Looking forward to reading this. I have a soft spot for books set in
Possibly for similar reasons, I grew up moving a lot , though as an oilfield rather than military brat
@wonkie: We only have one of your books in the Our Authors page (in the footer). You can have up to 3.
If you would like me to add anything, send me the info. (check out the footer so you know what info we need)
Also shoot me an email if you would like an Authors post for your new book.
@wonkie: Aaawww, thank you! I just put Coyote’s Road Trip in my Kindle queue, it sounds right up my alley.
Duck! Duck! I see the duck homage on the cover.
It sounds like a lovely book! Congratulations.
@Tom Levenson: Discovered Nero Wolfe when I was 22 and moved to NYC.
Both things worked out well.
Congratulations, TaMara! I grew up as an only child in the 50’s and we moved a lot also so I lost myself in reading Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew, Vickie Barr and The Bobbsey Twins. I also read “The Little Orange Books” which were biographies published for kids in the 50’s and 60’s. My favorites were Amelia Earhart, Jane Adams, Louisa May Alcott, and Juliette Gordon Lowe
ETA: I’m currently reading “The Dressmakers of Auschwitz”. Also, I’d be curious to know who here has read State of Terror by Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny? I could not put it down. My fear is she co-wrote it as another warning in the guise of fiction. There’s some scary stuff in there.
@Kathleen: We never moved once, and I still lost myself in reading all of the series you mentioned.
One of my favorite Medium Cool threads ever was the one where we talked about books we read as a kid.
@WaterGirl: Sorry I missed that one!
Cozy mystery! Bought it.
Not trying to get too hopeful, but I MIGHT have got book 5 of my Regency Mage series unstuck. Since Book 4 was published in 2019, this is a long dry spell!
Reading – lately I’ve been reading DE Stevenson. Someone in a Jane Austen group suggested that Austen fans might like Stevenson. Both wrote contemporary novels, but Stevenson’s period is pre- during and post-WWII. They’re not adventurous or swooningly romantic, though romances do happen. Just sort of slice of life in small villages. There are some silly people and unpleasant people, but no outright evil people. I find them soothing.
Here’s the post.
And here’s how it started.
My lips are sealed!
I have the best library – they post some great things. This from today, Shakespeare’s birthday AND death day.
J R in WV
Nero Wolfe / Rex Stout… great time pieces about Manhattan back when You could still find a parking spot on the streets. The history of NYC changes slowly as Archie and Nero deal with plants and recipes.
I have the vast majority of Rex Stout’s work on a shelf within arms reach of this laptop I’m talking to you with. Great work over decades. Amazing stuff. Totally not surprised to see other fans here…..
@WaterGirl: Thank you!
@JoyceH: I’m glad to hear another book in your series is coming sooner or later – I read the other Regency Mage books last month and enjoyed them very much!
@Kathleen: I am a big Louise Penny fan. Sometimes I wait to read the newest one, as if I want it to cure a bit first. What I am drawn to in Penny (and possibly H Clinton too) is an unflinching and realistic look at corruption and evil that some cultivate their dancing tune. And still, there is, in her writing, an insistence on the capacity and purpose to choose the good. It can be hard, it can be costly, but goodness exists.
Also, the steady belief an individual’s choice to change their path from destructive to creative. I believe that comes from Penny’s own struggle with alcohol.
@J R in WV: I was talking about Nero Wolfe stories the other day. An acquaintance and I got to yakking about orchids and I told him about Nero Wolfe’s passion for orchids, and his daily scheduled orchid time. Roy was a little familiar with Wolfe from the TV series some years back.
Wolfe was the classic “armchair detective.” He had a runner, Archie, and occasionally employed Saul Panzer, a seasoned investigator. Wolfe never left his Manhattan home, just received visitors and reports and pondered the mystery until he solved it.
@JeanneT: Being a ‘pantser’ is a bit of a roller-coaster. I’ve tried to convert to being a plotter, but never succeeded. The good news is that I know where I want to end up – now I just need to figure out how to get there!
Going to get it today🤗🤗
At many people’s recommendation, I’ve been enjoying the Thursday Murder Club series. I think TaMara’s new book will fit in well with that so I just purchased it for my Kindle. I just checked out Poverty, by America which I had on hold at the library so I’ll have to finish that first since it’s on a time frame.
I’ve recently read two Natalie Haynes books…Pandora’s Jar about women in Greek myth and A Thousand Ships, the Trojan War from the point of view of the women affected. Women Talking by Miriam Toews was also a recent, most excellent read.
ETA Congratulations TaMara, looking forward to your book!
Just got it on Kindle Unlimited. Looking forward to it.
Gene Wolfe wrote an all-robot Nero Wolfe mystery “The Rubber Bend” which is so wildly punnish I suspect the author was drunk.
The Mysterious Visitor was my first one too!
The book sounds great!
Just bought one!
We loved Anthony Horowitz’s Moonflower Murders. About to start The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which husband found in the attic.
Mine too. I talked my 4th-grade teacher into reading it aloud to the whole class; he balked at first but it turned out a huge success. I lost my copy when we moved but since I grew up I grab any secondhand Trixie wherever I find them.
TaMara, looking forward to reading your book!
@Tehanu: I had originals. Wish I still had them.
Late to the thread, just wanted to pop in and say, “this one sounds like fun!” I will have to order it
ETA: As for what I’m reading, just finished, speaking of mysteries, Margery Allingham’s The Tiger in the Smoke, which I really liked. The descriptions of just how dank and dreary and threatening London could look and feel back in the day before Britain’s version of the Clean Air Act came along was really riveting. Made me appreciate the Kinks song, “The Big Black Smoke” all the more.