Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to welcome Linda to Escape With Dollycas today!
Linda’s new book, Toasting Up Trouble was released yesterday.
ESCAPE WITH DOLLYCAS INTO A GOOD BOOK
By Linda Wiken
Yesterday was release day for my sixth book but actually, it’s the first book of my new series, the Dinner Club Mysteries. You’d think that with each book it becomes less of an ‘event’. But let me tell you, each time is like Christmas! It’s that exciting.
Now that I’m writing as my real self, rather than as Erika Chase, the Dinner Club Mysteries have given me an entirely new focus, food. Along with a healthy dose of murder, too. But I’ll let you in on a spoiler – poison is never the murder weapon. Why? Because the cookbooks I mention, the ones the members of the Culinary Capers Dinner Club use, are real cookbooks. You can find them on the shelves in your local bookstore, or at least on line.
The way it works, is the club meets monthly and as each of the five members hosts a dinner, it’s that person’s choice of cookbook. All dishes have to be out of that book. In Toasting Up Trouble, book number one, the evening is Italian themed. Wonder if you can guess which cookbook they’re using.
J.J. Tanner is my event planner, dinner club foodie, and super sleuth. She’s hooked on cookbooks with lots of pictures, and justice when murder happens. In this she’s ably aided by her club cohorts and a mysterious but very handsome and sexy private eye. Okay, maybe he’s not helping her so much as trying to keep her out of his way, and out of trouble.
The setting is Burlington, VT, in a fictitious village in the city’s North end, on the shores of beautiful Lake Champlain. I’ve had a lot of fun building this cozy location and filling it with some of my favorite kinds of shops. And, of course, many restaurants.
I enjoy spending time with J.J. – we have a lot in common seeing as we’re both cookbook junkies. And I am in awe of her determination to get at the truth. She’s quite a bit more spunky than I, braver in fact, and no pushover. Who says cozy chicks can’t save the world!
Toasting Up Trouble also includes some recipes. Again, no poison involved whatsoever!
Toasting Up Trouble (A Dinner Club Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Vermont
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (July 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Anne Wertheim
Cover Design by Katie Anderson
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B016VRFUA0
Event planner Jennifer “J.J.” Tanner has a full plate, but that’s the way she likes it. First, it’s her turn to choose the recipe for the next meeting of the Culinary Capers Dinner Club, a gathering of foodie friends who experiment with entrées for their creative and gastronomical pleasure. Second, she’s organizing an Italian princess party for the twenty-one-year-old daughter of a high-tech millionaire.
But one thing J.J. didn’t plan on is that the caterer for the event—hotshot chef Antonio Marcotti—would end up murdered the night of the party. Or that she’d end up being a prime suspect after having had a heated argument with the unscrupulous chef. Now it’s up to J.J.—with help from her fellow Club members and a handsome if mysterious private eye—to turn the tables on the real killer…
Jennifer “J.J.” Tanner works for her friend, Skye Drake, at Make It Happen, a party planning business. After the first caterer for a birthday party for the daughter of a high-tech millionaire backs out J.J. gets chef Antonio Marcotti to cater the affair. Things go well until he makes an unauthorized addition to the menu that could cost Make It Happen a lot of money. She confronts him about it and the matter is still not settled when she heads home. When she returns to the home the next day to clean up, there are police everywhere. She learns the esteemed chef never made it home. He is dead, murdered…and the police think J.J. killed him.
J.J. is a fine protagonist, independent, persistent, and gutsy. A girl after my own heart, buying cookbooks more for the beautiful pictures than for the recipes. Hoping to change that she joins the Culinary Capers Dinner Club. A group of people who have now become her friends. Each month they choose a cookbook and create a dinner with recipes from the book. They also are great helpers in her quest to find the real killer of Antonio Marcotti.
All the characters we meet fun and engaging, well except for the victim he was quite a “Divo”, the male version of a diva. J.J. is quite a sleuth, I enjoyed the way she talked her theories through, even with her police officer friend, Allison. Allison walks a fine line of “helping” J.J. while not releasing any confidential information. Private Investigator Ty Devine starts out tailing J.J. but soon they end up sharing information and almost working together. This relationship is just starting but it has a lot of potential.
There are two mysteries in this book, the murder of Antonio Marcotti and the investigation into who is stealing J.J.’s party ideas. She was working on a party plan with a client only to find out another party planner proposed the exact same idea, almost word for word. Skye was a little more helpful with the second investigation. She wasn’t too involved in the first, which was surprising to me. She did stay on top of things at Make It Happen so J.J. could leave to follow up on clues.
I enjoyed the introduction of the Culinary Capers Dinner Club. What a fantastic idea! I love that real cookbooks are used by the characters. This time J.J. chose Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes by Nigella Lawson. I just took a peek at the pages Amazon previews from this book and can see why it drew J.J. ‘s attention. Of course there are recipes in the back of the book too!
Linda Wiken is off to a fabulous start for this series! I want to get to know these characters better. I want to see what the author dreams up for them next. I hope this becomes a long running series because this first tasty treat was absolutely delicious.
About The Author
Linda Wiken is a former mystery bookstore owner and a short story writer. The first in her new Dinner Club Mystery series, TOASTING UP TROUBLE, debuts in July, 2016. In a parallel life writes the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries, as Erika Chase. She is a member of those dangerous dames, The Ladies’ Killing Circle. She has been short-listed for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and an Arthur Ellis Award, Best Short Story, from Crime Writers of Canada. She admits to a passion for choral singing, chocolate and Siamese cats!
Written as Erika Chase
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”