Apr 212016
 

a clue in the stew
A Clue in the Stew (A Soup Lover’s Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Vermont
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery (April 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Cover Illustration by Cathy Gendron
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425273128
E-Book ASIN: B011IVPB9Y
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Soup shop owner Lucky Jamieson stirs up more trouble in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Ladle to the Grave

When Lucky Jamieson opens up By the Spoonful to host an event with a famous author, she’s not expecting a bunch of nuts to descend on her small-town soup shop. But the author’s exasperating entourage—from a prickly publicist to a snippy son and his tipsy wife—give fresh meaning to the phrase, too many cooks spoil the broth.

The evening is more than spoiled, however, when it ends with a homicide. When the manner of the murder—as well as another recent unsolved crime—echoes the author’s fiction, Police Chief Nate Edgerton realizes he has a copycat killer on his hands. And Lucky hopes that one of her regular customers who has mysteriously gone missing isn’t involved. Once again, the soup shop owner will need to stir up some clues to find her friend and catch a cunning killer—before things really take a tureen for the worse…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a stew Lucky finds herself in the middle of this time.

The quiet little town of Snowflake, Vermont is all atwitter. A famous author, Hilary Stone, is coming to town and a big signing event is being planned. The original venue has been hit with a leaky roof so By the Spoonful has been asked to host the event. When the author’s people show up Lucky realizes she may have bite off more than she can chew. But the night goes well even though it ended before everyone was able to meet the author and get their book signed.

By the next morning Police Chief Nate Edgerton has 2 murders to solve. Hilary Stone was found dead in her room and other woman was found in the woods, killed in the same manner. Eerily the same way as Hilary wrote about in her book. When one of the By the Spoonful regulars goes missing Lucky wonders if he is involved or another victim. Could a disgruntled fan be the killer? With a little help from her friends and much to Nate’s dismay Lucky finds herself mixed up in another investigation.

The author drew me into this story right away. I felt like I had pulled up a chair in By The Spoonful, ordered soup and and a sandwich, and stayed for a show. Everything was so easy to visualize, I could almost smell the Tomato Pepper Soup. (recipe in the book)

These characters are some of my favorites, they are so relate-able. The relationship Lucky has with her grandfather always warms my heart but in this story that relationship could be ripped apart when a new waitress sets her sights on Jack. She had my blood boiling so it is easy to imagine what Lucky was feeling. Sage and Sophie are adjusting to their life together and both are such good friends to Lucky.  Meg is felling overwhelmed being the only waitress and gives Lucky an ultimatum. In addition to the new waitress we also meet Hilary Stone for a very short time and her entourage. The Big City people weren’t too impressed with the small town of Snowflake.

Connie Archer has whipped up a fabulous mystery. Small town life and all its trial and tribulation with plenty of skillful plot twists.  When everything revealed I was totally surprised.

My favorite thing in the story was the Murder Investigation Club. Lucky, her friends and regulars banded together to try to figure out whodunit. They talked about the suspects and their theories of motive and opportunity. They helped Lucky by being a great sounding board too. I hope the club gets together in future stories.

I love this series and this is an excellent addition. I look forward to visiting again soon!

 perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To find out more about Connie and her books visit her webpage here

GIVEAWAYThanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 5,, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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.”

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Apr 112015
 

special guest blue
My apologies to Connie Archer. I missed the day she was originally supposed to be here. I am thrilled to welcome here today!

Connie.Archer.2

Ladle to the Grave

When a local woman is poisoned at a pagan ritual in the woods, Lucky Jamieson’s grandfather, Jack, who provided the herbs for the gathering, is suspected of making a terrible mistake. The following day, a dead man is found floating in a creek just outside of town, his face unrecognizable. Is he a stranger or Lucky’s best friend’s estranged brother? Lucky is certain both deaths are murder. Can she find the connection and clear her grandfather’s name before more victims fall prey to a killer?

Crime fiction comes in many different packages – hard-boiled, noir, police procedural, thriller, cozy, even humorous. And fans of crime fiction are truly devoted fans who enjoy nothing else. I include myself in this category. I couldn’t imagine reading a book without one or more bodies. Oh, I admit I occasionally pick up a non-fiction book, but generally it’s crime-related non-fiction.

I’ve been asked a few times if I write anything else. I never know what to say because if that anything else means a story that doesn’t involve suspense, mystery, thrills and dead bodies – the answer is no. I’ve never even given it a thought. But that got me to thinking . . . why is that? Do I (and other crime fiction authors) have darkly suspicious minds that perceive something nefarious in the most innocent of situations? That could be. Yes, I’ll admit to that. Is it the puzzle of unraveling clues that fascinates us? Or the curiosity of following a police investigation and finally watching light dawn (figuratively) in the detective’s eyes. Yes, there’s that too.

LadleOr is it a desire for justice? Possibly. Maybe. Although I have noticed in reading foreign (non-U.S.) authors the same imperative to tie up every story in a nice neat bow doesn’t exist quite as much. Perhaps, I’ve thought, it’s only Americans who want everything nicely nailed down at the end.

Years ago, I read what the Italians call a gialli. So named, because giallo, the word for yellow, is the color publishers use for popular crime fiction. The Thursdays of Senora Giulia (I Giovedi della Senora Julia) is a crime story in which the fictional Senora Giulia disappears. I struggled with the advanced vocabulary but couldn’t wait to finish the story. I reached the final chapters only to discover the murderer was not only not brought to justice, but was not even revealed. I was extremely upset. I asked my teacher WHY???? Why write the book and not solve the crime? He said, “Allora, (I’m translating here) Who do you think killed her?” (I’ll spare you, dear reader, the following discussion about past participles having to agree with the gender of the victim). I was convinced Senora Giulia was killed by her ne’er do well son-in-law, but of course I wasn’t allowed to investigate. And I imagine my teacher’s comment implied that the end result was not as important as the exploration of possibilities. It was very frustrating! So, no, I can’t even say unequivocally that the fascination with crime fiction is a desire for justice or for order in our chaotic andviolent world.

Now, I’m not such a great fan of serial killer stories. I enjoy reading about the investigation, I enjoy the attempt to infiltrate the mind of the killer, but after all, serial killers are just plain bonkers. Maybe there’s a reason for their behavior, but it’s not nearly as interesting as the psychological underpinnings of the average person who is driven to commit that most heinous of crimes. The kind of person who’s spoken of (after the act) by neighbors and friends as “Such a nice man . . . who would have thought?”

What neuronal or emotional pathways have become twisted in the mind of a killer provoking him or her to that final desperate act? And what is the connection between the victim and the killer? As any cop will tell you, an investigation starts with the victim – because therein lies the solution.

So, no, I have to admit. Literary fiction isn’t nearly as interesting — not if there aren’t any bodies when all is said and done. Whether it’s the puzzle of a cozy, the hunt for a serial killer, or a desire for order in a chaotic world, I have no answers. I just know I love to read it and I love to write it.

~Connie

About This Author

Connie Archer is the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.

A Spoonful of Murder, A Broth of Betrayal, A Roux of Revenge, and Ladle to the Grave,  are set in the imaginary village of Snowflake, Vermont.

Links:

Website: www.conniearchermysteries.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/ConnieArcherMysteries

Twitter: @SnowflakeVT

LadleLadle to the Grave
(A Soup Lover’s Mystery)

4th in Series
Cozy Mystery
Setting – Vermont
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (March 3, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Cathy Gendron
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425273111
E-Book ISBN-13: 978-0425273111
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By the Spoonful is Snowflake, Vermont’s most popular soup shop, but owner Lucky Jamieson doesn’t have any time to enjoy her success—she’s too busy trying to keep a lid on false accusations against her loved ones…

It’s almost May, and some of the local ladies have organized a pagan celebration in the woods to welcome spring. But the evening goes terribly wrong when one of the attendees winds up dead, apparently poisoned by an herbal concoction prepared by Lucky’s grandfather, Jack.

Lucky’s sure her grandfather could not have made such a tragic mistake. But before she can clear him of suspicion, her best friend, Sophie, is diverted from planning her wedding to By the Spoonful chef Sage DuBois when she finds a dead man floating in the creek on her property. Now it’s up to Lucky to get both Sophie and Jack out of hot water before a killer stirs up more trouble…

Recipes included!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Another tasty mystery from Connie Archer.

Snowflake Vermont is a small town where everyone knows everyone and most likely everybody knows your business too.

First Sage and Sophie are trying to plan a small wedding but the whole town seems to plan on attending, well not everyone, but definitely more than the couple had originally planned. Then we end up with not just one body but two. A group of ladies decide to welcome Spring in a whole new way. The fun quickly comes to a halt when one of the women falls over dead after drinking some special brew. The concoction was enhanced by herbs Lucky’s grandfather, Jack, had gathered, which lands him in the soup. Then the next body is found in some chilly water. Sophie finds a man in a bubbling brook on the property where she grew up. She also learns that property may hold other secrets as the neighboring Ski Resort wants to pay big bucks to buy it.

This was one of those stories that once you started reading you just couldn’t stop. I really felt bad for Jack. He was really questioning himself. Did he make a mistake and pick something that killed someone? I liked the large part Sage and Sophie played in this story. It was great to get to know more about each of them and their relationship. As always I love checking in on the the recurring characters that drop in at By The Spoonful.

Archer has given us two mysteries to solve and she weaves them together throughout the entire story. Readers follow the clues right along with Lucky, a spoonful at a time. The characters remind me so much of the people that used to drop by my mother’s restaurant. I have a picture of each of them in my mind.

Same time, next year, Connie. My next trip to Snowflake is all planned.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Following the new Google+ Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book Fan Page
will earn you 3 Bonus Entries.

Leave a comment for Connie for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End April 25, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

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.”

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Apr 172013
 

cozy wednesdayWelcome To Cozy Wednesday!

I am really excited to welcome Connie Archer,
author of Soup Lover’s Mysteries,
to Escape With Dollycas.

Chasing Fairies

Connie.Archer.XXThe creative process – Everyone talks about it. Everyone seems to have an idea about what it is, how it works and how best to make it happen — how to capture it and ride that wave. Is it a matter of shutting off our conscious mind – the part of us that pays attention to whether the gas bill was paid or if we have enough coffee in the cupboard to last the week? A matter of allowing our imaginations free rein to connect with all those alternate souls who inhabit the theater gallery of our mind? And for mystery or crime writers what is it that compels us to move into the darkness, the pathology of a killer’s mind, to dwell on the unimaginable?

Maybe we’re all just a little bit weirder than most people.

I admit – I have a suspicious mind. And maybe that’s an essential thing for a mystery writer. I’ve never been able to take things or people at face value. I want to know all about the man who jumped off the bridge. I want to know what made him tick. What did he do for a living? Was he married? Children? What forces led him to that act?

fairyI used to be very good at ignoring my instincts, my first impressions, but as time went by, I learned to pay attention – to listen to the atmospheres around me, the crackling of ionization in the air. Eventually I accepted and trusted my gut reactions. Our society admonishes us to be polite, politically correct, do the right thing, not think badly of others, and slowly but surely we’re trained to dismiss our first instinctive reaction. That person I just met – why did I have that instantaneous feeling? Did I sense an immediate bond? Or did he (or she) make my skin crawl? And why? Could that lovely polite man who runs a shop in my neighborhood have a secret practice? Is he hiding something from his past? Suspicions about a neighbor who comes and goes at odd times of the night — why was he digging for hours in his back yard? I haven’t noticed any new bushes or petunias lately. And who knows if his wife really did leave on that trip?

spoonful of murderThe more normal and everyday someone appears, the more my brain goes into overdrive. I just don’t believe it. Nobody can be that ordinary – they must be hiding something.

But for a writer, how does a story take shape? Do we sit at the keyboard and await inspiration? Hoping to be bonked on the head by the fairy wand of our muse? Waiting to be hit by the lightning bolt of brilliance? Or do we ferret out some tiny little thing that’s been haunting us for a while – a snippet of a story read on the web? Some small event that eats away at us until it emerges full blown into a story idea? The “what if” of a neighbor whose daily routine suddenly changes, the “what if” the witness to a crime was really the perpetrator?

What is that alchemy that takes place when thoughts, feelings, or free-floating ideas converge into a plot? As I was finishing the last revisions of A Spoonful of Murder, the first book in the soup shop series, I was terribly anxious to complete the project. I was convinced that somehow, some way, huge hunks of the story line of the next book in the series, A Broth of Betrayal, were plunking themselves down in my overworked gray cells. The plot and story were forming in my head. I was fearful I might lose what was coming through, like a dream that evaporates like a whiff of smoke upon wakening.

brothAnd, like an idiot, I was sure that when I started to plan and plot the third book the same thing would happen. It didn’t. I waited. Nothing. No fairy sparkles were meshed in my hair. What was I going to do? How could I come up with a story? I had a deadline for heaven’s sake! And nothing, absolutely nothing was running around in my brain.

Then it happened. A couple of things popped into my consciousness. Well, actually one thing. It was a story that caught my eye when I clicked open my email. A news article about eleven Romanian gypsies arrested at the Canadian border. That was the lead in. I double-clicked on the story, fascinated at the juxtaposition of a Canadian Mountie (not sure if the Canada Border Patrol is manned by Mounties) clashing with a brightly painted caravan of fortune tellers in long skirts and scarves toting crystal balls. I’m sure the reality looked nothing like that. The eleven Romanians were probably traveling in four muscle cars and creeping along a fire road that would take them eventually to the U.S. But I was still fascinated. What were Romanian gypsies doing in Canada, attempting to illegally enter the U.S.?

The second thing that had been hanging around in my consciousness even though I was only dimly aware of it was the sound of a song sung in Gaelic and played by a woman with a stand up bass and a bow. It followed me around. It was haunting and beautiful and in its strange language, the melody of the music sent shivers up my spine. It would not leave me alone.

And that was the kernel of the beginning of the third book in the soup shop series, now entitled A Roux of Revenge.

Do I have any answers about the creative process? No, I don’t think so. I have absolutely no idea what it is or how it happens. Maybe the secret is to just listen to the unspoken sounds around you, to listen to the spaces between the notes.

~Connie

About This Author

Connie Archer is the national bestselling author of A Spoonful of Murder, the first in the soup lover’s mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.  A Broth of Betrayal was released on April 2, 2013.  Connie was born and raised in New England.  She now lives on the other coast.

Visit her website and blog at http://www.conniearchermysteries.com

 and at


broth

A Broth of Betrayal
(A Soup Lover’s Mystery)

2nd in Series
Cozy Mystery
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Cathy Gendron
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252086
E-Book File Size: 999 KB
ASIN: B009KUY95I

A Broth of Betrayal

Even a town called Snowflake, Vermont, has a summer season. In August, Lucky Jamieson’s By the Spoonful serves chilled soups—celery and green onion, cream of asparagus—and salads. The shop also serves as a gathering place to talk about cold-blooded murder…

Snowflake, Vermont is picturesque town frequented by tourists from the nearby Snowflake Ski Resort during the winter season. Off season it is home to year round residents, many who own businesses supported by the tourists. But there is a new business trying to open and none of the residents are happy. An ugly car wash has been approved by the town council and the people are protesting with a march in front of the site. Then all of the sudden the digging stops, it seems they have uncovered a skeleton that may date back to the Revolutionary War.

The town is then shaken by two more discoveries.  Local mechanic, Harry Hodges, has been found dead in his shop and the mayor of the town, Lucky’s friend, Elizabeth has gone missing.  Lucky plans to use her noodle to find her friend and the killer no matter how much trouble she stirs up.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This book is full of wonderful mysteries, a skeleton discovered, a missing person, and a murder. The pages flew by.

Archer has created such lively characters. Lucky is a strong protagonist who doesn’t mind finding herself “in the soup” as she tries to save her friend or catch a killer. Her romance with her middle school crush, Dr. Elias Scott is progressing nicely. My favorite character is Lucky’s grandfather Jack, a retired Navy man who still tells time according to bells.  He is devoted to his granddaughter and truly her right arm as she runs the business left to her by her parents.

I found the historical element in this story very interesting. Bodies hastily buried during the Revolutionary War being found today like this one can have a very eventful story when researched. The reenactment of The Battle of Bennington was a great way to tie this element together in this town to with a sultry summer activity.

I was also intrigued by the story that evolves as historic towns try to stay true to the historic quality and feeling as modern needs try to fit in. The car wash may have not been so bad with a few architectural elements to help in blend in with the surrounding businesses.

After reading the first book in this series, A Spoonful of Murder, I knew the author had a “souper” idea for her cozy series and that her stories would be filled with drama. She exceeded my expectations with this installment. I liked it even better than the last. She gives us a taste of the next story, A Roux of Revenge, and she has definitely whetted by appetite for more. My next visit to Snowflake cannot come soon enough!

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Connie for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 1, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

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.”

readalattechallenge_zps01d248d02013where are you reading

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Aug 302012
 

A Spoonful of Murder
(A Soup Lover’s Mystery)

Brand New Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (August 7, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cozy Mystery
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages ISBN-13: 978-0425251478
Cover Illustration by Cathy Gendron
Cover Design by Diana Kolsky

A Spoonful of Murder

Welcome to Snowflake, Vermont. Tourists arrive to hit the slopes and stop into By The Spoonful for a nice hot bowl of soup and a sandwich.

Lucky is forced to return from Wisconsin when she inherits the restaurant after an accident claims both her parents. She has a lot of decisions to make about her Grandfather who seems to be developing Alzheimer’s, the restaurant, and basically her future.

When a blonde tourist is found behind dead and frozen behind the soup shop and her chef is the number one suspect Lucky needs to re-prioritize. She takes stock of the situation and decides to save her employee and her business she is going to find out “who iced the tourist and landed her chef in the soup, ” being careful not become the next victim du jour.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

What a “Souper” idea for a cozy mystery series!

Lucky seems to have a very bad run of luck at the moment. While still grieving for her parents and trying to keep the restaurant open, her rock, her grandfather starts to have memory issues. Add to that a murder right behind their shop. Her soup bowl is running over.

With all this drama the author has set a great foundation for this series. We have met the star and recurring characters and they have been left with plenty of room to grow. The setting is ideal. Plenty of tourists to cause plenty of trouble.

This story touched my heart in a couple of ways. Her grandpa Jack reminded me so much of own grandpa. But it was the soup shop that felt like home. My parents owned a cafe in our small town while I was growing up. Many of the staff were family and those that weren’t were quickly adopted in. My parents also helped out those that couldn’t pay get a hot meal, just like Lucky’s parents. The restaurant was their life. They would have stepped up for anyone exactly the way Lucky did for Sage. I thank the author for reigniting some wonderful memories.

The culinary cozies always give me the same problem. I get so hungry while reading them 🙂 The author has included some recipes for us to try as we wait for A Broth of Betrayal that will hit stores April 2, 2013.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find Out More About Connie Archer Visit Her Webpage Here.

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.”

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