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Cozy Wednesday with Nell Hampton – Author of Lord of the Pies: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery #GuestPost /#Review / #Giveaway @crookedlanebks

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am excited to welcome Nell Hampton today!

London, British TV, and the Royals

London

I’ve been to London and it’s every bit as interesting as a Midwesterner could imagine. I found it fun and amazingly old. The museums and the parks and the bridges, I felt like I was breathing in the history. The neighborhoods with the Victorian mansions were as interesting as the palaces with their guards and glorious gardens. I went over Christmas which is not a busy time of year for the city. So many people leave to go spend the holidays with their families. The weather was supposed to be in the 50’s the entire time. So I thought I’ll bring a nice leather jacket and be okay. I’m from the Midwest, right? Well, it’s more damp there than I had imagined and that 50 degrees had me shivering.

I walked everywhere from Kensington Palace to Buckingham Palace to the Millennium Bridge which stretches across the river Thames. St. Paul’s cathedral is awesome. You can climb a staircase to the very top and look out over the city.

I can tell you if you don’t like crowds stay away from the Underground at rush hour. I squeezed inside a train so full that you could wear the shirt sleeves of the guy next to you. Then I went to Harrods’s Department store on Christmas eve when the people were four deep to any counter so there was no getting to see anything you might want to buy.

I wouldn’t want it any other way. It took a while to figure out if you wanted to eat at a pub you had to order food from the bar. They bring it around to the table, but they don’t come to the table and take your orders. I think I sat for an hour before figuring that out.

British TV

When you’re in London, there is so much to see that there is no time to watch British television. Then of course when you do catch a program it’s so different from US live television. It feels almost small town. But I love the programs. I watch Dr. Who, Father Brown, Downton Abbey, Midsomer Murders, Sherlock and so many more. The humor and mystery are wonderful and I’ve always been passionate about history and all that goes into the care of keeping of a manor home or palace so those stories are fun.

The Royals

I’ve been following the Royal family most of my life. My father was a huge reader and fan of monarchies. I studied the Royal histories in college as an elective. The idea of protocol and intrigue that followed the royals for centuries. Now they are a favorite soap opera. Who doesn’t love a royal wedding or pictures of the children? When I had this opportunity to write a cozy mystery set in a palace, I had to pick the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their growing family.

So I put all that knowledge and research and respect and imagination into Kale to the Queen followed by Lord of the Pies. I think where you set a cozy is as important as what the sleuth does for a living. Since we can’t all live in London, it’s fun to go there in the pages of a book.

Where is your dream place to visit? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Lord of the Pies.

Thank you, Nell, for visiting today!

Lord of the Pies: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Kensington, England
Crooked Lane Books (April 10, 2018)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315599
Kindle ASIN: B074MCJB5D

When Carrie Ann Cole bakes a lemon meringue pie to die for that actually kills someone, she must find out who the real killer is before her time at the Kensington Palace expires.

The elegant Orangery at Kensington Palace is the perfect setting for the bridal shower of Carrie Ann Cole’s best friend’s sister. Personal chef to the royal family, Carrie Ann’s pie theme is naturally winning. But a waiter later keels over dead into the lemon meringue pie she leaves as a thank-you to the staff and Carrie Ann realizes that somebody slipped a mickey into that meringue.

Her floury fingerprints are all over that pie and the authorities suspect her distress is a cover-up for murder. Carrie Ann must set out to clear her name if she wants to stay at her dream job any longer. But all too soon, another body drops in the Orangery. This time, it’s the Orangery chef.

Murder won’t crimp her style, and as bodies pile up, Carrie Ann uncovers palace intrigue, London nightlife, and British pies scouring for the killer.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Pies! Pies! Pies! Carrie Ann Cole is baking pies for a bridal shower to be held in the Orangery at the palace. She has one pie left over and leaves it for the chef usually in charge of the Orangery. When a waiter is found dead with his face in her pie she knows someone tampered with it. All the evidence points to Carrie Anne and when another chef is murdered she realizes it is up to her to find the real killer before she loses her dream of being the chef for the Duke and Duchess and their wonderful family.

Carrie Ann Cole is an American chef in charge of one of the palace’s four kitchens. Her kitchen prepares meals and teas for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She also is asked to do the food for events her royals host like the bridal shower in this story. In addition to her normal duties, she has been asked to participate in a televised cooking competition for charity. After that event concludes several people on one of the other teams get sick and again Carrie Ann is a suspect. She does have two men watching out of her, the kitchen gardener and the palace’s chief of security. She also has a new assistant that is determined to help her clear her name.

All of Ms. Hampton’s characters leap off the pages. Carrie Ann is getting comfortable in her new position but is worried about being terminated with all these dead bodies that just seem to pile up around her. She is starting a romantic relationship with Jasper, the gardener but there is also romantic vibes between Carrie and Ian, the security chief. I also liked the way she and her new assistant got along and her friend that tries to show Carrie Ann some of the area’s nightlife.

There is never a dull moment at the palace or in Carrie Ann’s life. The story has a fast pace, the pages on my Kindle where flying. Twists and turns, peeping Tom’s, a cheating chef, a cranky chef, murders, secrets and lies and or so many pies held my attention from word one. Cleverly written, Nell Hampton gives readers a mystery we can sink our teeth into. An inside look at palace life is just the meringue on the top of the pie.

Readers of Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef Mysteries will love these characters and their story. I recommend this book/series to all cozy mystery fans!

Your Great Escapes Travel Agent

About the Author

An avid foodie and writer, Nell Hampton decided to finally combine her two loves. She lives in Richmond, VA. This is her first mystery. But you may also know her as Nancy J. Parra or Nancy Coco. Check out her webpage here. 


Written as Nancy Coco

Written as Nancy J. Parra

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!

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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.”

Posted in Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Reviews 2017 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Early Review – Kale to the Queen by Nell Hampton


Kale to the Queen: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Brand New Series
Setting – United Kingdom
Crooked Lane Books (April 11, 2017)
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683311041
Kindle ASIN: B01N9PWJZD

 

 

Chef Carrie Ann Cole is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime–an assignment as the new Personal Chef to the Royal Family at Kensington Palace. But no sooner has Carrie Ann touched down across the pond and donned her apron than a dead body crops up beneath the royal kale beds.

With one assistant dead and the other soon under suspicion for his murder, Carrie Ann is scrambling to keep her kitchen up and running. Not to mention she gets off to an immediate bad start with the tempestuous Royal Chef Butterbottom, who has a bitter taste in his mouth since the prestigious position in the Royal Family’s kitchen was given to an “over-privileged, under-educated American chef.”

But the Royal Family’s appetites wait for no one, and Carrie Ann must solve the murder and still get supper on the table on time–even with the annoyingly handsome Head of Security Ian Gordon tracking her every move like an MI6 agent. Suspects abound as an American chef adds a bit of spice to the traditional royal household in the first in Nell Hampton’s charming and tasty Kensington Palace Chef Mystery series, Kale to the Queen.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A fun debut for this series. It reminds me of Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef Mysteries.

Nell Hampton takes us behind the scenes of Kensington Palace as Chef Carrie Ann Cole leaves the U.S. to become the personal family chef for the Prince, Princess and their 2 children. She leaves her boyfriend of 6 years back in the States as they take a break so she call follow her dream. She hits the ground running preparing her first meal for the family soon after arriving at the palace. Then the next morning she finds one of her assistants dead and the other one is quickly arrested as the killer. What has she gotten herself into? She didn’t know her assistants well but she just can’t fathom that one would kill the other. So in addition to serving spectacular meals to her Royal Family, she now is trying to find a murderer.  Head of Security Ian Gordon is not happy with her chopping her way into the case. His job is too keep everyone in the palace safe, including her, and she is making his job very difficult.

I liked Carrie Anne immediately. At first I thought she was going to in over her head with this important job, but as soon as she got into her kitchen she was in control. The other chef in the palace, Royal Chef Butterbottom, dislikes her immediately, first because he thinks he should be the only chef and second because she is an American. He has his own kitchen and takes care of the events and dinners at the palace. Carrie Anne cooks for the family. Due to circumstances beyond their control is becomes impossible to avoid each other. This adds a little unexpected drama to the story. The author introduces several other members of the palace staff. The Royal Family stays pretty much in the background.

The palace itself and the area surrounding it are new to Carrie Anne, so the reader gets to follow along with her as she learns all the floors, rooms, hallways and even some local pubs. She also takes “the tube” to get to the markets and interesting other places. The descriptions are stellar, even telling us what a trek it is to use the stairway instead the elevator when reaching her stop in the city. The kitchens, Carrie Anne’s suite, and traveling to and from are all written in a way that makes us feel like we are there or maybe a fly on the wall.

The mystery is so well plotted. Everything is new to our chef. She really knows no one, who can she trust and who would even listen to her ideas? Ian Gordon, the Head of Security, seems friendly enough but will he just humor her or take her seriously? The story progresses at a nice pace and Carrie Anne makes some questionable decisions. She really surprised me the way she didn’t hold back, she was going to find the truth no matter what.

This series is off to a fantastic start. Chef Carrie Ann Cole evolved ten fold from the first page to the last with just a couple of moments of doubt in between. I am very excited to see where the author takes us in future stories. The core characters have my attention. I can’t wait for my next visit across the pond.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

An avid foodie and writer, Nell Hampton decided to finally combine her two loves. She lives in Richmond, VA. This is her first mystery. But you may also know her as Nancy J. Parra or Nancy Coco. Check out her webpage here. 


Written as Nancy Coco

Written as Nancy J. Parra

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.”