The ExPat Returneth

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Baking a Christmas Mystery, Anne K. Albert #bookgiveaway



My guest today is Anne K. Albert. Anne’s award winning mystery and romantic suspense stories chill the spine, warm the heart and soothe the soul…all with a delightful touch of humor. When not at the keyboard she loves to travel, walk on a beach, visit friends and family, and of course, read using ‘Threegio’ her beloved and much cherished Kindle 3G. She can be found online at FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInGoodreadsPinterestAmazon and her blog. 

 Thanks for featuring me today, Larissa. You requested a food related post, and that fits perfectly with Frank, Incense and Muriel

The story takes place the week before Christmas when the stress of the holidays is enough to frazzle anyone’s nerves. Tensions increase when a friend begs Muriel to team up with a sexy private investigator to find a missing woman. Forced to deal with an embezzler, kidnapper, and femme fatale is bad enough, but add Muriel’s zany yet loveable family to the mix and their desire to win the coveted D-DAY (Death Defying Act of the Year) Award, and the situation can only get worse.

It does get worse, of course, when Muriel’s aunt decides to bake sugary treats based on the twelve days of Christmas. Here’s what happens when she and Frankie first meet in Muriel’s kitchen. She studies him over the brim of her coffee mug.

“Do I know you?”

I joined them at the table and made the necessary introductions. I left out the part about Frankie being my childhood nemesis and my aunt being one of the many black sheep in the family. Some things are best left unsaid.

“Salerno, huh?” Val pried the lid off the Santa container and offered us each a mincemeat tart.

Eager to try one, I readily accepted and carefully removed the turtledoves from their nest. I placed them on the paper napkin beside my mug, took one bite, and moaned.

“Omigosh,” I said. “These are amazing. Val, you’ve outdone yourself.”

Grinning from ear to ear, she held the tin under Frankie’s nose. “Are you any relation to the Salerno who handled the Brickman fiasco a few years back?”

“That was my first case.” He…helped himself to a tart and following my example removed the turtledoves and placed them on his napkin. He sunk his teeth into the tart and I watched spellbound as a look of utter satisfaction spread across his face. He caught my gaze and I realized that at least we agreed on one thing. My aunt sure could cook.

“I never liked that guy,” Val said. “What was his name? Logan? Locust?”

“Lucas,” Frankie replied.

“Whatever.” She took a bite. I watched in horror as the tiny head of one of the turtledoves disappeared inside her right nostril.

“He was far too polite for my liking,” she said, her voice an octave higher than normal. “It wasn’t natural.”

I breathed a sigh of relief when the turtledove freed itself and plummeted head first into her mug. Coffee sloshed over the rim and onto the table like a mini tsunami.

Never one to mince words, Val later points her finger at Frankie and asks if he came to the house to ask Muriel out on a date, but once again the conversation turns to food.

“I’m doing a culinary version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Only I’m fast-forwarding it into six days because of time restraints. Today is day one and two. Tomorrow day three and four. I’ll make lemon bars and cut them into the shape of French hens. But they’re really, really small, so three should equal one serving. That translates into Three French Hens! Get it?”

“Got it. What’s D-Day–?”

She cut him off. “There’s only one problem. I have no idea what to do for Four Calling Birds. Any suggestions?”

To my amazement, Frankie actually seemed to think about it.

“Hey!” I rapped my knuckles on the table so hard I feared I’d be bruised by noon. “Can we get back to the business at hand?”

Above the rim of his mincemeat tart--I might have lost count of how many he’d eaten if not for the gaggle of turtledoves heaped on his napkin--Frankie stared at me as if every taste bud in my head had suddenly vanished.

The grim look on my aunt’s face wasn’t much better. I felt like a gastronomic Grinch.

Baking, Christmas and a good mystery seem like a natural fit to me, Larissa. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to chat about it! Readers can enter my giveaway contest. Up for grabs is an e-copy of FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL. Leave a comment and you're automatically entered. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on my blog on December 11, 2012. Good luck!

Thanks Anne!

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for coming on the blog, Anne! Your book sounds funny and yummy! Love the title and that was a great excerpt!

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    1. Thank you, Larissa. I think we have a similar taste in books, and possibly food as well!

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  2. And another wonderful excerpt! This is a perfect Christmas mystery.

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    1. Much appreciated, Marilyn. One of the infuriating things about the holiday season is people usually get so stressed out, but in fiction that angst just adds to the conflict and fun!

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  3. I love Christmas mysteries, Anne and this one sounds fun! Congrats, good luck and have a Merry Christmas!

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  4. One of my favorite books you have written. Thanks for setting up tour learning lots.

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    1. Oh, Jake. I do it because I get to hang out with incredible people who have SO much talent and make me smile and offer truck loads of encouragement...how could I not do it. And thank you for the kind words about FIM. It makes all the solitude of being a writer worthwhile!

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  5. I enjoyed the excerpt as well as the book. No wonder it's an award-winner.

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    1. I honestly have to pinch myself sometimes, Jean! I'm truly blessed. :)

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  6. Loved your phrase, Anne--gastronomic Grinch. (also loved the whole book of course!)

    Madeline

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    1. It took me quite awhile to realize I could put my quirky sense of humor onto the page, Mad.

      I'm not sure why, but I never saw myself as a funny person. And I certainly never imagined I had what it took to be a writer let alone one that could make readers laugh.

      The truth of the matter is I'm fortunate to have this incredible friend who basically hit me over the head and said, "You're funny!" She even went so far as to call me a "hoot"!

      She's the reason I gave writing humor a go. I had faith in her assessment of me, and sometimes that's all we ever truly need...a friend who tells it like it is!

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  7. Anne,
    Your excerpt was a wonderful example of the humor in "Frank, Incense and Muriel." Loved the book!

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    1. Oh, Pat. What can I say? What doesn't kill us makes us stronger and I think comedians have this survival instinct to make themselves and others laugh...because the only other option is crying. And who wants to do that?!

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  8. LOL I'd forgotten about the treats. I, too, loved this book.
    Marja McGraw

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    1. The weird thing is, Marja, I can see all of Val's creations in my head. I can taste them, smell them, see them on the plate.

      What's also strange is I know how important they are to her. She puts her entire self into these baked treats because she wants what is best for her family.

      Like so many incredible matriarchs, Val knows what's important!

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  9. Great post. I too loved the gastronomic Grinch. What a great alliteration!
    Wendy

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    1. Thanks, Wendy! While writing that, I visualized Muriel turning green, her heart shrinking a size too small and her tastebuds withering. Funny how one's imagination works sometimes!

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