“It was almost dawn. A bird started to call from the church roof, and Tara could see the outlines of her apartment buildings opposite the road. It seemed like the beginning of just another day, but she had crossed a bridge that had collapsed after her. She sat spent, her tears dried up. She had to go back home, to her broken life; she had nowhere else to go. She pulled herself up and walked slowly out of the church compound. Her head throbbed with dull pain; the events of the night had triggered a migraine attack.”
“Wearing the brooch was a risk, but surely no one would recognize it. Audrey Thorpe lingered by the wall in the lobby of Savannah’s Jepson Center for the Arts. Witers circulated with trys of champagne and bite-sied crab cakes while the museum’s donors mingled and congratulated themselves on another fine exhibition. Audrey leaned against a linen-skirted table for support and returned a friend’s wave across the crowd. At her age, the room’s pale stone floor was almost as treacherous as an ice rink.”
Gottlieb sets the stage beautifully for readers and with providing the list of characters in the beginning, you have your own little cheat sheet of sorts. And with all the twists and turns in Smothered you will be grateful to have the list so that you can keep track of everyone and check off those you believe are innocent. However when the real killer is revealed I’m sure you will be as shocked as I was because I’m certain they weren’t even on your radar.
In 2019, Battered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery, my debut novel, was released into the world. It’s a cozy, culinary mystery, the kind without graphic violence, sex, or anything that would keep a reader up at night. It’s set in an imaginary Chicago café, the warm, friendly kind that plays a great 70’s song list and always smells like freshly-baked apple-cinnamon rolls.
This is the 87th entry in The Rap Sheet’s “Story Behind the Story” series. Today’s essay comes from Chicago resident G.P. “Galit” Gottlieb, who says she “has worked as a musician, a teacher, and an administrator,” but is “happiest when writing recipe-laced murder mysteries,” such as her brand-new novel, Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery (D. X. Varos).
This wouldn’t be a culinary cozy if we didn’t get recipes. Since Alene’s café is vegan the recipes are slightly different than you might see in a normal culinary cozy, but the food in this book still sounds mouthwatering.