It is not easy to interview a writer of murder mysteries without giving away too many details, but when an author not only manages to create a full and complex cast of characters but also sweetens the deal with recipes for everything from cakes to zucchini dip (given in detail at the end of the book), that helps. G. P. Gottlieb does both in Battered (D. X. Varos, 2019), the first of her Whipped and Sipped Mystery series, set in present-day Chicago.
Since divorcing her husband eight years ago, Alene Baron has owned a neighborhood café specializing in healthy but tasty breakfasts, lunches, and nonalcoholic drinks. Managing the business is a full-time job, and the staff ranges from Alene’s closest friend to relatives of the former owner who have been grandfathered in despite their troubled lives and work histories. With three children and an elderly father to support while counteracting the influence of her irresponsible ex-husband, Alene has her hands full.
When one of the residents of her apartment block winds up dead, Alene takes it personally. The detective assigned to the case has an appealing way about him, although he discourages Alene when she seeks to do more than provide information. He urges her to leave the investigation in his hands, but Alene is not sure she can. After all, she has known most of the suspects for years, and as the chase continues, she begins to fear that she and her family may be the next targets on the killer’s list.
G. P. Gottlieb hosts New Books in Literature, a podcast channel in the New Books Network. Battered is her debut novel. Listen to us chat about her characters, writing, and the source of her recipes (but don’t tell the children there are chickpeas hidden in the brownies).
C. P. Lesley is the author of nine novels, including Legends of the Five Directions (The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, The Swan Princess, The Vermilion Bird, and The Shattered Drum), a historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible, and Song of the Siren, published in 2019. Find out more about her at http://www.cplesley.com.