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Hello Readers,

What have you been up to this summer?   I have been social distancing by staying glued to my computer.  I polished my suspense, the third Aspen Adams novel.  I’m waiting to hear back from my publisher regarding the release date and the title -- I gave him a lot of options.   When I know, you’ll know.   And then I wrote the outline for the 10th Cookbook Nook Mystery, Wining and Dying.  I can’t wait to get started on that.  But first I need to write another outline.

For those of you who don’t know, I like to plot out my mysteries.  I made a video explaining my process.   You can watch that HERE ON YOUTUBE, if you're interested.  

And now . . . I'm going to tell you about the BOOK GIVEAWAY at the top of the newsletter.  Why at the top?  Well, some who have won in the past year haven't contacted me.   I'm scratching my chin as to why not.  Maybe because the announcement is tucked into the middle of the newsletter?

As a thank you to you, my fans, this month one of my newsletter subscribers will win a copy of A SPRINKLING OF MURDER and fairy charm bookmark.  See who. Below.  Tucked into the middle of the newsletter.   LOL. 

Many of you know about my new Fairy Garden Mystery.  I hope you'll be reading it in the near future and that you'll tell a friend. One of my discerning friends called me today to tell me how much she'd enjoyed the story, the magic, and the visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea. That truly brought a smile to my face. 

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What is it about?

Fairy garden store owner Courtney Kelly believes in inviting magic into your life. But when uninvited trouble enters her shop, she’ll need more than a sprinkling of her imagination to solve a murder . . .

Since childhood, Courtney has loved fairies. After her mother died when she was ten, she lost touch with that feeling of magic. A year ago, at age twenty-nine, she rediscovered it when she left her father's landscaping business to spread her wings and start a fairy garden business and teashop in beautiful Carmel, California. At Open Your Imagination, she teaches garden design and sells everything from fairy figurines to tinkling wind chimes and trickling fountains. Now she's starting a book club tea.

But the light of the magical world she's created inside her shop is darkened one night when she discovers neighboring dog-grooming business owner Mick Watkins dead beside a fountain. To make matters worse, the police suspect Courtney of the crime. To clear her name and find the real killer, Courtney will have to wing it. But she’s about to get a little help from an unexpected new friend . . .

In addition, if you haven't read my Cookbook Nook Mysteries, check out the 9th, SHREDDING THE EVIDENCE.  All my books may be read as stand-alones.  However,  if you want to start at the beginning, read FINAL SENTENCE.  You can get into the world of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, watch the book trailers, and more by following this LINK

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What's it about?

The denizens of Crystal Cove are salivating over the upcoming Food Bowl Week, when local chefs offer some of their best and most imaginative creations in bite-size portions all over town. Bookstore proprietor Jenna Hart is hungry to sample as many of the delicacies as she can, but when she stumbles onto the dead body of a local food reporter and learns that her best friend’s husband is the primary suspect, she’ll have to summon the appetite for a side dish of sleuthing to prove his innocence.

Jenna knows the ambitious and aggressive reporter, who was strangled at a fitness center with her shredded restaurant reviews scattered around her, left behind a long list of potential suspects. As she begins piecing together the scant clues, she uncovers illicit ties between the victim and a local newspaper owner, a spurned would-be lover, and a host of disgruntled restaurant owners not a bit torn up by the critical reporter’s demise. And with a solution so close she can almost taste it, Jenna turns up the heat on the culprit, realizing too late that she’s the next course on the murderer’s menu . . .

What do you know?

I’ve decided to do my live chats on Face Book once a month, on the 2nd Saturday.  So if you like a schedule, you can now count on that instead of waiting for a haphazard announcement.

What's new?

I haven’t made a fairy garden recently, but I’m getting ready.   I'm mulling over new ideas.  In the meantime, here's a picture of an adorable piece of fairy art that my nephew and his lovely wife sent me.  At certain angles, she casts a shadow on the pavement.   Magical.   Also, doesn't it look like my other fairy sticker (in the plant beyond) is dancing on her stake?  The imp! 

And now for the Giveaway

The winner of the book and fairy charm is:

MB Nickell

Email: mbnickell***  

(* are to keep a bit of privacy)

MB, you have until September 21st to contact me to claim your book.
Email me using your above email address
I look forward to hearing from you.

What are you reading?

Lucy Burdette THE KEY LIME CRIME.   Love this series featuring a food critic in Key West, Florida.  This one is piping hot with pie-lovers and murder suspects.  And it's set around th holidays.  Yum. 

Next up, Hannah Dennison’s DEATH AT HIGH TIDE. Can’t wait.  This is a brand new series about a pair of sisters who inherit an old hotel in the remote islands of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall.  I always enjoy Hannah’s books!

What's to eat?

I shared this recipe in A SPRINKLING OF MURDER.  If you haven't read the book, Brady Cash owns the Hideout Café, across the street from Open Your Imagination.  Courtney goes into the newly renovated café one day with her friend Meaghan Brownie (who adores brownies, of course), and she's surprised to learn that Brady, an old high school friend, is the owner.  Their friendship reignites.  This is one of the treats Courtney and Meaghan enjoy at the café. 

Note from Brady:

The biggest trick to baking with caramel, my grandmother says, is to let the baked goods cool completely after baking.  Wait, wait, wait.  Two hours at minimum.  Also make sure you don’t over bake these blondies.  Dry blondies are no fun.

Caramel Blondies

(Yield: 9 blondies)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (2 cubes), melted and cooled a tad
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce * see below, prepared ahead, kept warm
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, pecans, or cashews
  • fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter or spray a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in egg, vanilla, salt, and flour mixture.  Mix until well combined.  Spread half of the mixture in the prepared baking pan and smooth.

Spread salted caramel onto the blondie batter using a tablespoon, leaving a bit of space around the edges.  Top with the chopped nuts.  Drop the remaining batter in spoonfuls over the caramel and spread with a spatula.  Using a knife, swirl the blondie batter with the caramel.  If desired, sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Bake 28-32 minutes until set in the middle and golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Do not over bake.  Make sure you cool completely, almost 2 hours, before cutting into squares.  If necessary, place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to help the caramel set.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

In a 3-quart saucepan, add the sugar and water and cook at medium heat.  Stir until combined.  Do NOT stir again.  If using a candy thermometer, it should read about 350 degrees.  Remove thermometer.

Carefully add the butter and whisk until butter is melted.   Remove the pan from heat and slowly pour in the cream, whisking all the time until the cream is incorporated.  Whisk in the sea salt and set aside to cool.

Allow to cool about 5 minutes, then store in an airtight container until ready to use.  Refrigerate.

What’s up with Sparky?

Sparky had a birthday.   He's 7!   And he received a toy from me but quickly threw that over for this adorable sloth birthday present from his pals.  Maybe he likes it more than the one I gave him because it reminds him of himself.  He acts like a sloth when he isn't on his walks or in the mood to play "fetch" from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. at night.  

That's it. That's all that is fit to print.
May your joy come from reading.
May your lives be filled with love.

Until next time…all my best,

Fairy Garden Mysteries
A Sprinkling of Murder

Cookbook Nook Mysteries
Final Sentence // Inherit the Word // Stirring the Plot //  
Fudging the Books // Grilling the Subject   
Pressing the Issue  //  Wreath between the Lines
Sifting Through Clues // Shredding the Evidence

French Bistro Mysteries

A Deadly Éclair // A Soufflé of Suspicion

Aspen Adams Novels of Suspense

Desolate Shores // Fan Mail

Stand-alone Suspense

Girl on the Run // Day of Secrets

Cheese Shop Mysteries

written as Avery Aames
The Long Quiche Goodbye // Lost and Fondue //
Clobbered by Camembert // To Brie or not To Brie
Days of Wine and Roquefort // 
As Gouda as Dead // For Cheddar or Worse

Copyright © 2020 Daryl Wood Gerber, All rights reserved.
Savor the Mystery Newsletter Vol. 14 No. 12

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