Autumn Herbal Concoctions by Mary Lawrence

Simmering mulled cider and sweet caramel apples aren’t the only treats that herald the shortened days of autumn. Elderberries are ripe for the picking and offer a healthy and different flavor to try this season. This elderberry tea not only boosts your immune system for winter, but it tastes great, too! Be forewarned that if you have an autoimmune disease elderberries might increase your symptoms. And it is important to steep the berries–uncooked berries are considered poisonous. I don’t want to lose any Bianca Goddard Mystery readers!


Elderberry Tea


2 cups water
2 Tbl. elderberry juice or syrup or 2 Tbl. dried berries
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
2 cloves

Simmer 30 minutes /strain / add honey to taste

Another tea to try is this after dinner digestive. Licorice root is slightly sweet, aides digestion, and soothes inflammation of your digestive tract. A pinch of lemon balm is just the right touch to enhance the flavors.

After Dinner Digestive Tea

Germany --- Illustration of Lemon Balm Plant --- Image by © doc-stock/Corbis

1 part spearmint leaves
1/8 part dried licorice root shaved or powdered
a couple of lemon balm leaves
2 cups water

Steep the spearmint leaves and licorice root in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Pour the brew through a food strainer and float the lemon balm leaves on top.
(licorice root can be found in most health food stores)

Of course with the arrival of fall, the holiday season is just around the corner. Why not make your own peppermint extract for all of those mint desserts you want to make? This is easy and tastes better than store bought–

Peppermint Extract


1 cup peppermint leaves
vodka (80-100 proof)
glass jar with lid

Roughly chop the leaves (this helps them release their oil) and add enough vodka to cover. Shake the jar and store in a cool, dark place for 3-4 weeks. Strain out the leaves when ready to use.

Make the most of this beautiful fall. And Happy Faellan as they might have said in Olde English!


During the tempestuous reign of Henry VIII, London alchemist Bianca Goddard has seen up close what keeps a man alive—and what can kill him. A good thing, for she will need all her knowledge to keep a friend away from the gallows . . .

Bianca and her husband John are delighted to share in the glad fortune of their friend, Boisvert, the silversmith, who is to wed Odile, the wealthy widow of a goldsmith. But a pall is cast over the upcoming nuptials when the body of a pregnant woman is found beneath the bell tower of St. Vedast, the very church where the betrothed are to be married.

Tragedy strikes again at the couple’s reception, when Odile suddenly drops dead in the middle of the wedding feast. The constable suspects Boisvert poisoned his new bride for her money, but there’s not a trace of poison in her food or wine. Could the two deaths be connected? To prove their friend’s innocence, Bianca will need to employ her knowledge of alchemy—for if she can determine how the bride was killed, she may find the person responsible for her murder—before another victim is added to the death toll . . .

Praise for The Alchemist’s Daughter

“A realistic evocation of 16th century London’s underside. The various strands of the plot are so skillfully plaited together.” —Fiona Buckley

“Captivating . . . just smart enough to be charming without being precious or terribly unrealistic.” —Library Journal

“Well-written, enjoyable, and well-worth reading.” —New Mystery Reader