What better way to get cozy than with a book, preferably curled up on a couch in front of a crackling fire, mug of hot chocolate spiked with something at your elbow? If that book happens to be a cozy mystery – even better! There’s just something comfy about immersing oneself in an imaginary small-town murder, knowing wrongs will be righted.
But another way I like to get cozy in the winter is to take refuge in the kitchen. The warmth from the oven toasts the room, and the scent of baking wafts through the entire house. Pie is something I’ve always found to be, if not cozy, then comforting. That’s why I set my new cozy mystery, The Quiche and the Dead, in a pie shop. The scent of baking sweets and savories, the warmth of the kitchen, and the clatter and laughter of diners.
Val and her buddy Charlene from The Quiche and the Dead are better known for baking pies. But they’re not above sipping the occasional cocktail while watching Stargate reruns. Here’s one of their (and my) favorite winter warmers – the Reformed Firefall. The Firefall was invented at Yosemite’s historic Ahwahnee Hotel. Every time I go there, I ask the bartender for the recipe, and every time I leave, I manage to lose the cocktail napkin it’s written on. So, here’s my own, simpler, version – the “Reformed” Firefall.
Reformed Firefall: Add a shot of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey to a cup of hot chocolate. Stir with a cinnamon stick and top with whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon. Top yourself with a fluffy blanket, and enjoy!
Is Val’s breakfast pie the quiche of death?
Owning her own business seemed like pie in the sky to Valentine Harris when she moved to the coastal California town of San Nicholas, expecting to start a new life with her fiancé. Five months—and a broken engagement—later, at least her dream of opening a pie shop has become a reality. But when one of her regulars keels over at the counter while eating a quiche, Val feels like she’s living a nightmare.
After the police determine the customer was poisoned, business at Pie Town drops faster than a fallen crust. Convinced they’re both suspects, Val’s flaky, seventy-something pie crust maker Charlene drags her boss into some amateur sleuthing. At first Val dismisses Charlene’s half-baked hypotheses, but before long the ladies uncover some shady dealings hidden in fog-bound San Nicholas. Now Val must expose the truth—before a crummy killer tries to shut her pie hole.