Poppy’s Strawberry Spinach Salad by Lee Hollis

One of the reasons I get excited about writing the Hayley Powell Food & Cocktails Mysteries is because I just love to eat. Every book allows me to try several new recipes, and usually each story features a different kind of food theme. In Hayley’s first adventure Death of a Kitchen Diva, there was a full seven course meal. In the last book, Death of a Cookbook Author, I focused on yummy casseroles. The series has included recipes for southern fried cooking, meals on a budget, dishes with ingredients such as chocolate, bacon, pumpkin, as well as cupcakes and Christmas-themed stews and treats. Next year, Death of a Wedding Cake Baker will have not only a perfect wedding cake recipe, but a host of hors d’oeuvres, entrees and salads appropriate for a wedding reception!

But Hayley isn’t the only character who is a foodie. When Poppy Harmon is not out solving her cases for the Desert Flowers Detective Agency, she spends her free time indulging in her two favorite past times – watching TV crime shows and whipping up a tasty meal in her kitchen.  Cooking calms her down and focuses her mind. She has solved more than one case in her kitchen. Although as you know if you have read her first book Poppy Harmon Investigates, her “partner” Matt Flowers, who is the face of the agency, is usually around to take all the credit.

Here is one of Poppy’s favorite recipes when she is on the go and needs something simple to eat on her way out the door.

Poppy’s Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed, Honey  Vinaigrette & Sugared Walnuts for Two


  • 2 bowls
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • ½ red onion sliced thin
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta cheese (more or less for taste)
  • 8 strawberries stems removed and sliced
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, diced
  • 1 Clementine peeled and in segments

Poppy Seed Honey Vinaigrette


  • 2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup honey 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • Candied Walnuts


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Candied Walnuts:
  • In a non stick frying pan on medium low heat add your walnuts and brown sugar.
  • Mix together until combined and keep stirring until all the sugar is melted and coats all of the walnuts. Stir nuts about one more minute without burning and empty out on parchment paper to cool.


  • Divide the spinach, red onion, crumbled feta, strawberries, Clementine and bacon between to bowls.


  • In a mason jar or bowl with a whisk add all of your dressing ingredients and shake or whisk until well mixed add your desired amount and top with the candied walnuts.
  • Yes, candied walnuts are fattening, but Poppy is exercising more now that she has hit the streets of Palm Springs to solve crimes. Plus, she’s not acting on her 1980’s TV detective show Jack Colt, PI so it’s no longer necesary to watch her figure so closely anymore!

Lee Hollis begins a delightful new series in which Poppy Harmon and her friends find that life after retirement can be much busier—and deadlier—than any of them ever anticipated . . .

When Poppy goes from complacent retiree to penniless widow in a matter of weeks, the idea of spending her golden years as the biggest charity case in Palm Springs renders her speechless. With no real skills and nothing left to lose, Poppy uses her obsession with true crime shows to start a career as a private eye . . .

But after opening the Desert Flowers Detective Agency with help from her two best friends, Violet and Iris, Poppy realizes that age brings wisdom, not business—until she convinces her daughter’s handsome boyfriend, Matt, to pose as the face of the agency. It’s not long before Matt’s irresistible act snags a client desperate to retrieve priceless jewelry burglarized from an aging actress at the Palm Leaf Retirement Village. Or before Poppy stumbles upon the bloodied body of the victim’s arch rival . . .

In a flash, Poppy’s innocent detective gig is upstaged by a dangerous murder investigation riddled with slimy suspects and unspeakable scandal. As she and her team uncover the truth, Poppy must confront the secrets about her late husband’s past and swiftly catch a killer lurking around the retirement community—even if it means turning her world upside down all over again.

Praise For Lee Hollis And The Hayley Powell Mystery Series

Death Of A Pumpkin Carver

“The mystery is well-written and the story will keep any reader’s attention. After meeting these hysterical characters there is no doubt that you’ll go back.” —Suspense Magazine

Death Of A Bacon Heiress

“A fun mystery that will have readers enraptured.” —Kings River Life magazine

Death Of A Christmas Caterer

“A fun Christmas cozy.” —Library Journal

Death Of A Coupon Clipper

“Hayley is a likable heroine that readers will cheer for.” —Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Death Of A Country Fried Redneck

“A snappy pace, fun characters and a clever plot. A tasty entrée for the culinary cozy crowd.” —Library Journal

Death Of A Kitchen Diva

“Lee Hollis’s debut mystery featuring food columnist Hayley Powell is delicious and satisfying. Another course, please!” —Carolyn Hart, New York Times bestselling author