Saturday, July 25, 2009

English Trifle

Things to do in England:
Visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the London Zoo
Take the Jack the Ripper tour--- creepy!
Sample authentic English scones and crumpets
Discover a dead body

What begins as a holiday trip for amateur sleuth and cooking aficionado Sadie Hoffmiller and her daughter, Breanna, turns into a bizarre mystery when they discover a dead body in the sitting room of an English manor. Breanna's boyfriend, Liam, is heir to both the family title and the family estate of Southgate, where everyone seems to have a secret . . . or two. When the body in the sitting room disappears, Sadie and Breanna are stranded at the estate until the police can clear them to leave. With their departure delayed, they might as well solve the murder.
Armed with a jogging whistle, her personal recipe collection, and an unfailing sense of American justice, Sadie begins her own investigation to find the killer. But as Sadie uncovers layer after layer of misdirection, secrets and outright lies, she wonders if anyone is telling the truth--or if the case is really as hopeless as it appears to be.
Take a missing family history, toss in a secret romance, mix with a mysterious murder, and this is one vacation Sadie will never forget.

True story- A package came in the mail. I saw Josi's name in the return address space and knew what was inside. One of the boys said, "What's in the package?" Brandi, smarty pants that she is, said, "It's a book. Am I right?" I said, "Of course, but what book could it be? hmm." Then Brandi gets a gleam in her eye and says, "I bet it's that cooking book with your name in it. I know that because its from Josi." I told you she was miss smarty pants.

You know I turned to the acknowledgement page first because I had to see my name in print before doing anything else. Awesome feeling. How do authors stand it? seeing their books with their very own name on shelves in bookstores and libraries and in people's hands?

So, on to the actual book. Only Sadie Hoffmiller could go on vacation and become embroiled in a murder investigation. An investigation that almost doesn't happen when the body and all evidence disappears. Only Sadie would think to snoop around where she shouldn't be and believe that a jogging whistle will save her.

(Everytime Sadie put her whistle in her pocket I was reminded of my friend's daughter. When she was a teen, she often wanted to go jogging by herself. Her mom didn't think it was a safe idea for a young girl. The daughter would always say, 'But mom, I have my phone." to which her mom and I would laugh because we could just picture it-- bad guy is trying to snatch young girl, young girl says Wait while I whip out my phone and call for help-- Ya, not gonna happen. But I digress)

Where was I? Oh, yes. Sadie. Cooking is in her blood. She can't help it if she takes a measure of curiosity and layers it with crumpets, family secrets, lost loves and tops it with her desire for one last answer. Or recipe. Either one will do, both would be better.

Josi has outdone herself with this one. I could not figure out who done it until Josi told us. Well done, Josi.

And be sure to read chapter one of book three which is included at the back of the book. It opens with an amazing chocolate cake that I promise is to die for. And given Sadie's propensity to get embroiled in murder, I am sure someone will.

Purchase book here

Product details
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (August 5, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606411217
ISBN-13: 978-1606411216
Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches

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tawnya said...

I've always wanted to go on the Jake the Ripper tour...

tawnya said...

Ha! That would be Jack.

Karlene said...

I had to BUY a copy--which I did about two weeks ago. I'm about 4 chapters in and eager to read more. Life just isn't cooperating. Can't wait to finish it.

David G. Woolley said...

Okay. So I went to Josi's website and read the first part of the first chapter. I think Josi is an absolutely wonderful author. I love her style, I love her word choices, I love her sense of timing, I love her pros, I love her wit, her imagination and her intelligent analysis of facts which she carefully places into her writing.

That said, I was dissapointed with the opening paragraphs on two points.

First, she dumps all sorts of backstory information about the main character's daughter and her relationship to her boy friend--backstory information that could fuel all sorts of wonderful situations in subsequent chapters as the reader gets to know the characters like we get to know people in real life---bit by bit, in little fun doses, not all at once in a huge dump of backstory information. Not only does that destroy the fun of getting to know a character in a more natural, sleuthy way, but it is also a terrible choice for the opening chapterS (with a capital plural "S"), when story, plot, foreshadow, and action should dominate the entire story line. Backstory about the characters should take a second seat and come out, as its is necessary, in middle chapters, not opening chapters.

Second. The Triffle. Its got to be important if its in the title right? The triffle should be treated almost like another character, if its in the title. And in the opening chapter its treated as backstory. What? The most important artifact in the story, the food element, is nothing but mere backstory? In the opening chapter we find out that the main character has already tried an English Trifle before the novel even opens, loved the pudding, and would like to try and recreate it in her own kitchen. What? If a triffle is important enough to be the titular character in a novel, the least the author can do is foreshadow it a little, let the reader want to see the triffle, string us along just a little, or possibly make the triffle part of the drama of the opening chapter, possibly have it served to them when they meet the extended family or whatever. And shouldn't we at least be allowed, as the reader, to taste the creamy vanilla pudding, let the strawberries and cream push against the roof of our mouth, let them angel food cake caress our tongue? Just a little? You can't do any of that if the titular dessert character is nothing but a backstory after thought.

I'm sure the novel is terrific, but I was really upset about the backstory and the careless afterthought given to the desert.

I still think Josi is a brilliant author. No question about that!