Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cocktails with Cathy Ace


All summer long we'll be re-capping some of our favorite Mystery Playground Drinks with Reads posts every Sunday. We thought we'd start with our most frequent contributor, Cathy Ace. She has done posts for both her Cait Morgan and her WISE Enquiries series. Today we're taking you through her Cait Morgan series posts. 



The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb with Lime Margaritas.


The Corpse with the Diamond Hand and the Mai Tai.


The Corpse with the Garnet Face and the Holland Gin Cocktail.


The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes and Bombay Sapphire Gin. 


The Corpse with the Platinum Hair and the TsarTini.


The Corpse with the Ruby Lips and a Champagne Cocktail. 

Come back next Sunday for more vintage Drinks with Reads. 



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Crime Scene Sisters



One of our favorite Etsy shops is from Kim Hammond and it's called the Crime Scene Sisters. It has witty and fun mystery themed merchandise, like the Sherlock tote above and the Poirot blanket below




I also love these pocket mirrors made from vintage Clue games cards



They add new items regularly, so check back often. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dark Moon Coffee and Murder Go Round


Carol Perry is visiting today to take us on a ride on a merry go round, for her latest in the Witch City cozy mysteries, Murder Go Round. With all of that spinning, Carol has treated us to a caffeinated beverage with a bit of a kick.  

Murder Go Round is the fourth book in the Witch City Mystery series (Kensington Publishers.) In this one Lee Barrett agrees to attend a storage locker auction with her librarian Aunt Ibby—even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. But the two, with one lucky bid, uncover a trove of wonderful curiosities, including a stunning carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint After Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop for some cosmetic work, another of the dusty treasures, a Russian silver samovar, awakens Lee’s psychic abilities and shows her visions of murder.  
With her detective boyfriend Pete Mondello, and with the aid of her wise ginger cat O’Ryan, Lee follows a trail of deception and death as intricate as the antique nested matryoshka dolls she found in the storage locker. Mystery Scene magazine says “Murder Go Round is entertaining fare, replete with compelling characters and a unique plot.”
* * * *
When friends drop by, Lee and Pete like to make a big ice cold pitcher full of Dark Moons. Readers of the Witch City Mystery series know how much Lee and Pete love their coffee and a Dark Moon is a heavily caffeine-laced version of that old New England favorite, Rum and Coke! The recipe will serve eight.
1 ½ cups of cold brew coffee
½ cup Tia Maria
½ cup spiced rum
1 12oz. bottle of Coke
½ cup heavy cream


Combine coffee, Tia Maria (or coffee liquor of your choice) rum and coke in a pitcher. Pour over ice in eight glasses. Top with a dash of heavy cream in each glass.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

BookBites Notecards




Lorraine Masonheimer is here today to show us how to make a set of book themed notecards she calls NoteBites.

CONCEPT: Add some flair to your communications with whimsical cards called NoteBites. Blank cards that express everything from thanks to hello to keep in touch. This set of 6 sends a fun, quirky, mystery lover message to the people in your life. The colorful high energy background is a great setting for the edgy, offbeat characters and the humorous sentiment takes a bite out of the corner of each card.

NOTE: These cards have some of the same supplies and steps. The steps listed below begin with the Card Base (Step One), which is the same for all six cards. They end with Assembly and Interior Design (Steps Three and Four), also the same for all six cards. In between are the steps for the front designs of each card (Step Two). You can make one or all of the cards using the instructions below.

Supplies for All Cards:
8½” x 11” white cardstock
Color coordinated papers (one festive, one stripe and one dot pattern)
6½” square envelope
3 enamel dot embellishments
Glue dots
Pop-up circles
Markers
Trim
ColorBox Chalk charcoal and black ink pads
Scissors
X-acto blade


Step One: Card Base for All Cards
Cut an 8½” x 11” white cardstock to 5½” x 11” and fold in half for a 5½” x 5½” card base. Cut the large patterned festive paper to 5½” square, the stripe and dot paper to ¼” x 6”. Draw and cut a bite about 2” square in the upper right corner of the festive paper.


Step Two: Stamp, Color, Text and Assemble: A Book ‘Tude Card
This card highlights a mystery book lover with a serious ‘tude.


Additional Supplies: Stampotique’s Marsha6209, Tools Cube 6145, and a splatter pattern stamp

Stamp the character and book onto a piece of white paper using a black ink pad. Cut out and color as shown. To create the sentiment, open a word document and type “Do I look” on one line, “like I read” on the second line and “westerns?” on the third. This example uses Comic Sans at 15 points on white paper. Cut the words into a 2 ½” square and apply the splatter stamp with charcoal ink.


Step Two: Stamp, Color, Text and Assemble: Last Word Card
This card highlights what it is like when one is disappointed in how a book ends. The scissors have the last word.

Additional Supplies: Stampotique’s Peggy 6067 and a splatter pattern stamp

Stamp the character onto a piece of white paper using a black ink pad. Cut out and color as shown. To create the sentiment, open a word document and type “I didn’t like the” on one line, “book’s ending but” on the second line and “my scissors did” on the third. This example uses Comic Sans at 15 points on white paper. Cut the words into a 2 ½” square and apply the splatter stamp with charcoal ink.


Step Two: Stamp, Color, Text and Assemble: Thriller Freak Card
This card highlights the love/hate attraction we have to thrillers that leave us wondering—is the front door locked?

Additional Supplies: Stampotique’s Twinkie 6103, Tools Cube 6145 and a splatter pattern stamp

Stamp the character and book onto a piece of white paper using a black ink pad. Cut out and color as shown. To create the sentiment, open a word document and type “Havin’ a thriller” on one line, “freak out…did I” on the second line and “lock the door?” on the third. This example uses Comic Sans at 15 points on white paper. Cut the words into a 2 ½” square and apply the splatter stamp with charcoal ink.


Step Two: Stamp, Color, Text and Assemble: Got Mysteries Card
This card is a simple hello from one mystery lover to another.


Additional Supplies: Stampotique’s Weasel 6115 and a splatter pattern stamp

Stamp the character onto a piece of white paper using a black ink pad. Cut out and color as shown. To create the sentiment, open a word document and type “Got Mysteries?”  This example uses Comic Sans at 15 points on white paper. Cut the words into a 2 ½” square and apply the splatter stamp with charcoal ink.


Step Two: Stamp, Color, Text and Assemble: Book State of Mind Card
This card highlights what it’s like to be in a book state of mind.


Additional Supplies: Stampotique’s Cranium 6221, blah blah blah 6001 and a splatter pattern stamp

Stamp the character onto a piece of white paper using a black ink pad. Cut out and color as shown. If desired, punch a small round hole to hinge the brain and slip brad through the hole. Otherwise, glue the hinge to the card. To create the sentiment, open a word document and type “books” on 4 separate lines. Print, cut and glue onto the stamped 2½” square” blah blah blah” as shown. This example uses Comic Sans at 15 points on white paper. Cut two small rough circles to create the ‘bubble’ from the head to the upper right corner.


Step Two: Stamp, Color, Text and Assemble: Checked Out Card
This card highlights what it is like when one can’t wait to get our hands on a great mystery.



Additional Supplies: Stampotique’s Gonno 6203 and a splatter pattern stamp

Stamp the character onto a piece of white paper using a black ink pad. Cut out and color as shown. To create the sentiment, open a word document and type “What do you” on one line, “mean it’s” on the second line and “checked out?!” on the third. This example uses Comic Sans at 15 points on white paper. Cut the words into a 2 ½” square and apply the splatter stamp with charcoal ink. An alternative might be “Mysteries + Coffee” on one line and “Nesbo – Coffee” on a second line. (Choose your favorite author.)

Step Three: Assembly for All Cards
Glue the 5½” x 5½” festive paper to the card base. To glue the stripe paper at an angle, measure and place a small mark at 1” on the top left side, a small mark at 2½” on the bottom left corner. To place the dot paper, measure and mark ¼” from the bottom left corner and 2½” from the bottom right. Trim the edges at an angle to match the card as shown. If desired, add two strips of thin trim to add interest to the design. Apply pop up dots to the back of the character and glue slightly off center. Take the sentiment—slip and glue into the upper right corner. Adhere three dot embellishments to the bottom right corner.



Step Four: Interior and Envelope for All Cards
Use paper scraps to add interest to the inside of the card and envelope flap and start writing a note soon!

NOTE: Extra postage required for larger size.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review: Lockdown by Laurie R. King




Laurie R. King, author of the Mary Russell series of Sherlockian romps, has a new contemporary novel out called Lockdown. Set in the current day coastal California, Lockdown is about as far as you can get from Mary Russell's Victorian England, with the focus on a grave subject matter. 

The book begins at a middle school where tensions are seething in every corner...disappearing children, nervous breakdowns, murder...these are just a few of things going on at this troubled school until a mild-manner Career Day turns into a lockdown because of a shooting incident. 

The subject matter in Lockdown is heavy and not for everyone. King does an excellent job of creating the world of the Guadalupe Middle School and creating empathetic characters that draw us into the story. Once you start reading Lockdown, you won't want to put the book down. When it says novel of suspense on the cover, they aren't kidding. 

You may tear yourself away to think about what's happening and how it relates to society today, with the characters and plot will pulling you back. But you have to be ready to enter this world. I couldn't help but thinking about why these types of incidents keep happening and what it means for our society. King is a masterful storyteller. She does an excellent job of tying it all together and every plot point is there for a reason. The book is worth the journey. 

You can read an excerpt of Lockdown here


Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories (from The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, named one of the 20th century’s best crime novels by the IMBA, to 2016’s The Murder of Mary Russell).  She has won an alphabet of prizes from Agatha to Wolfe, been chosen as guest of honor at several crime conventions, and is probably the only writer to have both an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology. She was inducted into the Baker Street Irregulars in 2010, as “The Red Circle.”


Random House supplied this book to Mystery Playground. We didn't take that into consideration while reviewing it. 



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hallmark Mysteries Channel: The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries




Kerry Hammond is here today to tell us about another great mystery series on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel

Mystery author Charlaine Harris is no stranger to the television industry. Her Sookie Stackhouse books were a big hit as the HBO series True Blood. Now readers of her Aurora Teagarden mystery series can see the characters come to life on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel.

Aurora Teagarden, played by Candice Cameron Bure (of Full House fame), is a librarian and fan of murder mysteries. She is a member of a Real Murders Club in her small hometown, and the group meets monthly to discuss actual murders and murderers throughout history.


The supporting cast of characters includes Aurora’s real estate selling mother (played by Marilu Henner), her reporter friend, and lots of quirky and interesting fellow murder club members. The first five movies are named after the first five books in Harris’ series, with the sixth movie having a title of its own.


The book series is on book nine, so there are more story lines to choose from if Hallmark intends to continue the series. I think the movies do a great job of capturing the main elements of the book series. The characters of Aurora, her mother, along with several supporting roles follow the books closely. The movies switch up a lot of the overall story arcs, though, so readers will see things take some different turns, specifically in Aurora’s love life. But I won’t give any spoilers.

The movies are fun to watch, and I think they are a great addition to Hallmark’s lineup. Check out my review of Hallmark's The Flower Shop Mystery series, also based on a book series.

When Charlaine Harris isn't busy writing mysteries, she is busy contributing to The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. See her recipe for Charlaine's Very Unsophisticated Supper Dip.