Friday, June 28, 2013

Faves: Deadly Appraisal, Antiques to Die For, Dolled Up for Murder

All summer long Mystery Playground is featuring Friday guest bloggers who recommend a book with a matching drink. Today's guest post is by Siobhan Nash, the woman behind the fabulous food blog, Food Fixe

I discovered Jane Cleland's Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series last year when I was on medical leave and doing a lot of reading. For me, Deadly Appraisal was like reconnecting with an old friend. I have long been a lover of mysteries, starting with Nancy Drew when I was a girl. At some point, though, mysteries and I lost touch. But that's the beautiful thing about a true friendship, you can always pick right up no matter how much time has passed. And in Josie Prescott, I had found a new friend. 

Deadly Appraisal is the first book I read; however, it’s the second book in this cozy mystery series. As often happens, I will discover a book only to find that it's part of a series—and not the first one in the series. Fortunately, Jane Cleland does an excellent job of providing enough backstory to keep you from feeling lost or left out. Here’s the premise:

Josie Prescott is an antiques appraiser who, after blowing the whistle on her employer (a high-end antiques auction house in New York City) for price fixing, moves to Rocky Point, New Hampshire and opens her own antiques business. As seems to be the case with all small Eastern seaboard town (Cabot Cove, Maine, anyone?), there is a steady stream of murders—all of which touch Josie’s life in some way.

Although I chose Deadly Appraisal for my summer reading recommendation, I’ve really enjoyed all the books in the series. The plots are well developed and the characters engaging, especially Josie. In addition to living the life I dream of (minus the murders), she (like me) loves a good cocktail and likes to mix it up—from a simple Bombay Sapphire on the rocks to the more exotic Guavatini and Cherry Blossom.  

Champagne and bourbon haven’t made an appearance as one of Josie’s cocktails, yet. However, they are two of my favorite spirits and when I saw a recipe for a Champagne Mint Julep, I knew I had to try it. I tweaked the recipe, adding a touch of sweetness. The result is a cocktail that’s not too strong, not too minty, and with just enough effervescence. I hope you enjoy it. 

Champagne Mint Julep 
(Makes 1 cocktail)

8 mint leaves, or to taste
2 teaspoons simple syrup, or to taste
1 ounce bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)
Champagne or sparkling wine, to fill
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Twist the 8 mint leaves to release their oil and add to a champagne flute. Add the simple syrup and gently muddle with a spoon. Add the bourbon to the glass and then top off with champagne or sparkling wine. Add a sprig of mint for garnish. Cheers!

Don't forget to visit Siobhan's blog, FoodFixe. I love the recipes here. Great food and the directions are clear and easy to follow. 


  1. Great post Siobhan. Thank you for sharing it!

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  3. Both the book and the drink sound great. Thanks.