Friday, September 6, 2013

Little Black Book of Murder & Sparkling Sangria

Laura K. Curtis penned our summer reads with guest post today. Laura's new romantic suspense novel, Twisted, comes out on November 19th from Penguin Random House's new InterMix e-book imprint. You'll be hearing more about Twisted in the weeks to come. 

Summer’s coming to an end, but it’s still plenty hot where I live, and I am just beginning to catch up on my summer reading. One of the books I have sitting in my TBR is Nancy Martin’s latest Blackbird Sisters mystery, Little Black Book of Murder.

I have been a fan of the Blackbird sisters since the first book, How to Murder a Millionaire, back in 2002, and it is usually the first thing I buy my cozier-mystery-loving friends when they get an eReader (if they haven’t already read it). The Blackbird sisters—Nora, Emma, and Libby—come from a distinguished Philadelphia family but their parents were…well…less than truthful with the IRS and have escaped to a better life in a tax haven. Unfortunately, this leaves Nora with their two million dollar tax bill and no way to settle it.

The series focuses primarily on Nora, though her sisters contribute quite a bit. Nora has been left the family estate (Libby got the furniture, Emma got the art) and the tax bill, which she mostly settles by selling off a portion of the land to a guy who might or might not be a mobster. She’s got a great wardrobe, but she has no resumé, so she takes the only job she can get: society columnist for a local paper. This is uncomfortable as it means she’s still going to the same parties she always attended, but now she’s there for her job, and everyone in her set knows it. 

But Nora is tough and snarky and curious. She’s the kind of woman you would absolutely want as a friend (or at least I would). And the alleged mobster, Michael Abruzzo, is hot-with-a-capital-H. Nora disapproves of him (not only the whole mob thing, but he put a used car lot on the land she was forced to sell off), but she can’t help being interested, especially since case after case he winds up involved in her business.

These books are high in snark and entertainment, low in chills and thrills, and I love them. When I tried to come up with a drink to go with them, I immediately thought of champagne because that’s what gets served at those high society parties Nora has to write about. But I don’t like champagne, and it doesn’t scream summer to me, so I decided to go with something a little different—a sparkling rosé sangria. This is the perfect summer drink, and I can easily imagine it being served poolside at a society event.

2 bottle sparkling rosé wine (I used Chandon)
1 orange
1 green apple
1 pint of blackberries

If you like it sweeter, add 1/8 cup of simple syrup.

If you like a strong drink, add 1/4 cup of vodka

Laura K. Curtis has always done everything backward. As a child, she was extremely serious, so now that she’s chronologically an adult, she feels perfectly justified in acting the fool. She started teaching at age fifteen, then decided to go back to school at thirty. And she wrote her first book in first grade. It was released in (notebook) paperback to rave reviews, and she’s been trying to achieve the same level of acclaim ever since. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and a pack of wild Irish Terriers, which has taught her how easily love can coexist with the desire to kill.


  1. LOL, Kim! If you have a particularly good red sangria recipe, I am looking for one... :)

  2. Kim loves her sangria and this sounds fabulous.

  3. And you had me at "high in snark and entertainment." Two of my favorite things, other than sangria of course. I am looking forward to reading Twisted as much as I am Little Black Book of Murder.

  4. Very Sneaky of You Laura..Series Sounds Perfect for me...You PR Well..Anyone for Mimosa's? .As far as Sangria's Go Laura The One You Posted..Will Try ;) and Share...

  5. Snark and sangria sounds fabulous!! I shall wipe up the drink and dive into this book for sure. Thank you!

  6. Susan -

    I know you like cozies, so I really think you'll enjoy the Nancy Martin books. They're so much fun!

  7. I'm adding the Martin series to my list of TBR, and I look forward to the Sangria. I feel strongly that a person can't go wrong with Sangria. I particularly like the glass in the recipe photo!

  8. I have to admit, Lois, that the glass is cool but it's NOT good for drinking drinks with "stuff" in them out of--a wine glass has a sort of "lip" that holds in the fruit and ice...I kept spilling on myself while drinking this one.

    And no comments, please, about how I manage that just fine regardless of the glass.

  9. I too have been a Blackbird sisters fan since the first. They are the perfect fluffy book, and the adventures, while silly, are so much fun. I believe I will also become a fan of this drink soon- probably as soon as I have time to try it out!

  10. I love the Chandon rose and their blanc et noir is my favorite pink champagne, really favorite champagne ever. This sounds delightful and looks beautiful!