Friday, January 31, 2014

The Mystery of Fortune Cookies


Today is Chinese New Year so I thought I'd take a moment to talk about fortune cookies because they're fun and I like them. Fortune cookies were not invented in China, but they are certainly part of the Chinese restaurant culture here in the U.S. 

The folded cookies were actually invented in California in the early 1900s. Sources dispute who actually invented the cookie, although most site either a Japanese immigrant named Makoto Hagiwara in San Francisco or a Caton native named David Jung who lived in Los Angeles. 


The photo above is from a fortune cookie factory in San Francisco's Chinatown where you can have your own fortunes inserted into the cookie. It's called the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and it's down a little alleyway. Here's the contact info: 56 Ross Alley (at Jackson St), San Francisco, CA 94108 (415) 781-3956



It's not a big place and they charge 25c if you want to take a photo. Watching how hard the crew worked, I did not mind paying them for the photos. They provide you with little slips of paper to write your personalized fortune on, but if you know in advance you plan to go, I would print the fortunes out on the computer. It's so much neater. The fresh fortune cookies smelled so fabulous and we bought cookies rounds with out fortunes freshly baked to munch on. 

If you can't make it to the factory, you can always order personalized cookies online

I tried to make fortune cookies once and wound up burning myself as we folded the cookies. This video approaches the whole process much more intelligently than we did. 




I find that some cookies don't actually have a fortune in them. It's more a comment than a fortune, like "You have a sparkling personality." I like the fortunes much better. 






Thursday, January 30, 2014

Crafty Thursdays: Serious Book Marks


Since winter is in full swing (at least everywhere but California), we thought we'd get a little more crafty than usual. So, every Thursday for the rest of winter. Today we're starting with book marks made from old book spines. 

To enter the giveaway for the Message from Hong Kong book mark on the left in the photo above, leave a comment below. 


Materials & Tools:

1) An old book (you may want more than one to practice on)
2) Gorilla Glue
3) A piece of card stock
4) A ribbon, a tassel or beads as desired
5) An Exacto knife



Step One:
Slice the pages of the book out of the cover using the Exacto knife. This can be tricky, especially with really old books. You may want to practice with a book you don't care about so much. (save the two cover pieces, we'll be making notebooks out of those in a post in March)



Step Two:
Cut the spine away from the front cover and the back cover, like the photo above. 



Step Three:
Glue the spine onto a piece of card stock. I used two sided here, but it's not necessary. Once the glue dries cut the paper out around the spine. 



Step Four:
Attach beads, ribbon and tassels as desired.







Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Coven Season Finale: Seriously?


Mia Bard visits Mystery Playground with this guest post to vent her frustration about tonight's finale of American Horror Story: Coven. 


Last week's episode of American Horror Story: Coven was aptly titled "Go To Hell". And after this mess of a season, many viewers (myself included) wanted to tell the writers just that. 

I hadn't seen AHA's first two seasons, but after hearing rave reviews - and because of this season's locale in New Orleans - I jumped in for season 3. I stayed with the show all season because I kept thinking it's got to get better. These weird plot elements have got to make sense at some point. Unfortunately, I found this season to be confusing, contradictory, and confounding - especially after last night's finale. 

A brief recap for those unfamiliar with the plot: AHS: Coven is about a coven of witches in New Orleans all vying to be the next "supreme" (or head witch). Leading into the finale, this is where things stood:

* The current supreme (Fiona) had hatched a plan to kill all the other witches in the coven in the hope to regain about 30 years of power in the wake of her terminal cancer. BUT she gets murdered by her lover, who thinks she's betrayed her.

* Each witch has a "special" power, like resurgence, transference, telekensis, etc. BUT as the season progressed, they started to accumulate "other powers" for no explicable reason.

* Almost all the witches (Fiona, Myrtle, Queenie, Misty, and Madison) have died and been brought back to life. BUT Misty died and was brought back twice, and Zoe and Delia never died. And poor Nan seems to remain permanently dead.

* Of these deaths, Queenie's demise was by a silver bullet... which is supposedly the permanent way to kill witches. BUT Queenie survives anyhow, citing "newly found powers".

* Two historical New Orleans figures from the 1800s - Marie Laveau and Delphine LaLaurie - are made immortal and brought to the present day. That's where Delphine is dismembered and decapitated BUT is "recapitated" and put back together (which is never explained). Delphine then dismembers and decapitates Marie (who again, is supposedly immortal) BUT this act renders her mortal. They both end up in Hell.

* Delia (who, by the way, is Fiona's adult daughter) becomes blinded by acid thrown in her face early in the series. BUT she gains "second-sight" when Myrtle (via magic) gives her "new eyes". BUT that causes her to lose her mind-reading abilities. BUT she cuts her own eyes out (with gardening shears) in the hope of regaining her second-sight. At first she does not BUT then this power suddenly reappears. 

The main issue I had with AHS: Coven was all the BUTs. They kept changing the rules on us along the way. Why even set down rules if they were constantly going to be broken? That to me was the true mystery of Coven - and made it hard to watch - because it followed no logical rhyme or reason. And yes, I realize I'm saying this about a show about witchcraft.

So what happened in the end? Last night's finale found all the witches performing "the seven wonders" in order to compete for top spot in the coven. Misty was quickly eliminated as she was unable to perform "transformation" - or is it transurgence? - and couldn't come back from a trip to Hell. Zoe died via "tranference" - aka, a giant game of "tag, you're it!" - which landed Zoe impaled on a sharp iron fence. Next up was Madison, who got fed up with the whole "seven wonders performance" and wanted to leave the house to go back to Hollywood. But she never made it because she was killed by Zoe's boyfriend (for allowing Zoe to die). That left Queenie and Delia... and the late-in-the-game revelation by Myrtle that Delia was the real supreme. Delia was thus crowned head witch, but not without her "dead" mother Fiona (who wasn't really murdered after all!) returning for one final visit, her body now ravaged by cancer and just hours away from death. And with her passing, her own "personal hell" was revealed: eternity with her boyfriend at a country home down South where they constantly fought, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" style.


The show ended with Delia reigning supreme (pun intended) with Queenie and Zoe (who yeah, came back to life) by her side as the new generation of the coven council. Confused? So am I, and I watched every episode.

Recycle Wednesdays: Secret Passageways, Wolves and More Harry Potter





Over the past week there was some fun news - including more new on the expansion to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin hanging out with wolves.

But let's start with this article over at Mental Floss which talks about secret hidden passageways built into houses. Having grown up reading Nancy Drew non-stop, I have to admit a certain fascination with this concept. Not all of these particular hidden passageways sound so great, especially the one in a place called, The Murder Castle, which served as the home and office for a serial killer. Still, at some point in my future I may still need to live somewhere that has secret passageways...

Next Tor.com gives us the details of George R.R. Martin on the streets of Santa Fe with a wolf and Ayra Stark (well, really Masie Williams, the actress who plays Arya, and does an excellent job too.) The stunt was to draw attention to a New Mexico-based charitable organization called Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary that helps rescue wolves that can't be returned to the wild. Head over to Tor.com to see the fabulous photos

Or if you're missing GOT, you can make yourself a glass of Daenerys Targaryen's Dragon Lemonade







Expansion Harry Potter land:

The New York Times reported this week that Universal will expand the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. The expansion opens this June and there will be two more rides and eight more shops. 

The shops will include Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions, Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment,  Quality Quidditch Supplies and Scribbulus.

The Times postulates that Universal may be overestimating Harry Potter's long-term appeal since no new movies and no new books are planned. I disagree. The wonderful thing about children's books is that every year a new crop of kids is reading it for the first time. On our visit there, I also experience non-Potter fans impressions and the detail without reference to the books. And we did wish there was more to do in the Wizarding World section. 

If you would like to see some fabulous photos of the Warner Bros Studios Making of Harry Potter exhibit, you can find "oh so many" here

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Smartphone Mystery Applications


It seems that everything in the world needs a mobile application (app) these days and mystery authors and shows are no different. With the return of BBC Sherlock, comes the introduction of a new game app, called Sherlock:The Network. To be introduced in the U.S. today, this application lets you mobilize Sherlock's homeless network to help solve cases and respond to text messages. 

Released in England a few weeks ago to rave reviews, the Sherlock app sounds cool, but the thought of it made me want to check in elsewhere in the mystery world to see what mobile apps were already available. 



Many best selling authors like Janet Evanovich, David Baldacci, Steve Berry and Michael Connolly have their own mobile apps. Most of these apps list their books with descriptions, offer the author's biography and provide character extras. Some have fan walls, excerpts or video trailers. 




One of the most interesting of the applications was one tied to a specific book, Marisha Pessl's, NIGHT FILM. This application gives you access to video, audio, photos and character journals when you scan certain images from the book. The extras were well done and compelling. There's a photo of the app on an iPad below. You scan different photos in the book that have the special bird symbol and that reveals the extra for that photo. It could be a diary, an audio file, a video or more pictures. 







Other mystery oriented applications include one entirely devoted to Hercule Poirot, called simply, POIROT. This app lists all of the Hercule Poirot novels, short stories, TV shows and movies, providing a brief description of each. It also lets you keep track of which you've read/watched and what's on your to do list.




There is one app that seems more successful than the others and that is the app for Walking Dead. This app lets you take a photo of yourself and then turns the photo of you into a zombie. You can then share your brand new zombie photo on social media channels. This has gotten a ton of traction, successfully littering Facebook with zombie photos for the Walking Dead season finale.



What do you think? Do you use mystery apps? Will you try the new Sherlock app? Any of the others? The jury is still out on all of these apps for me. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Left Coast Crime Award Nominations



The nominations for the Left Coast Crime 2014 Convention Awards are out, and it's an excellent list. The convention, held every year on the west coast, will be held in Monterey, California, March 20-24. Special congratulations to Catriona McPherson for her nominations in two categories. Are your favorites here? 


The Lefty: Best humorous mystery novel
  • Donna Andrews, The Hen of the Baskervilles (Minotaur Books)
  • Timothy Hallinan, The Fame Thief (Soho Crime)
  • Lisa Lutz, The Last Word (Simon & Schuster)
  • Brad Parks, The Good Cop (Minotaur Books)
  • Cindy Sample, Dying for a Daiquiri (Cindy Sample Books)
The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award: Best historical mystery novel covering events before 1960
  • Rhys Bowen, Heirs and Graces (Berkley Prime Crime)
  • Susan Elia MacNeal, His Majesty’s Hope (Bantam)
  • Catriona McPherson, Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses (Minotaur Books)
  • David Morrell, Murder as a Fine Art (Mulholland Books)
  • Priscilla Royal, Covenant with Hell (Poisoned Pen Press)
  • Jacqueline Winspear, Leaving Everything Most Loved (HarperCollins)
The Squid: Best mystery set within the United States
  • Sue Grafton, W Is for Wasted (Putnam, Marian Wood Books)
  • Darrell James, Purgatory Key (Midnight Ink)
  • William Kent Krueger, Ordinary Grace (Atria Books)
  • Hank Phillippi Ryan, The Wrong Girl (Forge)
  • Terry Shames, A Killing at Cotton Hill (Seventh Street Books)
The Calamari: Best mystery set anywhere else in the world

  • Cara Black, Murder Below Montparnasse (Soho Crime)
  • Lisa Brackmann, Hour of the Rat (Soho Crime)
  • Catriona McPherson, As She Left It (Midnight Ink)
  • Louise Penny, How the Light Gets In (Minotaur Books)
  • Jeffrey Siger, Mykonos After Midnight (Poisoned Pen Press)
We will be blogging from Left Coast in March, so come on back. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Murder at the Beach Anthology


This post is more for writers than readers, but it is exciting. The world's largest mystery fan convention, Bouchercon, is putting together a short story anthology and has released a call for submissions (see below). The conference is being held from November 13-16 in Long Beach but story submission are due in March. The theme is Murder at the Beach. If you aren't a short story writer, but want to learn more about the conference the website is pretty comprehensive and there is also a Facebook page. I'll be talking more about Bouchercon itself as the conference gets closer. 


Here is the call for submissions:

Writers are encouraged to submit a short story for the Murder at The Beach Bouchercon Anthology, to be published for Bouchercon 2014 and edited by Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Award winner Dana Cameron.

Theme:
Murder at The Beach

Submissions:
Submit six (6) blind copies of your story to

Bouchercon2014
PO Box 290789
Port Orange, FL 32127-0789

All author contact information, including email address and phone number, must be on the cover letter only. The stories will not be returned. Do not send SASE.

Process:
Stories must be original, not previously published anywhere else. Stories should be between 3,500 and 5,500 words. One story submission only. Carefully follow the manuscript guidelines, which will be adhered to without exception.

Deadline:
The deadline for submission is March 31, 2014. Manuscripts must be received by that date and postmarked no later than March 20, 2014.

Notification:
To receive acknowledgement of receipt of submission, include a SAS postcard with submission. Authors will be notified when the final selections have been made. An announcement will also be made on this website in early June 2014.

With any questions, email Anthology@bouchercon2014.com

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sherlock Puppet Edition





BBC's Sherlock returns Sunday night for the second episode in the third season on PBS right after Downton Abbey. It's a wonderful night of british drama gluttony. 

For those of you who need a recap of seasons one and two here is a fabulous puppet recap. The first episode of season three is on iTunes. Hat tip to Sherlockology for finding this one. 




Just because I am in the mood for more Benedict Cumberbatch, here's a fun spot that aired on Graham Norton awhile back. It's the Benedict Cumberbatch vs. Chris Pine fan off. 






Last but not least, here's the now famous Benedict Cumberbatch imitation of Chewbacca while sitting next to Harrison Ford...






If you get the Mystery Playground e-mail alerts, you need to click on the link above to go to the site to get the videos. It's not my choice. It's just how the technology works. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Mystery TV Show Theme Songs




Today's topic at Mystery Playground is theme songs for crime fiction, mystery cartoon, and just plain thrilling TV shows. There's not too much I can write about these fabulous trademark themes because they already live somewhere in the deep recesses of your mind. Let's open those vast yet wonderful TV theme song caverns, shall we?

Here's the theme song to PBS Mystery! minus the trademark moans. 





And here's the opening of Magnum PI, one of the absolute Mike Post greats...I can hear you humming along...





And last but not least, we have the theme song from that classic of all mystery TV shows...the original Scooby Doo...





Here are the words, just in case you would like to sing along. 

"Scooby Dooby Doo,Where are you 
We got some work to do (now) 
Scooby Dooby Doo, Where are you? 
We need some help from you, now 
Come on,Scooby Doo, I see you  
pretending you got a sliver 
But you're not foolin' me, cause I can see 
the way you shake and shiver  
You know we got a mystery to solve 
and Scooby Doo, be ready for your act  
Don't hold back! 
And Scooby Doo if you come through you're gonna have yourself a Scooby Snack! 
Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you 
You're ready and you're willing 
If we can count on you Scooby Doo 
I know you'll catch that villain"

That's only a taste of classic theme songs, so don't you worry, we'll back with more classic theme songs for your listening pleasure soon. I had so much fun doing this, it will now be a monthly feature. Put your favorites in the comments below. The only rule is the show has to be in re-runs or off the air.

Special thanks to Suzie for pointing out this major hole in Mystery Playground coverage to date.  



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Amish Potato Rolls and Mysteries



Here at Mystery Playground, we like food and mysteries. In honor of author Amanda Flower's birthday and her Amish mysteries - we are sharing the recipe for Amish Potato rolls (get it - Flower and flour...). 

The photos, rising rolls by the fire and the baking are courtesy of Janet Kuchler in the Portland office of Mystery Playground. The recipe is courtesy of King Arthur Flour. 




Amanda has two Amish mystery series, one called the Appleseed Creek mysteries and another about Amish quilt shops. 

The first in the Appleseed Creek Mysteries is...


A PLAIN DEATH


An unlikely friendship between a high-tech woman and a runaway Amish girl leads to murder. Her first day in Appleseed Creek, Ohio, Chloe Humphrey, befriends Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home. While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish bishop in the process. The case moves from accident to murder when police reveal a cut brake line. Now, Chloe and Becky’s handsome brother, Timothy, must discover who the real intended victim is before the murderer makes a second attempt.



The first in the Amish Quilt series is:

MURDER PLAIN AND SIMPLE:

When Angela Braddock inherits her late aunt’s beautiful Amish quilt shop, she leaves behind her career and broken engagement for a fresh start in Holmes County, Ohio.
  
With her snazzy cowboy boots and her ornithophobic French bulldog, Angie doesn’t exactly fit in with the predominantly Amish community in Rolling Brook, but her aunt’s quilting circle makes her feel at home as she prepares for the reopening of Running Stitch. On the big day, Angie gets a taste of success as the locals and Englisch tourists browse the store’s wares while the quilters stitch away. But when Angie finds the body of ornery Amish woodworker Joseph in her storeroom, the future of Running Stitch looks bleak. With evidence mounting against her, Angie is determined to find the culprit before the local sheriff can make an arrest. Rolling Brook appears to be a simple place, but the closer Angie gets to the killer, the more she realizes that nothing in the small Amish community is as plain as it seems. . . 

And now for the food...

Amish Dinner Rolls (From the King Arthur Flour website

Ingredients:

2 eggs
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
1 cup (7 1/4 ounces) unseasoned mashed potatoes, lightly packed*
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 cup water (potato water, if possible)
4 1/4 cups (18 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

*1 medium-to-large baking potato will yield 8 ounces of mashed potato. 


Manual/Mixer Method: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients, and mix until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased or floured surface, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it's smooth and shiny. Or knead it in a mixer, using the dough hook. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or rising bucket, turn to coat, cover the container with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise till it's doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes.

Bread Machine Method: Place all the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer (usually, liquids first, yeast last). Program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Check the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle and adjust its consistency as necessary by adding additional water or flour to form a soft, smooth ball. Allow the machine to complete its cycle, then allow the dough to remain in the machine till it's doubled in bulk, perhaps an additional 30 minutes or so.

Shaping: To make stand-alone rolls, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. If you want to make soft-sided, pull-apart rolls, divide the dough into 15 pieces. This isn't as challenging as it sounds: first, divide the dough into three equal pieces (about 375g, 14 ounces, each). Pinch off one piece, about the size of a racquetball or handball (75g, 2 3/4 ounces), off each of the three pieces, setting the pinched-off pieces aside; then simply divide what's left of the three pieces into four pieces each. Presto! Fifteen balls of dough. Gently roll the dough balls under your cupped fingers till they're nice and round.

Place the 16 dough balls onto a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet or sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them. Or place the 15 dough balls into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan, spacing them evenly in five rolls of three balls each. Cover the pan(s) with a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise for about 2 hours, till they're quite puffy; the rolls in the 9 x 13-inch pan should be touching (or almost touching) one another. 

Dough rising by the fire.
Baking: Bake the rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, till they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, carefully turn them out of the pan -- the pull-apart rolls will come out all in one piece -- and brush them with melted butter, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 15 or 16 rolls.


Nutrition information per serving (1 pull-apart roll, 74g): 200 cal, 6g fat, 5g protein, 28g complex carbohydrates, 4g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 41mg cholesterol, 223mg sodium, 117mg potassium, 58RE vitamin A, 2mg vitamin C, 2mg iron, 6mg calcium, 58mg phosphorus. 

Don't these look yummy!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Santa Rosa Mystery Book Club & Tana French


Today's guest post is from Amy Ball as she reports on this month's selection from the Santa Rosa Mystery Book Club - The Likeness by Tana French. 


What if you saw your twin, and you didn't have a twin? And what if your first glance was at her dead body? And what if you could take over her life - would you do it?

This is the opening of THE LIKENESS by Tana French. And after an opening like that who wouldn't be hooked?

THE LIKENESS was the November book club selection for the Santa Rosa Mystery Book Club and it was an absolute hit.

Set outside Dublin, Domestic Violence Police Detective Connie is called to the scene of a murder only to find herself starting at her twin.
  

Connie's police history is long and complex, including time in undercover, murder and now on the domestic violence squad. Summoned to the scene by her former undercover boss and her current boyfriend, she is offered the chance to go undercover as the dead victim, Lexie Madison, which incidentally was her undercover persona.


While she doesn't actually jump at the chance, she is intrigued. Lexie, a Ph. D student at Trinity College, lived with four other Trinity students in the large old mansion, in the small village of Glenskehy. As Connie integrates into Lexie's life she comes to love her "new" family, almost losing track of her goal of finding Lexie's killer.


I had not read books by Tana French before this. She slowly pulled me in until I had to know what happened next. At times I could almost feel myself in the living room with Connie as she grew to new her roommates as Lexie. Tana skillfully entrenched Connie into her new identity and I found myself empathizing with her as she struggled to get to the truth. It was a fun book to read and unlike anything I had read before. I will definitely read more books by Tana French. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Las Vegas Speakeasy: The Laundry Room



Today's guest post is from Kim Hammond who's been out frequenting speakeasies again, this time in Sin City. Wish I could have been with her...


Whenever I’m planning a trip, I hop on google to see if there’s a speakeasy in the vicinity. Mystery Playground has trained me to do so over the last year, and truth be told, I really enjoy it. I’ve met some really nice people and enjoyed some amazing one-of-a-kind drinks. So when Tracey, my oldest friend in the world (we’ve known each other since we were 12) asked me and my sister to meet her in Vegas for a girls’ weekend I knew we’d have to find a speakeasy there.

A quick search showed many people talking about a place called The Laundry Room, located on Fremont Street.  It’s inside another establishment called The Commonwealth. Most places have a shtick and this was no different. Seating is by reservation only, however, in order to do so you needed to find the secret number and text them for availability. It’s also a very small venue so they usually only allow about twenty people at a time. 

We went on a Thursday evening and were standing outside The Commonwealth bar and my sister sent a text to see if they had space for a party of three that evening. Nope. Anything on Friday?  Kerry text back. Nope. The only time was 8:30 pm on Saturday (our last night in Vegas). We’ll take it.

There's a still in the bathroom

When we went back on Saturday evening and sent a text that we were outside. A nice young woman came out to get us and lead us through this discreet door that blended in with the wallpaper, and viola, we were there. We took seats at the end of the bar in the very small one room area and quickly met Daniel Marohnic, mixologist extraordinaire. 

Although there was a menu of drinks to pick from, Daniel asked us what kinds of flavors we liked to drink and would alter one of their drinks to fit our tastes.  We had A Hung Mule, Rum Swizzle, Corpse Revivor #2, and Cat’s Pajamas.
Hung Mule: Hangar One Spiced Pear Vodka, the King’s Ginger liquor, lime, soda, Gernet-Branca mist and candied ginger.

Rum Swizzle: Atlantico Reserve Rum, lemon, orange, pineapple, Taylor’s Velvet Falernum, Angostura Aromatic Bitters and an orange slice.

Cat’s Pajamas: EG Inspiration (Rosemary/Lavender Neutral Spirit), lemon, honey, Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette and a seasonal herb flower sprig.

Corpse Revivor #2: gin, wine, orange and absinthe liqueurs, and lemon juice

While we drank and chatted we munched on dill pickle popcorn. I know some of you may be thinking yuck, and I assure you, I did too when I first heard of the flavor. But I tried it and it was delicious and addicting. I think I pickled my tongue in the three hours we were there. There was also a beautiful old piano in the room and we were told a young man periodically stopped to play, and sure enough, an hour later he came and we had a sing-along for a while.


We had a fabulous time and would recommend this place if you’re ever in Vegas.

Kim Hammond
If you are in Vegas and want to visit another speakeasy, you may also want to try The Lady Silvia


Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Edgar Allen Poe?



Today is Edgar Allen Poe's 205th birthday. Back when he was alive, living in poverty as he tried to make money writing, he couldn't have possibly have imagined all of the merchandising from his image and and writings that would go on almost 200 years later. If someone does ever invent a time machine, it would only be fair to go back and make sure he gets some of the profits from these items. Take a look, if you dare... 




The Raven purse. 


These bloody Edgar Allen Poe shoes are sold out. 


I would imagine that these Edgar Allen Poe press on nails have a very limited market. 


And of course, the multiple Poe head mobile phone case...





Saturday, January 18, 2014

Most Fun Bookends Ever


Little Shop of Horrors

I came across these sculptured bookends on Etsy from Knob Creek Metal Arts and I think they have to be the most fun ever. They tend to go more to horror themes than mystery but I still love them. There are tons more to choose from on their Etsy site. 

Which one is your favorite? 

I think mine's got to be the Little Shop of Horrors set above. Perfect to give a home to special books. 


There be Dragons

I am ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille.

Zombie runner














Friday, January 17, 2014

Mystery Lovers & Tea



It's been really cold outside and I have have been drinking copious amounts of tea. It seems like tea and reading are meant to be enjoyed together, cozy mysteries are even named after tea cozies, so I did a little research to see what else I could find linking books and tea...




Adagio teas has a stunning selection of Sherlock themed teas including odes to Watson, Lestrade and "Moriaritea". These teas are perfect to drink while watching the show that inspired them, BBCs Sherlock on PBS. 




Here Dandy Gilver creator, Catriona McPherson tells us how to make the perfect cup of tea. 



Did you know there is an entire magazine devoted to tea?




OK, I might be just a little tea obsessed. Do you like to drink tea while you read? What kind? Do share. 


Excellent tea pot