Friday, January 26, 2018

The Case of the Unsuitable Suitor and PIMMS No. 1 Cup

Cathy Ace, author of the WISE Enqueries Agency Mysteries and the Cait Morgan Mysteries, is back with us with another wonderful novel and beverage. Cathy’s short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Two of her works, “Dear George” and “Domestic Violence”, have also been produced by Jarvis & Ayres Productions as “Afternoon Reading” broadcasts for BBC Radio 4.

Cathy won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery (for THE CORPSE WITH THE PLATINUM HAIR) and was shortlisted again in 2017 (for THE CORPSE WITH THE GARNET FACE). “Steve’s Story”, which appears in The Whole She Bang 3, published by Sisters in Crime Toronto, was shortlisted for Best Short Story in the 2017 Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing.

Cathy is proud to be Chair of Crime Writers of Canada,  a member of Sisters in Crime, the Crime Writers Association, and Mystery Writers of America.

You can see Cathy's other Mystery Playground posts here and catch her on Twitter @AceCathy and Facebook

Now let's get to that book and drink...

In THE CASE OF THE UNSUITABLE SUITOR, readers are transported to the idyllic Welsh village of Anwen-by-Wye, where Henry Devereaux Twyst is terribly worried about the impact that an outbreak of mole activity will have on the annual croquet tournament that’s due to take place between the Chellingworth Champs (a team comprising those who live and work at stately Chellingworth Hall) and the Anwen Allcomers (those who live and work in the village).

It’s the height of the summer in Wales, and the croquet match is on everyone’s mind – though pub landlord Tudor Evans seems rather more worried about the village’s prodigal, Huw Hughes, who’s returned and set his cap at Annie Parker. Tudor approaches Carol Hill and Mavis MacDonald at the WISE Enquiries Agency, begging them to investigate exactly why the interloper Huw has been widowed three times, because he believes Annie’s life might be in danger. They agree, and – with the help of doughty dowager duchess Althea Twyst – they aim to unearth the truth. They also become embroiled in investigating a worrying case of vandalism, a bout of sickness which blights the village, and the death of the local doctor.

While the WISE women tackle their cases without her, Christine Wilson-Smythe is visiting her family’s estate in rural Ireland, hoping for a quiet break with her beau, the darkly handsome – if dangerous – Alexander Bright…but the pair is dragged into a dangerous situation involving illegal potcheen and some definitely unsavory types.

It’s clear that rural life isn’t the idyll it’s often cracked up to be in this, the fourth outing for Cathy Ace’s popular WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries.

When it comes to a drink to accompany this book, it’s August in Anwen, so a refreshing, gluggable drink is needed. Some think of Pimms as quintessentially English, and this book is set in Wales (and Ireland), but it’s drunk everywhere these days. 

(NB: there other Pimms numbered cups, and specially flavoured cups – you can check them out online.)

Pimms is an odd drink, and as British as the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency. Synonymous with languid British summer days it’s the perfect refresher when the temperature soars. Pimms No. 1 is a fruit cup – created by infusing gin with lots of botanicals. It was invented in 1840 by a man named Pimm who spotted that people stayed longer at his hostlery when they sipped, instead of downing, their gin. It can be drunk just mixed with lemonade (it really should be the clear, sweet, British-style of lemonade, not the cloudy, sharper, North American style of lemonade), or can be made with gin, which is where its base flavor comes from. For glugging on a hot afternoon, try it just with lemonade. The addition of strawberries and/or mint in the jug, and glass, is preferable, but Cathy Ace says the addition of cucumber is absolutely ESSENTIAL to give the classic Pimms taste.

Pimms No. 1 cup   - one bottle
Lemonade – 2 bottles
One cucumber
Strawberries (optional)
Mint sprigs (optional)

In a large jug, place a lot of ice, about one quarter of a cucumber, sliced thinly, and several strawberries, also sliced thinly.
Pour half a bottle of Pimms No. 1 cup into the jug
Pour an entire bottle of lemonade into the jug
Stir slowly and allow to chill
Pour over ice and top the glass with a wedge of cucumber, a strawberry, and a sprig of mint (if desired)
Repeat with another jug!!!
Cheers, folks!


  1. Thanks for having me, and the WISE women, along today. It's always fun to share drinks ideas, and this one is summer in a glass...great for drab winter days :-)

  2. This books sounds as much fun as an Agatha Raisin or Hamish Macbeth mystery and will definitely go on my TBR pile. Off to get some Pimms now.

    1. Hi Kerry - so pleased you like the sound of the book. Dare I say that, yes, Library Journal has said this series "...will delight MC Beaton readers..." WOOT! :-) Cheers!

  3. This book sounds wonderful and like going on a vacation. The drink looks beautiful and I could use on now!

    1. Hello Sharon - so pleased you like the sound of the book...and the drink, of course! :-)