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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Guest Author Post - Christine Husom

Please welcome Christine Husom, the author of the Winnebago County Mystery Series and the Snow Globe Shop Mystery Series, to our blog. 

Frosty The Dead Man, the third book in the Snow Globe Shop Mysteries is  out just in time for Christmas.  Ms Husom gives us a short excerpt as an early present.

Frosty The Dead Man Excerpt

Frosty The Dead Man, third in the Snow Globe Shop Mysteries, continues with most of the same characters it’s been a true pleasure for me to get to know the past few years.

Camryn Brooks is currently managing her parents’ business, Curio Finds, a shop that specializes in snow globes from around the world. Her childhood friend, Alice “Pinky” Nelson runs Brew Ha-Ha, a coffee shop in the building adjoining Curio Finds, and provides comic relief at the oddest times. Their other best friend is teacher and faithful helper, Erin Vickerman. She helps keep Cami and Pinky grounded. Brooks Landing Police Officer, Mark Weston, another forever friend, is there in good times and in bad, often trailing behind the assistant chief of police, Clinton Lonsbury. Clint and Cami agree on two things: they each find the other attractive and irritating at the same time.

When the book opens, Cami overhears Mayor Frost’s having separate conversations with several people who have bones to pick with him. One is a councilman who tells the mayor he’s giving up his seat on the city council. Later that day, Mayor Frost catches Cami completely off-guard when he pays her a visit. Here is a condensed version:

Mayor Frost came rushing into the shop like he was being chased. And with all the controversy swirling around him, maybe he was. He looked around like he was checking to see if we were still alone then moved close to me and lowered his voice. “I want you to submit your name to be considered for appointment to the city council.”

“What?” My ears must have been plugged because what I heard couldn’t have been what he said.

His bright blue eyes shone. “Throw your name in the hat for the council seat that’ll be opening up. You have as much political experience as anyone in town.”

“I worked for a senator researching legislative issues and policies.”

“Perfect! That’s what we need, someone who does her homework.” He clapped his hands together.

Pinky came into my shop and caught what must have been a doozy of a look on my face. And I knew my color was a deeper tone than usual, given how hot I felt. “Cami, are you all right?” She looked from me to Frost. “What’s going on?”

“I just gave her something to consider. To strongly consider. Stop by the office when you get a break, and we’ll hash it over some more.”

And when Cami went to see Mayor Frost later that afternoon, she makes a shocking discovery:

The near silence in the deserted office space was disquieting. It’ll be comforting to talk to a live person, I thought as I walked down the corridor that led to the individual offices. I stopped at the one with the nameplate Mayor Lewis Frost on it. He’d always talked about his open door policy, but it was closed shut at the moment.

I knocked and waited. No answer. I knocked again, a little louder, but still no answer. “Mayor Frost?” I called out and gave the door a final knock. I was about to leave when I noticed the light from his office was showing out from under the bottom of the door. Maybe he had earphones in and was listening to music, or the news, and couldn’t hear me. I’d seen him wearing a pair when he was taking walks.

After I’d convinced myself Frosty was working at his desk, connected to earphones and oblivious to the outside world, I turned the knob and pushed the door open. But he wasn’t at his desk, or anywhere else in sight. His chair was pushed aside, like he’d gotten up and left in a hurry. I was about to turn tail and leave when I saw what looked like the base of the snow globe the mayor had purchased mere hours before. It was lying on the floor near the desk, but the globe wasn’t next to it. What had happened?

I hoped Mayor Frost wouldn’t think I was snooping, but I crept over to see where the rest of it was. And when I found out the answer, there was no turning back. There were broken pieces of glass and wet snow flakes lying next to Mayor Frost who was sprawled out on the floor behind his desk.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you Miss Husom for that nice setup and excerpt.  It has me hooked already.

Here is a nice cookie recipe that goes with the "snow globe" theme of the book.

Pennsylvania Snow Drops

1 cup butter 
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 
2 teaspoons water 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon orange extract (optional) 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats 
1 (16 ounce) package white confectionery candy coating pieces (optional white chocolate) 
1 cup flaked coconut 
1 teaspoon colored candy sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place butter and confectioners' sugar into a mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until creamy and well combined. Stir in the water, salt, vanilla extract, orange extract, flour, and quick rolled oats to form a crumbly, dry dough. Pinch off about 1 1/2 tablespoon of dough per cookie, roll into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are lightly browned, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool to a warm temperature.

While cookies are baking, place the confectionery candy pieces into a microwave-safe bowl, and cook in microwave oven with low power for about 10 seconds at a time, stirring once the candy begins to melt, until the coating is liquid, smooth and warm (not hot).

Dip the still-warm cookies in the white coating, and place on prepared baking sheet to cool. Careful, they will crumble easily. Can dip just one side, not entire cookie, if easiest. While coating is still liquid, sprinkle each cookie with flaked coconut. Decorate some cookies with candy sprinkles, if desired. You can also spoon the coating over the cookies while still on the baking sheet before decorating with the coconut and sprinkles.


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