My Favorite Ingredients for a Mystery by Shari Randall

Christi King is the winner of Drawn and Buttered. Watch for an email from Shari!

I am delighted to welcome back talented author and amazing woman Shari Randall! If you haven’t read her delightful Lobster Shack mysteries you need to right now. Shari is giving away a copy of Drawn and Buttered! Look for details below!

Thanks for having me back, Wickeds! I love visiting you here and love it even more when I can see you in person.

Sherry asked me to tell you about my new book, Drawn and Buttered. Of all the Lobster Shack Mysteries, this one was the most fun to write, because I took to heart some writing advice. Annie Dillard said, “Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.”

Many ingredients give a savory chowder or stew deep flavor. It’s the same with story elements. I wanted to give this book as much flavor – and twists and turns and fun – as possible. So I decided to add all the elements that I like to find in a mystery, starting with setting.

Since I started writing the series, I’ve been dying to set a book at Halloween. It made sense to set the earlier books in the summer – the Lazy Mermaid is a waterfront lobster shack that caters to tourists.

With a Halloween setting, I was able to bring in the beauty of New England’s autumn foliage, the chill in the air that makes it fun to wear a cozy sweater, the lengthening shadows falling from a church steeple onto Mystic Bay’s town green, and the spooky feel of darker days.

What are some of the other ingredients in Drawn and Buttered? Black swan ballerinas, old cemeteries, family secrets, urban legends, psychics, swordplay, glamorous Halloween parties, fraternities, hidden libraries, two rare Russian Blue cats named Raisa and Rudy, sexy professors, absent minded professors, broken taboos, a super-sized crustacean named Lobzilla, plus the secret recipe for Aunt Gully’s New England Clam Chowder….

Whew! These are just a few of the ingredients in Drawn and Buttered. I hope you enjoy!

Readers: Do you have a favorite time of year you like books to be set in?

GIVEAWAY #giveaway Tell us about your favorite Halloween treat  and one lucky commenter will win a copy of Drawn and Buttered! US and CAN only please.

Shari Randall is the author of the Lobster Shack Mystery series from St. Martin’s Press. The first in series, Curses, Boiled Again has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. A native New Englander, Shari has worked as an editor and children’s librarian. She enjoys dancing, reading, yard sales, and all things mermaid.

77 Thoughts

  1. As long as the story is great, the time of the year doesn’t matter so much. And my favorite treat any time of year is peanut butter cups!

  2. I love holiday themed mysteries. I have a few bookshelves reserved for these types of books. My favorite treat would be the special color M&M’s.

    1. I used to work in a library – I love that you have your bookshelves in order! When I was a little girl I was convinced that the red ones tasted best!

  3. I like Christmas-themed cozies. Halloween is a close second. My favorite Halloween treat — peanut butter cups.

  4. My favorite season is fall, so I love books set in that season. And my favorite Halloween treat is candy corn. Congratulations on the new release!

    1. Thanks, Autumn! Fall is my favorite, too. Candy corn is definitely seasonal for me – I love it at Halloween but not the rest of the year. Can you even get it during the rest of the year?

      1. Yes, it’s just not as prominent. And you can’t get it in those fun fall colors at any other time of the year, either.

  5. Those are perfect elements, Shari! Congratulations on the new book – I can’t wait to read it. My favorite Halloween treat are Baby Ruths. I don’t let myself eat them the rest of the year, but always get an extra bag at Halloween because I know it won’t last until trick or treating.

  6. I read books set during any season. Fortunately dark chocolate peanut butter cups are available year round.

  7. Your book sounds great, Shari! I don’t really have a favorite time of year for books, but I do enjoy those set near Halloween. As for my favorite Halloween treat, I’ve always been partial to chocolate anything.

  8. Seasons don’t matter to me. Favorite Halloween candy? That’s a hard one as I like pretty much any candy. If I had to choose, it would be Peanut Butter Cups and Three Musketeers mini bites.

  9. Congratulations fellow lobster lady! I’ve just handed in a Halloween novella and I’m submitting a Columbus Day Maine Clambake novel tomorrow, so I know all about fall books! Good luck with it. Love the cover.

    1. Thanks, Barb! I can’t wait to read your new books – I especially love that you’re doing holiday novellas. They’re so much fun to read – and write!

  10. I don’t really have a favorite time of the year for books to be set in, just like reading them! Favorite Halloween treat…. I’d have to say those little rolls of sweet tarts. My fave since childhood! Renee

    1. Hi Renee! Oh I LOVE those! And they have to be the little ones. Once my kids bought me a supersize roll of Sweet tarts and they didn’t taste the same.

  11. My favorite homemade Halloween treat has to be when my Mom made her delicious caramel popcorn balls. My favorite bought treat was the Mary Jane peanut butter kisses. What I think made them so yummy and sought out way back when was because they weren’t available any other time of the year. You looked forward to them with great expectation a groaned with the last one was eaten knowing you had months to wait for the next one so you savored every morsel while you could.

    I love books in all seasons. It’s a way to enjoy that season year round. It can get you in the spirit of the upcoming season or having you feeling all wintry in the summer or vice versa. Seasons like Halloween bring out the kid in all of us while Christmas often reminds us of our childhood and fond memories and Valentine brings the heart and mind together.

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy of “Drawn and Buttered”!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Hi Kay! Your comment about homemade treats brought back good memories. Our neighbors made caramel popcorn balls at Halloween – their kitchen smelled so good! Back then many people made treats. I remember going into one neighbor’s kitchen in my Halloween costume, sitting down at the table, and having still-warm molasses cookies and cider. Those were the days!

  12. I try not to buy candy to give away that I like in case we have it left over after Halloween. But sometimes I can’t resist getting a bag of Mounds bars–my favorite.

  13. “Drawn and Buttered”… that title may just get my husband reading cozies! I love the fall setting in New England! IF I was still eating sugar, my favorite Halloween treat is candy corn mixed with salted peanuts, and only around Halloween. But I absolutely love your inclusion of two Russian Blue cats, as I have two myself: Moxie and Moshie.
    Best wishes on your new book!

  14. Thank you, Laurie! I love your cats’ names! Russian blues are the most beautiful cats and supposedly among the most intelligent, which is saying something. Good luck – and I hope your husband gives cozies a try.

  15. Welcome back, Shari! A long time ago I went to a writing workshop at the Smithsonian and the teacher said the same thing — to throw everything in and not to save it. I think it can be hard and scary to do because there’s the critical part of your brain that tells you might never have another idea! Thanks for joining us!

    1. Thanks for having me back – alway so much fun to visit! I’m glad I’m not alone in that “I’ll never have another idea” – somehow we all soldier on 🙂

  16. My fav Halloween Candy is Reese’s peanut butter cups. Welcome back Shari!!!! Can’t wait to read your books one day.

  17. Inspiring advice, Shari! I’m thrilled to see how well your series is doing, and I hope we get to catch up in person sometime! Congratulations!

    1. Hi Mark! So glad and relieved you liked it! But what’s your favorite candy? 😉

  18. I love the pumpkin shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups. Or, you know, anything chocolate…

  19. I love a lot of elements in a book as long as they don’t overtake the story, or make it confusing. Drawn and Buttered sounds like a lot of fun and I would love to win a copy.

  20. Any chocolate – peanut butter combination, preferably Reese’s pb cups or Butterfinger bars. Would love to read this!

  21. Hi Shari, I enjoyed your post and agree that Halloween is a fun time for a mystery. Last month I submitted my Halloween mystery and had fun with it. I’m looking forward to reading yours and seeing you soon in VA.

    1. Hi Mary Ann – can’t wait to read your Halloween story! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  22. While I love chocolate anytime, LOL, I have to say I’m a big fan of apples and caramel dip during Halloween time. Something about it just screams FALL! This series sounds great… another great cozy to add to my list! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Cris! Apples and caramel – you are right, they just taste like fall.

  23. I love cozies set around any holiday.
    My favorite Halloween is anything dark chocolate & nut free

  24. I love books set at Halloween & any chocolate candy is a favorite. Thanks for the great post & giveaway.

  25. I look forward to reading this! Thanks for this chat and giveaway! I can read holiday cozies anytime and my favorite Halloween treats are sliced apples with caramel slathered all over them and caramel popcorn balls..both of which I eat all year long! The weekend is close, everyone be safe!

  26. No favorite time of year for book settings. My favorite Halloween candy is Almond Joy – only time of year I buy them.

  27. Catchy Title! Would love to win and read. Adding to my TBR list.
    Thanks for sharing with us. My favorite Halloween treat is homemade popcorn balls! Nothing better!

  28. Peanut butter cups, of course. But I’d never turn down a Snickers…I can’t WAIT to start the next Lobster Shack Mystery! You ROCK, Shari Randall!

  29. My favorite holiday themed mystery books are Christmas, then Halloween, then any other holiday. I keep my books in author order, but I also have a group of random holiday books. My favorite candy is peanut M&M’s.

  30. I don’t have a favorite time of year for the settings of books & my favorite candy is Peanut M&Ms.

  31. My favorite Halloween candy is Kit Kats. I try to save a few for myself. Your new book sounds great!

  32. KitKat is my favorite and I do like holiday books, Halloween and Christmas the most.

  33. I really like the holiday themed books. I try to stay away from a lot of candy, so I’d say my favorite treat is watching my grands dress up and be so excited for the candy they get.

  34. I adore your books Shari and any season works for me. I am not partial to seasons in books but don’t like the weather too hot otherwise but I’m fine reading about summer. So anything goes for me.

    As to candy, I tend to like dark chocolate but due to food allergies it is tricky to buy without scrutinizing all the ingredients so I make a lot of homemade fudge with pure ingredients. But peanut butter cups will pass inspection “in an emergency”.

    Would be thrilled to win your book and would share it with my daughter. She reads her books at work during her lunch time and many people get their book ideas from her and her reading. My physical therapist buys every book I’m reading as she now lives cozies from just knowing me as a patient!

    Best of everything.


  35. I love to read books with a Fall setting. I enjoyed the first book in this series and was thrilled to read it has been nominated for an Agatha Award.

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