Edith/Maddie here, happy to welcome a fellow Californian to the blog. Laura Walker has a debut mystery out in September and comes highly recommended by last week’s guest, Catriona McPherson.
Here’s the blurb: Everyone in Lake Potawatomi, Wisconsin, knows Teddie St. John. Tall, curly-haired Teddie is a superb baker, a bohemian bon vivant, a grateful breast cancer survivor, and a mystery writer. Teddie is walking her American Eskimo Gracie, when her four-legged friend finds Teddie’s missing silk scarf. Only problem: the scarf is tied tightly around the neck of the fiancée of a touring British author. Before you can say “Wisconsin kringle,” Teddie becomes a murder suspect. With the help of her Three Musketeers friends Sharon and Char, can Teddie clear her name and deliver a killer’s just desserts?
Take it away, Laura!
Thank you so much to Edith and the Wickeds for welcoming this debut cozy mystery author—and to my friend, the fun and lovely Catriona McPherson, for introducing me to Edith. As a newbie to the mystery writing community, I was eager and excited to meet many of my fellow mystery authors and readers at Bouchercon, but, unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans. I’m grateful and honored to launch my first mystery, Murder Most Sweet, here with the wonderful Wickeds. (I still can’t believe I wrote a mystery! How cool is that?) I’m loving this genre and my return to writing.
Murder Most Sweet is a tribute to my Racine, Wisconsin childhood and my Danish/Norwegian grandmother who baked the most delicious, delectable treats. I credit Grandma Florence, along with the Danish bakeries of my hometown, for my lifelong sweet tooth. Racine is the “kringle capital of the world.” (Kringle is a yummy, butter-layered Danish pastry first introduced to Racine in the late 1800s by immigrant Danish bakers. It is now Wisconsin’s official state pastry.)
My sister and I would walk to my grandma’s daily after school. When we pushed open the front door of Grandma’s house on a cold winter’s day, we were enveloped by warmth and the mouth-watering aromas of her delicious homemade sweets and treats. Every day was a fresh-baked surprise: Cookies of every kind—sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chip, oatmeal-raisin, chocolate-crinkle, and more. Warm, deep-fried doughnuts sprinkled with powdered sugar. Crullers. Apple crisp. Cinnamon rolls. Brownies. Pies. Cakes. (I especially loved her chocolate cake with the boiled frosting that cracked when I bit into it.) When my grandma passed away my freshman year in high school, it was the end of a baking era.
It wasn’t until we moved to Phoenix when I was fourteen that I discovered the delectable Danish pastries and mouthwatering baked goods I grew up with as a normal part of everyday life did not exist elsewhere in America. Definitely not in dry, dusty Arizona. This was a terrible shock to my sweet tooth system. No more cherry or apple kringle warmed with butter for breakfast on weekend mornings? No more Seven Sisters? (Seven Danish pastry rolls baked together to form a round coffee cake with luscious custard filling and almond paste.) No more special Napoleon kringle with its rich custard filling at wedding showers and baby showers? No more delicious Danish layer cake with its ribbons of raspberry and custard filling and thick buttercream frosting with fat buttercream roses the grown-ups always gave me at every birthday party and wedding? Sacrilege. Happily, I can now occasionally get my kringle fix from Trader Joe’s. (Imported from one of our famous Racine bakeries of course.)
Readers: What favorite baked treat from your childhood (baked by your grandmother, grandfather, mom, dad, favorite aunt, or local bakery) still sets your mouth to watering today? To celebrate the September release of Murder Most Sweet, Laura is giving away an ARC. Just leave a comment to enter.
Laura Jensen Walker has loved mysteries ever since she read Trixie Belden in the fourth grade in her Danish-founded hometown of Racine, Wisconsin—America’s kringle capital. The author of several fun and frothy chick-lit novels and humorous non-fiction books, including Thanks for the Mammogram! Laura lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband and their canine daughter, Mellie. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
You can preorder the book at: