Guest Leslie Karst and the Sixth Sense plus #giveaway

News Flash: Adrienne is Leslie’s lucky winner – congratulations, and please check your email!

Edith/Maddie here, writing from north of Boston where we are happily awash in fresh local produce.

Good food is something my guest Leslie Karst appreciates, and she’s here to celebrate the release of A Sense for Murder, her latest Sally Solari mystery! I love this series and can’t wait to read the newest installment.

Here’s the blurb: It’s the height of the tourist season in Santa Cruz, California, and Sally Solari has her hands full, both juggling crowds of hungry diners at her French-Polynesian restaurant Gauguin, as well as appeasing her father, who’s distressed at the number of homeless people camped out in front of Solari’s, the family’s Italian seafood restaurant out on the historic fisherman’s wharf.   Nevertheless, when Sally gets the opportunity to volunteer at a farm-to-table dinner taking place at the hip new restaurant and culinary bookshop Pages and Plums, she seizes the chance. Not only is it a fundraiser for an organization aiding the homeless and seniors, but up for auction at the event is a signed boxset of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Sally’s hero, the renowned chef Julia Child.   But then the Pages and Plums dining room manager turns up dead—the locked cabinet containing the precious books now empty—and the irrepressible Sally once again finds herself up to her neck in a criminal investigation. She may have a sense for murder, but can Sally outwit a devious killer with a taste for French cooking before the villain makes mincemeat of her, too?

The Sixth Sense

My brand new mystery, A Sense for Murder, is the sixth in the Sally Solari culinary series. As some of you may know, all the books in the series contain little “Easter eggs,” in that each concerns one of the five senses:   Dying for a Taste is (duh!) taste; A Measure of Murder (in which Sally joins a chorus performing the magnificent—and mysterious—Mozart Requiem)—focuses on hearing; Death al Fresco (which concerns plein air painting) is about vision; Murder from Scratch (in which Sally’s blind cousin assists her in solving the case) concerns the sense of touch; and in The Fragrance of Death, poor Sally loses her sense of smell.  

So for this sixth book in the series, I clearly needed to bring in something about the so-called “sixth sense.”  

The problem is, neither Sally nor I are what you’d call “woo-woo” people. Quite the opposite, actually, as we’re both skeptics to the highest degree, and have never seen a ghost, had a “premonition” about the future, or made contact with anyone in the so-called “spirit realm.”  

As I was pondering the plot for this new book, however, I thought about Sally’s Aunt Letta, whom I killed off in book one in the series. And ever since, I’ve regretted that decision, for as I got to know Letta better while completing the book, I realized how much I loved this globe-trotting, restaurant-owning, black-sheep-of-the-family gal.   As did Sally.  

And then it occurred to me, why not use this as an opportunity to bring Letta back into the story—to make her a character once again in this sixth book? Sally misses Letta so very much that she starts to wonder, what if it were possible to communicate with her dead aunt? Not that she really believes that woo-woo stuff, she chides herself, but….what if…?

And so, among many other things—including a murdered dining room manager, a stolen signed copy of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Sally’s father fuming about all the homeless people camped out in front of his restaurant, Solari’s—A Sense for Murder serves as a gift to all those who, like me, wanted to bring Letta back to life, at least in Sally’s mind.

Readers: Have you ever had a supernatural experience—or at at least ever wanted to have one?  I’ll send the new Sally Solari mystery, A Sense for Murder, to one of you.

Leslie Karst is the author of the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari mystery series and Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, and Cooking for RBG. After years waiting tables and singing in a new wave rock band, she decided she was ready for a “real” job and ended up at Stanford Law School. It was during her career as an attorney that Leslie rediscovered her youthful passion for food and cooking and once more returned to school—this time to earn a degree in culinary arts. Now retired from the law, Leslie spends her time cooking, cycling, gardening, observing cocktail hour promptly at five o’clock, and of course writing. She and her wife split their time between Santa Cruz, California and Hilo, Hawai‘i.  

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52 Thoughts

  1. Congrats on your recent book release. I’ve seen and felt the presence of the supernatural.

  2. Congrats on your newest book release. I’ve had a lot of dreams lately with friends and family that are no longer with us. I think they are trying to tell me something. Sometimes I hear voices and there is no one there. Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  3. Hell and congratulations on the release of Justice is Served. I honestly do not know however there are times I swear someone is here with me like my dad or Nonna or something.

  4. Yes, I have. After my mom passed away I moved in with my dad to help ease the transition to living alone. My mom was an excellent homemaker so Dad needed help with learning to do all the tasks and chores mom had always done during their long, traditional marriage.

    We had planned to go out to dinner one night. I took care of a friend’s baby on one of my days off from work. She was out of town and her husband called me in the late afternoon to tell me he was going to be late getting home. When I called my dad to tell him I was going to be llate there was no answer. I knew instantly that there was something wrong. I could just feel it in my bones. There was no reason for me to think that anything was wrong. My dad could have been out walking the dog or running errands. But when the answering machine picked up once more when I tried calling again I felt certain my dad had passed away. And, sadly, I was right. I could see the house was completely dark as I approached it. I found my dad laying on the floor in his bedroom, the mail on the bed. I have no idea how I knew that my dad had died but I did. I had never had a strong knowing like that before or since.

  5. Yes, i have had supernatural experiences, the one that sticks out mostly in my memory is a very old, old farmhouse I babysat at in my teens. Very strange sounds – footsteps going up and down steps that weren’t there (found out later the family had renovated and removed those stairs), shadow people, just an eerie old house.

    1. Yikes–I would have been terrified! (Of course, I used to get scared watching “Mannix” on TV late at night when I babysat as a teenager, so I’m clearly easily frightened.)

  6. Congratulations on the release of “A Sense for Murder”!

    Although I’ve been “open” to such things, my logical mind can always find reason for things happening that the answer to the question is NO. When we went to Tombstone and friends to Emmett Kelly Jr. whose house was reportedly haunted by a young girl murdered there years ago, we were invited with some others to visit his front porch late one evening where “events” had taken place before. Yes we did smell a scent of a perfume that smelled like your elderly relative might have used and yes there were noises as something hitting the porch and yes there were little pebbles on the porch when we turned the lights on. However, in my mind, it can all be explained by something doing something to keep the image of the house being haunted alive. Now mind you, I don’t believe it was Emmett, but with several locals there too…………

    Another time we went to the haunted mansion in Springfield, MO with a group we were with. Again a night event in this empty, old building. They kept saying look at the spirits floating in the air. All we saw were speak floating. To me, that was just dust floating in the air being seen by the lights of the flashlights. If that’s ghost, my house is full of them when the sun shines through.

    As with most things, I won’t say they don’t exist, but until it can be proven to me and I can’t find a way to discount it as something normal, all I can say is it hasn’t happen to me.

    Thank you so much for the chance to win a copy of your newest book, which is most definitely on my TBR list and I’m dying to read. I would love the opportunity to read and review it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. We’re clearly kindred souls, Kay, as I’m exactly the same as you in this regard–there’s always a logical, scientific explanation, in my mind. Or has been up to this point, in any case. 🙂

  7. The simple answer is no. I lost my Gran when I was 8 and have pined to see her ever since. She was just so wonderful- to spend even a little more time with her would be lovely!
    Looking forward to reading your books- I’m so glad to have learned about them this morning.

  8. Congratulations on your new book!! I haven’t had any supernatural experience. I do enjoy reading about it though!

    Thanks for the chance!

  9. Congratulations, Leslie! Your newest chapter in the Sally Solari series sounds fascinating! I do not really believe in the supernatural, though I am entertained by mystery books that contain ghosts or unexplained events. Halloween mystery books with ghosts and “apparitions” are fun to read to get in the spirit of the season. It is all in fun, and we thank you and all authors for the huge effort it must be to write a book. My writing skills are perfect for emails or leaving comments herein 🙂 Thank you so much again for entertaiuning us with your amazing books! Luis at ole dot travel

    1. Thank you for the sweet comment, Luis! And yes, I agree–it’s great fun to read about ghosts and other supernatural events, especially in “the season”!

  10. Sometimes I’m a skeptic like you, but other times strane coincidences make me question reality. Either way, I think it’s a clever and delightful way to resuscitate a character. I have tried a couple of times to work the paranormal into my plots but I don’t think it comes naturally to me. Sounds like you’ve nailed it. Congratulations!

  11. Congratulations to Leslie on the latest Sally Solari book, I enjoy reading the stories, trying my hand at the mouth watering recipes. I do like a touch of the paranormal in my cozies but have never experienced anything supernatural myself. I do think that there are more things to heaven and earth than we realize so I try to keep an open mind. Thank you Maddie, for the opportunity to win this newest Sally adventure!

    1. Good point, Tracy–there are absolutely many many things that we humans have no understanding or perception of, so who knows what’s truly out there?

  12. I wasn’t aware of this series, but I’m sure happy I found it, thanks to the Wickeds.I’m not a religious person a all, but I love to visit the San Xavier Mission in Tucson. Long before I was ever thought of, my father was a monk there. He never completed his vows, which was unfortunate for him at the time but fortunate for me many years later. Whenever I visit there, I can very much feel his presence and hear him talking to me. He is very much with me all the time. He died in 1974.

    1. Lol, Ginny–yes, very fortunate for you! I feel the same way about my parents, who both died in the last few years: they are very much still with me.

  13. Congratulations on your new release! I do believe in the supernatural and after my father passed away I kept his car and drove it for awhile and every once in awhile the lights inside the car would flicker on and off and I could feel his presence with me.

  14. As my mom was dying, I told her to let me know if there was something after death, if she could. I say, “do something, like flicker the lights or turn on some music.” Months later, quite unexpectedly, I woke from a sound sleep to find the overhead light blazing its bright light. I guarantee I did not go to sleep with this on. I live alone. I got up and turned off the light and said, “Hi Mom.” It was really nice.

  15. I never have. Not sure if I believe it not but the stories are fun. My friend and her sister have always sworn their childhood house was haunted, though I never saw anything when I was over. That house is gone now and they didn’t notice that the ghost moved into the new house.

  16. I liked the way you brought back Letta. It felt like a full circle moment. And, as a skeptic myself, the way you handled the sixth sense was perfect. (No need to enter me in the giveaway.)

  17. Congratulations! Your book sounds intriguing and unique. Yes, I have had if not supernatural experiences then many premonitions. Good and bad throughout my life which have taught me a great deal.

  18. Congratulations on the release! I remember after my father passed away I had one of those touch lamps in my room. The light came on without me touching it. I was like okay because it could happen. It freaked me out though so I unplugged it and then it came on again. That was it for me!! No more.The lamp was outside in the trash the next day.

    1. Yikes! I can imagine that would be very disconcerting, Susan! I’d love to know if it continued to light up once in the trash….

  19. I wouldn’t mind having a supernatural experience but I’ve never had one

  20. No. I have never had one and it would depend on whether they were violent or not as to whether or not I would want to.

  21. We have a ghost dog or two living in our house. Punkin died here and then much later Needa did also. They were great dogs and we never had them long enough. Cancer and heart disease got them even though we did all we could to save them. Anyway. After Needa died, a neighbor driving by the house saw her looking out the window as she was wont to do. Then when we brought Texie home, she was one of 12 and when you put food down, she rushed the bowl because she was basically the runt. Then about a week later, all of a sudden, she sat and waited for us to put the bowl down and release her. Needa was not allowed upstairs or on furniture and Texie never even tried to do either of those things (She doesn’t need to as she has two to three beds in the family room and some other beds in other rooms as she sleeps on her blankies also). I could go on with some more stories, but you get the Ghost Dog.

    1. If I ever have a ghost living in my house, I hope it’s a ghost dog! (As long as it doesn’t howl at night and keep me awake…)

  22. I am not sure if it would be considered a sixth sense or an angel. In the predawn hours in the beginning of February our dog started nugging the bed to wake me up. I thought he wanted outside. I told him to lay down it was too early to go out. He persisted. I finally got out of bed and went to the bathroom. I decided to do my devotions since I was already awake. In the meantime, our dog who was a large dog, wiggled his way between my legs and the bathtub. After I turned out the light in the bathroom to make it back to our room, there was smoke in the hall. I hurried up to get dressed. We made it down the stairs. The fire was not in our unit. I was able to get the dog on his leash as well as my coat on and my purse.

    My Mom lived across the street. As we left the house, I saw a gentleman who was walking to the corner. My Mom was out of bed at the door. She told me that their was a gentleman who persistently kept knocking on her door telling her that she needed to get up that I needed her.

    Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

  23. Congratulations on your book! I was somewhat of a skeptic until I went to a group dinner a couple of months ago with a medium there. She said my dad was “pounding on the door” to speak to me. She told me things that there is just no way she or anyone else would know. Since then, it’s brought me an unbelieveable peace.

  24. Congratulations on this book. Nope nothing for me to report but you never know!

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