Authors: Josi S. Kilpack
Tags: #Cozy Mystery
The Reviews Are In—and They Are Delicious!
“I couldn’t put it down! I love, love, love this book. Sadie is more lovable than Regan Reilly, Goldy Bear, and James Qwilleran—all rolled together!”
— Whit Larson, http://www.MormonMomCast.com
“Lemon Tart was delicious! Sadie’s curiosity, determination, and good old-fashioned pluck made her one of the most delightful characters I’ve ever met in a book. Finding that all my guesses about whodunit were wrong made for an exciting and clever ending to a satisfying mystery.”
— Julie Wright, author of My Not-So-Fairy-Tale Life, http://www
“Josi Kilpack’s new book Lemon Tart takes everything I love about a culinary mystery—the food, the humor, the intrigue—and blends it all at high speed with a dash of spice in the form of our main character, Sadie. A must-read for those who enjoy well-crafted mysteries.”
— Tristi Pinkston, http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com
“Mystery-lovers will be entranced with Josi Kilpack’s cozy mystery, Lemon Tart. Amateur sleuth/busybody neighbor Sadie Hoffmiller is funny, quirky, and just the person to uncover the right clues and get her neighborhood back to normal. With a little romance and a lot of yummy baking, I had fun trying to guess whodunit until the very end.”
— H. B. Moore, award-winning author of the Out of Jerusalem series and Abinadi, http://www.mywriterslair.blogspot.com
“Lemon Tart is an absolutely scrumptious culinary mystery. It not only kept me guessing, but also had my taste buds demanding I make the included recipes. I’m very excited about this new series by Josi S. Kilpack!”
— T. Danyelle Ferguson, http://www.queenoftheclan.blogspot.com
~ ~ ~
Her Good Name
Devil’s Food Cake (to be released Spring 2010)
To my Breanna—Thank you for being you and blessing my life every day. Love ya, Babe.
© 2009 Josi S. Kilpack
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher, Deseret Book Company, >P. O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130. This work is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The views expressed herein are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church or of Deseret Book Company.
All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Deseret Book is a registered trademark of Deseret Book Company.
Visit us at DeseretBook.com
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Kilpack, Josi S.
English trifle / Josi S. Kilpack.
ISBN 978-1-60641-121-6 (paperbound)
1. Cooks—Fiction. 2. Mothers and daughters—Fiction. 3. Manors—Fiction. >4. Murder—Investigation—Fiction. 5. England—Fiction. I. Title.
Printed in the United States of America
Sheridan Books, Chelsea, MI
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
~ ~ ~
Is it just me or does it feel like the staff wants us to leave?” Sadie Hoffmiller asked after the door of the sitting room shut behind them.
“It’s just you, Mom.” Breanna sat on one of the damask-covered settees and kicked out one leg so that she slumped into the seat. She managed to look perfectly bohemian in the elegant room. “They’re probably anxious to get back to their regular routine.”
“Hmmm, maybe,” Sadie replied, but she wasn’t convinced. If not for the fact that Breanna had a lot to deal with right now, Sadie would have tried to dissect the situation a little more; however, she could sense that with their departure only minutes away, her daughter was on overload. Sadie didn’t want to add to her stress.
Instead, she sat down across from Breanna as if being in the sitting room of an English estate was an everyday occurrence instead of an unforeseen shift in Breanna’s possible future. That Breanna hadn’t known Liam was heir apparent to an earldom when she fell in love with him hadn’t made the adjustment any easier, but it had become the reason they’d come to England in the first place. Liam’s father—William Everet Martin Jr., ninth Earl of Garnett—had been ill for several months and Liam needed to see to some matters of the estate, necessitating he travel to England a week before Christmas. Sadie and Breanna had been invited to join him between Christmas and New Year’s, while Breanna was out of school, in order to meet the earl and tour the country of Liam’s birth. They’d spent one night at Southgate before leaving to see nearly everything else in England, returning only the night before last. Sadie couldn’t imagine how they’d have thrown off the staff’s routine when they’d been at the estate for such a short time. “It just seems to me that they’re in a hurry for us to go back home.”
“Well, they’ve got their hands full with the earl. I’m sure having guests—and foreign guests at that—is nothing more than an irritation.”
Liam had had an extra week to adjust to his father’s declining health, but admitted that he hadn’t even recognized his father; he’d aged tremendously in the four years since Liam had seen him in person. Breanna suggested they forgo the sightseeing, but Liam assured them that the earl wouldn’t want them to spend the week hovering when there was nothing any of them could do.
“Is Liam okay?” Sadie asked. She’d seen very little of him since their return to the estate. Once Liam’s father passed on, Liam would inherit the title of earl, and the weight of the impending responsibility sat heavily on his shoulders now that the fun portion of the trip was over. He’d spent nearly every moment either at his father’s bedside or in the library, poring over the history and accounts of the earldom, wanting to learn all he could before he returned to his other life in Portland, Oregon, where he supervised the bat exhibit at the Washington Park Zoo.
Breanna looked at her hands in her lap. She was wearing a T-shirt that said Keep It Clean, Keep It Green. “I don’t know,” she said quietly. “He’s not sure when he’ll be able to come back home. If he could, I’m sure he’d stay here.”
Sadie wasn’t so sure he couldn’t stay—he was going to be an earl after all; why worry about something as inconsequential as his job? “It must be hard to leave with his dad still so sick,” Sadie said sympathetically. Both of Sadie’s parents were gone now, and losing them had been second in heartache only to her husband’s premature death almost twenty years ago. Nothing quite compared to losing people close to you even if, like Liam and his father, there had been half a world between you for most of your life.
Breanna let out a breath and nodded.
“And how about you?” Sadie asked, peering at her daughter in the hopes of reading her expression should she choose not to be forthcoming. “How do you feel about leaving?”
Breanna flicked her green eyes up to meet her mother’s, then stared back into her lap. She shrugged one shoulder like a thirteen-year-old girl, instead of a twenty-four-year-old woman facing the decision of a lifetime. Would she one day marry Liam and live the rest of her life as the Countess of Garnett? It was a subject she’d avoided talking about. For Breanna—earthy, easygoing, and hardworking—to consider living a life full of social functions, obligatory friendships, and a lifestyle disproportionate to that of her neighbors, would be difficult. Her world was nothing like this one. For a moment Sadie thought her daughter might be ready to discuss it now that the visit was almost behind them, but then Breanna’s face broke into a smile. “Let’s see,” she said, a tease in her voice. “How do I feel about leaving?” She tapped her chin with feigned consternation. “I simply can’t wait to eat a freaking Ho Ho.”
“A Ho Ho?” Sadie said, pulling back in pure disgust. “We’ve been surrounded by the finest of English cuisine for the last week and you want a Ho Ho?”
“The very words English cuisine are pretty much an oxymoron. It’s bland, it’s weird—mushrooms for breakfast? Come on! They served pigeons for dinner at that one place in York, Mom. Can you honestly tell me that a Big Mac isn’t screaming your name about now?”
“Those were Cornish hens,” Sadie reprimanded. “And they were delicious. The rosemary sauce was nothing short of amazing.”
Breanna waved her hand, as if unwilling to even consider the possibility. “Hostess and McDonald’s are not multibillion dollar companies for no reason.” Breanna smiled as if she’d won the argument. “Oh, I liked the English trifle from the other night—that was delicious.”
Sadie couldn’t help but smile at the memory. She made the layered dessert every Christmas, but had never had it with real ladyfingers and custard pudding made from scratch. “It was excellent, wasn’t it?” She couldn’t wait to go home and make it herself to see if she could match Mrs. Land’s. Now that she’d actually had real English trifle, she knew what to shoot for.
Breanna nodded as the door opened. Sadie straightened in her chair, all things forgiven and all senses on alert because there was food on the tray! Scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam, and tea, to be exact—a cream tea, for which Devonshire was famous. The scones—pronounced so that scone rhymed with the word gone—were not the deep-fried American kind, rather they were like a sweet biscuit that fairly melted in your mouth. Grant, the butler, placed the tea tray on a small table. “Your final tea,” he said as he righted the tea cups on the saucers. “As soon as you finish here, you’ll be on your way to Heathrow. Your bags are being loaded as we speak.”
Aha, more proof that the staff was practically pushing them out the door. Their flight didn’t leave until ten o’clock tonight—nearly seven hours from now—and it was only three hours to London. Why the rush? But she simply smiled at the man, watching his expression carefully.
“We can pour,” Sadie said when he reached for the teapot. It felt funny to be waited on all the time and she took every opportunity to be self-sufficient. “And I hope the driver is okay to wait for a little while; we’d hate to rush.” She thought she caught a flicker of irritation in Grant’s expression, but he nodded his head and took a step backward toward the door, as professional as ever.
“Of course,” he said. “I’ll let the driver know he can turn off the engine.”
Grant nodded once more when he reached the door, reminded them to ring the bell by the fireplace if they needed assistance, and then left the room. As soon as he was gone, Sadie leaned forward. “They weren’t even going to shut off the engine,” she said smugly. “They’d probably send us out there with Dixie cups and the scones wrapped in a napkin if they could.”
“Mom, please,” Breanna said, reaching for her scone. “Can we just enjoy these last few minutes?”
Oh, fine, Sadie said to herself. She was willing to put off nearly anything when there was food in need of savoring. She picked up, split, and jammed a scone before topping it with a dollop of clotted cream.
“Are you sure you want to bother with the scone at all?” Sadie asked, raising her eyebrows toward the treat in her daughter’s hand. “Seeing as how these scones aren’t loaded with trans fats or preservatives? I mean, they don’t even have any artificial coloring, for goodness’ sake.”