I’m always excited when H.Y. Hanna releases a new book in her Oxford Tearoom Mystery series! You can count on a title with a clever pun, a good mystery, charming characters, and a delicious traditional British recipe. Her newest release, FOUR PUDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, the sixth book in the series, certainly does not disappoint! The protagonist, Gemma Rose, owns Little Stables Tearoom. Her fairly new business is taking off and she’s catering a funeral, the largest job she’s ever had. Mabel Cooke, one of the members of the “Old Biddies” group is overhead talking about how she would commit murder and not long afterwards, the widow drops dead at her husband’s funeral…just after eating some of the puddings Gemma’s tearoom provided. By the way, in England puddings refer to a variety of desserts and isn’t limited to the custards American’s call pudding.
The four “Old Biddies” bring lighthearted humor to the story with their unhealthy interest in solving murders, especially when one of their own becomes a suspect. I love how they drag Gemma into trouble when she’s only trying to keep them from being arrested. It makes for some very humorous situations. H.Y. Hanna has a wonderful cast of characters in each of her books, including her darling tabby, Muesli. In FOUR PUDDINGS AND A FUNERAL we are also introduced to an adorable hedgehog, Pricklebum, and as a result learn a bit about the need to protect these creatures due to loss of habitat and other issues. The plot is well developed along with the subplots, including Gemma’s relationship with Devlin O’Connor. There’s something fishy going on with him but Gemma is afraid to confront him or find out the truth. It adds to the tension in the book, wondering how it will be resolved.
Of course running a tearoom means plenty of delectable treats! One of the desserts Gemma takes to the funeral is Sticky Toffee Pudding. I was honored when H.Y. Hanna asked me to provide the recipe for her book! When my husband and I visited England many years ago, we ate Sticky Toffee Pudding numerous times. Once we returned home, a friend of ours from England shared her recipe with us and now it’s the only cake my husband requests on his birthday each year. I’ve tweaked it to suit our needs and streamline the process, but it’s every bit as yummy as what we ate during our trip. I like the fact that it uses very little butter and instead, relies upon lots of dates to provide both moisture and sweetness. Of course what really makes the cake is the super simple toffee sauce. You’ll want to eat it on ice cream, apple pie, and just about any other desserts including Sticky Toffee Pudding!
Business is going well at Gemma Rose’s quaint English teashop and she’s delighted about her first big catering job at a local village funeral… until the day ends with a second body and one of the Old Biddies accused of murder! Now the resourceful tearoom sleuth must find out which delicious pudding contained the deadly arsenic—and who might have wanted the wealthy widow dead… But Gemma has other troubles to contend with, from her naughty cat, Muesli, running loose in her tearoom to an unexpected hedgehog guest in her home—and that’s before the all-important “meet the parents” dinner with her handsome detective boyfriend turns into a total disaster! With so many things on her plate, can Gemma solve the mystery in time to catch the murderer or will she come to a sticky end?
A huge thank you to H.Y. Hanna for providing winner’s choice of print or an e-book copy of FOUR PUDDINGS AND A FUNERAL to one winner. Contest ends Monday, April 24, 2017 at 11:59 pm PST. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. Winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
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