MIDNIGHT SNACKS ARE MURDER, is the second book in the Poppy McAllister Mystery series byLibby Klein. It had a tough measure to live up to with my expectations set high after I read the first book in her series earlier this year and was smitten… and this new book far exceeded my anticipation! Ms. Klein has a sharp sense of humor with impeccable timing in delivering chuckle worthy lines. The zany antics of the characters adds to the appeal of a page-turning mystery, while I couldn’t help but love the characters the author makes come to life using only words. The protagonist, Poppy, is self-deprecating yet she’s learning to overcome her perceived shortcomings and become a stronger person. She especially needs to learn to stand up to her former mother-in-law, Georgina, who is a force of nature and is determined to keep Poppy and her money under her control. I enjoyed seeing Poppy blossom over the course of the two books, yet this book can easily be read as a stand-alone.
Poppy is a worthy protagonist but it’s her Aunt Ginny who steals the show! This octogenarian has a zest for life that people half her age don’t have. You might even say she is an adrenaline junkie and keeps the story moving along at a fast pace. When Aunt Ginny is accused of murdering a local humanitarian after being caught red-handed breaking in and stealing snacks and knickknacks from her neighbors’ homes, Poppy knows she has to step in and find the real killer. Poppy’s high school nemesis, Amber, is the local law enforcement officer and has her sight set on convicting Aunt Ginny. Someone is doing a very good job of providing circumstantial evidence against Ginny and Amber is all too quick to believe that evidence. On top of trying to solve the case, Poppy has her hands full trying to find out who is sabotaging her new bed and breakfast business, herding a van full of senior citizens downing whiskey balls, and baking her gluten-free goodies under the evil eye of an Italian mother. Seriously, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens next!
Poppy must follow a paleo diet and as such, bakes lots of gluten-free, paleo goodies. Ms. Klein provides several recipes at the back of the book but don’t be put off. They are delicious whether you need to follow that particular diet lifestyle or not. A quick note: when a gluten-free recipe calls for a one-to-one gf flour blend, you can substitute all-purpose flour with good results. I was drawn to the Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars and while I do follow a gluten-free diet, I substituted regular all-purpose flour since I needed to provide some goodies for my granddaughter’s teachers and staff for Teachers’ Appreciation Week. (I was out of the cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend I usually use. I love King Arthur’s blend but since it’s mail order only, I didn’t get it in time for Appreciation Week.) The recipe was easy to follow and the raves I received once the bars were consumed, let me know I needed to make these gluten-free for myself, sooner than later! According to Ms. Klein, these bars are absolutely delicious without adding the crumble topping if you would like a simpler recipe.
When her sleepwalking aunt is accused of committing murder, Poppy McAllister finds out there’s no rest for the weary . . .
Between trying to get her gluten-free baking business off the ground and helping her aunt remodel her old Victorian into the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, New Jersey, Poppy is ready to call, “Mayday!” And now Aunt Ginny—who’s a handful wide-awake—is sleepwalking on her new sleeping pill prescription and helping herself to neighbors’ snacks and knickknacks.
Even more alarming, a local humanitarian who worked with troubled teens is found murdered, and the police suspect the “Snack Bandit.” Other than a bad case of midnight munchies and some mild knickknack kleptomania, Aunt Ginny is harmless. Someone’s trying to frame her. Poppy will need to work tirelessly to uncover the killer and put the case to rest—before Aunt Ginny has to trade in her B & B for a bunk bed behind bars . . .
A special thanks to Libby Klein for providing a winner with an advance reader’s copy of MIDNIGHT SNACKS ARE MURDER! Print copy is limited to U.S. residents only and ends Monday, July 30, 2018 at 11:59 pm PST. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below to enter. The 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!)
- 1-1/4 cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
- 2 cups gluten-free quick-cooking oatmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) browned butter (see instructions below)
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup gluten-free flour
- 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
- 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F) and adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with parchment, making sure the parchment comes up the sides of the dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.
Place the 3/4 cup butterscotch chips in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and let the butter cook until golden brown in color, about 10 minutes, taking care not to burn.
Pour the hot butter over the butterscotch chips and whisk together until melted and smooth. Whisk in the brown sugar until combined. Whisk in the egg* and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, spread the batter evenly to the edges.
Mix the flour, oats, sugars, and salt together. Add the melted butter and mix until incorporated. Pat the crumble onto the top of the batter.
Bake the bars until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 16 - 18 minutes.
While the bars bake, place the 1/4 cup butterscotch chips, brown sugar, cream, and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the mixture until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes on 50 percent power. Whisk to combine well.
Drizzle the glaze over the warm bars. Let the bars cool completely in the pan. Remove the bars from the pan using the parchment overhang and cut into squares. Serve.
*Make sure the butterscotch mixture isn't too hot before adding the egg.
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I was provided an advance copy with the hopes I would review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.