I am pleased to be joining the Great Escapes Virtual Book tour introducing HAZARDS IN HAMPSHIRE by Emma Dakin, the first book in the British Book Tour Mystery series. The reader is introduced to Claire Barclay as she tries to get settled back into the quaint English village of Ashton-On-Tinch after leaving Seattle, Washington. A British citizen, Claire had lived in Seattle enjoying the exciting life as a tour guide along with teaching Executive English and Etiquette classes. Approaching fifty years old, and after receiving an inheritance from her step-father, Claire has decided it’s time to settle down and return to her country of birth. The small village seems just the place to relax and set up private tours to visit the areas where famous British authors once lived. Except it’s not as peaceful as she’d hoped when she finds the body of her hostess when she arrives for afternoon tea. When Claire becomes a murder suspect, she finds she must clear her name or she’ll never have the chance to become a part of the community and create a home for herself.
A genteel read with nice characters, HAZARDS IN HAMPSHIRE creates the feel of an Agatha Christie style mystery. Claire attempts to fit in with her community and question people without ruffling anyone’s feathers. Her interaction with her book tour group is sweet. However, there were a few jarring moments by unexpected profanity popping up in the story, which didn’t seem warranted for the scene. I did enjoy the variety of mentions of mystery authors and books. I was also motivated to re-read some of Agatha Christie’s books, since she so clearly inspired Ms. Dakin to create this series. It was a bit light on mystery and clues and instead, provides descriptions of the English countryside that was home to so many wonderful authors along with history of the area. This gave the book an authentic British feel to the setting and gave me an itch to tour those areas for myself.
While there aren’t any recipes included with the book, Ms. Dakin has kindly provided a recipe for Chicken Vegetable Soup that she created after having something similar in a pub in England. I discovered during my recent trip to Ireland that soup in that part of the world generally means a puree of ingredients, whereas in Southern California soup generally means a broth with lots of chunky ingredients. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I added the chicken to the blender with the veggies but the results were delicious. The pureed chicken lent a thick consistency to the soup without relying on heavy creams or starchy potatoes. It also amped up the flavor without adding a lot of calories. I found a bowl of the Chicken Vegetable Soup entirely satisfying for a light supper, especially when served with crusty bread and a green salad. Or, if you’re like my husband, add additional chopped poached chicken just prior to serving to make it a heartier dish. Either way, this is a great way to welcome colder winter weather.
Moving to a quiet English village should have been tranquil, but Claire Barclay learns that even
an invitation to tea can be deadly. Who killed Mrs. Paulson, the president of the local Mystery
Books Club? Was the motive for murder located in the archives of the book club? The members
of the books club might have reason to want Mrs. Paulson’s out of the way. She had lived in the
village all her life, been involved in many organizations and societies and knew many secrets of
the villagers. Was one secret too dangerous for her to keep? She had been wealthy and left her
money to a member of the club. Could the legatee have been impatient for her inheritance? Who cared enough to want her dead? Claire, an expert in solving problems in her job as a tour guide,
decides to delve into the archives and into the lives of the villagers—and find out.
A special thanks to Emma Dakin for providing ten Kindle giveaway copies of HAZARDS IN HAMPSHIRE. Contest ends November 24, 2019 at 11:59 pm PST. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. The contest is administered by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and the winner will be announced on this page as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
From Hazards in Hampshire: The British Book Tour Mysteries Book I
We stopped at the Plough Inn for lunch. The sign said “We are dog friendly”. I figured
Robert knew all the dog friendly places. Three dogs were a bit much for the restaurant,
so we left his two in the car and brought Gulliver in with us. The Plough was a
Seventeenth Century building that kept its old character. My tourists would love it. I
wrote down the name and the website information published on the menu.
We had a Guinness each and studied the menus. I ordered the soup. Robert had the
sandwich of the day which was beef and horseradish. Gulliver slept at my feet. I felt cozy
and relaxed. We ate in comfortable silence.
Author Emma Dakin's Note:
I couldn’t find the menu, however, they had great food so I trust this recipe be up to
their standards. This is my recipe and my neighbours think it is good enough to be included in
the Plough Inn’s menu. I’m not sure what they’d think at the Plough, but this soup is quite
wonderful. I use vegetables from my garden, and, while I don’t raise the chickens, I buy the
organically raised kind, so the flavour is excellent.
- 1 small chicken breast poached. Set aside.
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 8 green beans
- 1 tablespoon grated onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
Melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Sauté the onion until transparent.
Add 3 cups of water.*
Toss in the vegetables. Add any other vegetables you think appropriate.
Throw in some oregano and tarragon. Perhaps a teaspoon of fresh. Less if dried.
Cook until tender.
Dice chicken and add.
Drop in a chicken bullion cube.*
Salt and pepper.
Heat until boiling. Then take off the burner and cool.
Pour into a blender and blend until smooth.
Taste it. Add spices as needed.
Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with scones.
I opted to use low-sodium chicken broth instead of a bullion cube and water.
I poached extra chicken to use as a garnish.
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November 11 – Reading Is My SuperPower – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 11 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT
November 12 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
November 13 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
November 14 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
November 14 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST
November 15 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW, RECIPE
November 15 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
November 16 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
November 16 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
November 17 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
November 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 19 – Carole’s Book Corner – REVIEW
November 19 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
November 20 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
November 21 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW, GUEST POST
November 21 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
November 22 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, RECIPE
November 23 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
November 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST
November 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT
November 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
I was provided an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.