DEATH ON THE NIGHT OF LOST LIZARDS is the third book in the Hungarian Tea House Mysteries by Julia Buckley. This series just keeps getting better and better and I couldn’t put this book down. The author does an admirable job in setting the scene with plenty of holiday ambiance and Hungarian language, food, and folklore. While this is a mystery, I truly enjoyed getting to learn snippets of Hungarian myths and legends that the protagonist, Hana Keller, introduces throughout the story. Combined with the psychic abilities Hana is discovering and her tea leaf reading Grandmother, the book became magical and I didn’t want to stop reading until I’d devoured the entire story. I also loved the delightful descriptions of the unique tea set gifted to Hana by a beloved uncle, even if I’m not a fan of lizards.
The author uses the rare tea set, with the twin lizard handles, as a backdrop to the mystery. She showcases how the design evokes the theme of having two choices for every decision a person faces in their life and the duality that lives in each of us. She effectively intertwines this theme with the mystery of who killed a local college professor. I also admired how Hana’s relationship with her detective boyfriend, Erik, is progressing, and how he appreciates her intelligence and insights into the crime. As the clues unfold – it helps that a large group of suspects hold a memorial service for the victim at Hana’s family’s tea house – the sharp reader can follow along with Hana in narrowing in on the killer. But truthfully, this is such a beautifully written book, I wanted to sit back and enjoy it all without distraction, and as the conclusion wrapped up, I longed to be able to read the next book in the series right away!
Running the tea house with her mother and grandmother, there are all sorts of amazing Hungarian dishes mentioned with mouthwatering details! The author provides a few recipes at the back of the book for readers to try at home. With a theme of Christmas central to this book, I just had to try Juliana’s Christmas Mézeskalács, which are basically Hungarian honey gingerbread cookies. These are much softer gingerbread cutout cookies than I’m used to, but they’re delicious nonetheless. I loved the unique addition of honey and the spices made the cookies comforting. After a search on Pinterest, I tried to mimic the decorative Hungarian designs piped onto the cookies. Festive and delicious, these cookies will make holiday cookie platters appear elegant and enticing!
Along with her mother and grandmother, Hana Keller has achieved renown serving tea and cakes with a European flair, but when a local professor is killed, she uncovers a serving of suspects instead…
Hana Keller is getting ready for a lovely holiday season. When she receives a rare tea set as a birthday gift, she decides to host a tea at her apartment for her closest friends. During the cozy get-together, one of Hana’s friends gets word that a murderer is on the loose. Hana soon learns that the victim was Sandor Balog, a professor of Hungarian Studies at the local college.
With her growing psychic ability, Hana senses that she is going to be pulled into the investigation of the professor’s death somehow. With her sexy boyfriend Erik on the case, Hana finds the Tea House steeped in suspects. She studies the smiling faces celebrating the season, but the real killer is good at hiding the truth and putting Hana in the hot seat….
A special thanks to Berkley Publishing for providing one lucky winner with a print copy of DEATH ON THE NIGHT OF LOST LIZARDS! Giveaway is limited to U.S. residents. Contest ends Sunday, June 20, 2021 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!)
Boldog ünnepeket!! Boldog Karácsonyt! (Merry Christmas!)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2-1/2 cups flour (15.5 ounces - pack the flour into the measuring cup)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
To start, melt the butter and honey in a small pot.
Eventually mix in both kinds of sugar, but don't boil. Let the mixture cool before moving to step 4.
In a bowl, stir together 2 cups of the flour, the salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
After cooling butter, honey, and sugar, beat the eggs and add them in.
Add the ingredients in your pot to the dry ingredients.
Mix dough well. If need be, divide into pieces for easier storage.
Seal in plastic or foil and refrigerate chunks of dough overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
Taking one chunk at a time, roll out your dough on a floured surface and cut with cookie cutters of your choosing.
Place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate cutouts for 10 minutes before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees (F) for about 8 - 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack and cool completely before decorating.
Now the magic begins! It is time to decorate the Mézeskalács. Perhaps check Pinterest or other baking sites for some patterns you can paint or pipe (with frosting) onto your cookies to make them look truly like the traditional Hungarian treats.
Make sure to take pictures of your works of art before people eat them!
Pin to Pinterest:
I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
My friend gave me an antique teacup but that is my only piece. I have not seen any at my local garage sales. Thanks for the chance!
I don’t really look for new ones, but love the ones I have. All from my grandmother, so they are special
I have no antique teacups, but I do have a set of strawberry design depression glass that I love.
Thank you for the chance!
No, I do not collect tea cups.
No teacup collection but I collect other things. My sister does collect tea sets, but more casually.
I don’t have a collection of teacups, BUT I have a very dear friend that does. That means I’m always on the lookout for that special gift to add to her collection.
Can’t wait for the chance to try the recipe for Juliana’s Christmas Mézeskalács.
No I do not have tea cups. I have tea mugs! Thanks for the chance!
No I do not but love seeing everyone’s collection.
My bff collected teapots and I have my grandmothers. I do collect angels though.
I don’t ha r a collection of antique teacups but I do have a small collection of child tea sets.
I collect teapots. I do have some lovely teacups that my mother painted…that are among my most treasured possessions. I am always on the lookout at yard sales/garage sales for teacups and teapots.
I am not a tea drinker, so not drawn to collect them.
We have a small collection of tea cups and saucers in the china cabinet. There are tags on the bottom of each so the kids will know who is inheriting which one when we finally decide to stop pissing them off and leave the stage.
My grandma did that with the labels. I inherited her stereo when I was nine.
No, I don’t have anything special like that but I love looking at other people’s collections. If I had more room in my house this is something I would love to collect.
I have one that was given to my mother that she left to me that I cherish.
no i do not have a special collection.
No I don’t have any teacups but I like see others collections. Thank you!?
I don’t have a teacup collection
I have tea cups that friends have given me but my daughter in law and her 4 year old daughter are really into tea cups and having a spot of tea it is really cute how this has caught on between them .
I have two special teacups (for show only). It would be fun to have more like them, but I don’t see any around in antique shops.
I haven’t found any pieces to match yet. Thank you for the chance ? Sounds really interesting and fun to read.
No I don’t have a tea cup collection. The Book looks amazing, Thanks for your great generosity.
No, but I like coffee mugs and have a lot.
No, I gave away my tea cups years ago. Thank you for this chance!
I do not have a tea cup collection. Thanks for the chance.
Love this series! The cookies look amazing! I do not have a teacup collection, but I do find teacups so pretty.
Yes, I do have a teacup collection but now that I have vision and mobility problems I don’t drive anymore so going to antique shops is totally off my agenda now unfortunately.
Yes I do have a set that’s my Grandmother gave to me. It’s very eclectic, and I’m always looking for additions to it ~
I do not have one!
I have the Hall China teacups. My Madian name was Hall. My mom started collecting this china and it carried over to me. ❤️
I like them, teacups, and have a few, but don’t want to collect more things! One thing about COVID, it has made me downsize somewhat!
I have a teacup set that is already complete so no need for hunting.
I have China teacups my Granny gave me in the 70’s. I love beautiful teacups.
I do not have a teacup collection, nor do I want one!
no, I don’t anymore.
My mother did but I had a small house and 3 rowdy boys so I passed on having it!
I have a tea cup. I don’t have a collection. I am not a tea drinker.
I don’t have a teacup collection to add to.
I don’t have a tea cup set. But thinks for a chance to win a print copy of Death On The Night Of Lost Lizards.
I hunt for teacup sets that appeal to me because of the pattern on it. I don’t have a set just individual cups and saucers. I have flowers, Christmas and one from Salem, Massachusetts.
I don’t collect tea cups but I do have some old ones that belonged to my mother-law.
I have a few teacups that are special.to me. They usually find me when I am not looking.
Oh yes I have collected a few over the years!
I do not collect teacups but love selecting a teacup each time I go to my local tearoom for a pot of tea. I stand there until one speaks to me.
I don’t have a collection but I do have a small set of Royal Doulton tea cups and saucers I purchased on visit to London.