ANTIQUE AUCTION’S ARE MURDER, is the seventh book in the Poppy McAllister Mysteries and once again, Libby Klein proves why this series continues to reign as one of my all-time favorites. With humor galore, thanks to one-liner zingers, comical situations, and screwball characters (both human and feline alike), I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire read. Protagonist, Poppy McAllister, owns the Butterfly House B & B with her Aunt Ginny, a zany senior citizen with a posse of elderly ladies bent on mischief. Resident housecat, Figaro, seems to have his own set of feline groupies fawning over him, and he steals each scene he inhabits. With a clever plot that weaves in boxloads of kohlrabi, a narcoleptic sunburned chambermaid, a vampire hunting kit, a creepy wooden troll talisman, vanishing wine, and a hidden body stuck into the very armoire Poppy wants to purchase, the book kept me turning page after page. Ms. Klein’s descriptive voice—think pun after pun—had me in stitches and had me clearly envisioning each scene.
While there are humorous scenes aplenty, the author doesn’t forget that this is supposed to be a murder mystery. The fast-paced plot of investigating the death of an antique dealer’s son is expertly interwoven into the story with plenty of opportunities for Poppy to suss out clues. Assisting her (or perhaps hindering her) is Aunt Ginny and the gals, along with Poppy’s former high school nemesis turned town cop, Amber. A sharp armchair detective might figure out the culprit but, in all honesty, I just want to sit back and enjoy the entertaining ride without taxing myself. As the reveal came into view, all the clues fell into place with a “of course” moment. As with previous books in this series, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Poppy and the gang next!
Running a B & B and providing her beau with gluten-free goodies for his coffee shop, Poppy has numerous scrumptious-sounding treats mentioned throughout the book. Ms. Klein offers several gluten-free recipes at the back of the book for the reader to try out. Even if you don’t have to eat gluten-free, regular all-purpose flour can be substituted in each recipe. With the story taking place in the middle of summer, Poppy is determined to create recipes that mimic the flavors of boardwalk sweets. I couldn’t help drool over the description of Peanut Butter Fudge Cakes (cupcakes). While there are several steps involved from making the cupcakes to making the peanut butter fudge/filling to the fudgy frosting, the results are out of this world and will have you dreaming of boardwalk treats and warm summer breezes.
It’s peak summer season at the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, with tourists fluttering in and out and wreaking enough havoc to rival a Jersey Shore hurricane. Also back in town is Courtney Whipple and his family of antique dealers for the annual Cold Spring Village antique show. Courtney’s son Auggie has a unique piece he believes will fetch them a fortune if he can get it authenticated in time—a piece rival dealer Grover Prickle insists was stolen from his store.
Poppy and her Aunt Ginny attend the auction, hoping to bid on an armoire for the B&B, and discover a veritable armory for sale—everything from ancient blades and nineteenth century guns to such potential killing devices as knitting needles and a blacksmith hammer. Strangely, they don’t see either Auggie or Grover—or the mysterious item they both claim to own. Then during the auction, a body falls out of the very armoire Poppy was hoping to acquire, stabbed through the heart. Now, surrounded by competitive dealers and makeshift weapons, she must find out who turned the auction house into a slaughterhouse . . .
A special thanks to Libby Klein for providing a winner with a print copy of ANTIQUE AUCTIONS ARE MURDER. Contest ends February 27, 2022 at 11:59 pm PST and is limited to U.S. residents. 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!)
Yield 12 cupcakes
- 1-1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (if not included in your flour blend)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup canola oil (or neutral oil of choice)
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 sticks butter, divided and softened
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
- 16 ounces confectioners' sugar *See Notes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) after positioning the rack in center of oven.
Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with papers.
In a medium-bowl, combine gluten-free flour, xanthan gum (if it is not already in your flour blend), salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In another medium bowl combine oil, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for one minute until fluffy.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and combine until it starts to come together. Then add the milk. Combine thoroughly.
Spoon batter evenly into paper liners or a greased muffin tin.
Bake for 18 - 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cakes cool for 15 minutes on the counter, then remove to a storage container with a lid resting on the top--but not snapped tight to let cool completely. This will keep them moist.
*See notes below
In a microwave-proof glass bowl (or over a double boiler), melt together 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, 16 ounces confectioners' sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Heat for another minute if necessary, to melt some more. Stir to see where you are on getting the ingredients to make a smooth, silky mixture.
When completely melted together and smooth, add 1 teaspoon vanilla and combine well. Set aside to cool.
When the fudge is cool, using a hand mixer, beat it with a another stick of butter. This will whip it up to a peanut butter filling.
Note: You won't use all of this to fill the cupcakes. You'll end up with at least half of it left over to finish with the cocoa and cream for frosting.
With a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out a little hole in the top of each cupcake.
Fill a pastry bag with about 1/4 cup of the peanut butter filling. Fill each hole with peanut butter filling.
Add 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa to the leftover peanut butter filling. Whip it with your mixer into frosting, adding just enough of the 1/4 cup of cream to get it the right consistency. You may not need all of it.
When the frosting has whipped up light and fluffy, add to a clean pastry bag and pipe onto the tops of the cupcakes. Alternatively, you could just spread it over the cupcakes with a knife if you aren't trying to be fancy.
When making the peanut butter fudge, it turned out dry and crumbly for me. I emailed back and forth with Libby about it and we determined it could be the lack of humidity where I live vs. high humidity where she lives. I remade it with the following changes:
Melt the peanut butter, butter, and salt together then beat in 1 cup of confectioners' sugar until smooth. Add an additional cup of confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. If mixture is very soft, continue adding in confectioners' sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until mixture is stiff, but still smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla then proceed with recipe as written above.
I made the peanut butter fudge an additional time following my instructions above. Instead of turning it into filling and frosting, I patted it into a rectangle and refrigerated until firm. I then melted a 1/4 cup chocolate chips and spread over the top. Once the chocolate set, I cut into squares. The candy (as well as the cupcakes) received rave reviews!
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I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
There was an auction house not far from us and we used to go every Friday night. We got some really nice things there. My favorites were antiques, jewelry, home furnishings, and some remodeling items.
“Have you ever attended an auction?” Yes! Country auctions and one or two fancier-type auctions.
I have been to several Auctions. But, I have only bid at one. Lol! It was for a tool for my husband. Got it for 5.00 dollars. Yay!
Your cupcakes look delicious! I would love to win your wonderful giveaway! Thank you for the chance!
Yes, I have attended auctions – both live and silent. I also have succumbed to the lure of having the winning bid. Thank you for the recipe – I adore peanut butter and chocolate together. Thank you for the chance to win. madam hawk at g mail dot com
I have never been to an auction but would love to go to one someday.
No. I’ve never attended an auction, but would love to attend an Amish Quilt auction! I live near Amish country and they often hold auctions and Mud Sales. I LOVE the recipe!! Peanut Butter and Fudge! Two of my favorite food groups! I LOVE the book series too! Figaro is my hero!
Yes, I have attended a number of auctions. It makes for a fun and exciting event.
Oh boy have I been to auctions. My dad got really into carnival glass at one point so I’ve been to a lot of those. And I add a few pieces to my personal collection now and then.
I have never attended an auction. I’ve watched on TV but that’s about it
Yes I have and found one or two things I loved for a cheap price. Thanks.
Yes I have and found one or two things I loved for a cheap price.
I’ve attended many auctions. Have also been part
of an auction (after my mother passed away and
we auctioned off her hoard of antiques). they are
fun and you get some interesting things. Looking
forward to reading the book. thanks
My brother used to have an antique store. So our mom used to go to auctions and garage sales for him. She loved them. I went to lots of them with her. She was really good at it.
I love attending auctions but don’t get to do it as much as I’ve gotten older. Now with Covid it has really
placred a damper on going. It is something my husband and I enjoy doing as a couple.
Not yet, but I’ve always wanted to. I fear that I might bid on everything to savor the entire experience.
Several – everything from estate to coin auctions. My absolute favorites are the Amish quilt auctions.
Yes I have several of them but I found that seniors were stacking the boxes so that when they bid on a box it had all the good stuff from the other boxes and then I stopped going.. I also saw an outside one which was my friends and people were walking around with the stuff before they even bid on it. That one was so different .
Yes, have been to several auctions! Love to go to them and get vintage things.
I have attended some auctions. One of the churches hubby pastored had a tradition of a children’s auction. No, we didn’t auction off the children, but different ones made crafts or baked and those were auctioned. The money made sent our children off to camp and helped with other children programs. Once husband and I were unknowingly bidding against each other for the same thing. Finally the auctioneer told us and everyone had a good laugh.
Another town, the school foundation always held a dinner with both a silent & a live auction. I couldn’t keep myself from bidding, both on the silent things (couldn’t let there be no bid on these), and on the live as well. Even ended up with two pieces of furniture two different years.
Last church held a pie auction every year to totally fund our Christmas outreach providing gifts of children and families. Do you know how you eat a $400.00 pie? A bite at a time. Yes, some of those pies and cakes went quite high.
And we’ve attended NRA banquets with auctions. And yes, I did bid one time.
There have been other actions also, always charity type ones. But I’ve now learned not to bid. lol
I haven’t been to one in years, but I used to love to go to the local auction house with my parents when I was a child.
Yes, I have.
Yes, I’ve attended a few auctions.
No, I have not!
I have attended a few auctions.
I have been to Chinese Auctions. I love this series. Thank you for this chance.
Yes, I’ve been to a few auctions. They’re always fun. You never know what treasure you might find.
no i have never been to an auction.
I have been to some auctions.
Not in a long time, but as I was growing up, I went to many farm auctions and so fun!
I don’t recall ever attending an auction.
I have attended a few, but they can be tense. Sometimes there are good finds, though, particularly in boxes of assortment.
“With humor galore, thanks to one-liner zingers, comical situations, and screwball characters (both human and feline alike),”. Sounds so good!
I have attended auctions in the past. So much fun!
Yes I have been to several auctions and bid successfully! Thanks for the chance.
I’ve attended a few auctions…but I’ve never bought anything.
The cupcakes sound delish.
Thanks for the chance.
Yes, I have attended an auction before, they are fun. Thank you so much for sharing the cupcake recipe, they sound delicious. Thank you for the chance.
I have never attended an auction. The cupcakes sound delicious.
When I was younger maybe around 8yrs old my dad would love to got o auctions. I thought it was a lot of fun to sit and listen to the man speaking how fast he was and how in the world anyone could understand what he was saying. One time I remember standing up against the back wall, we were by the concession stand I stretched with my hands up and the man thought I was bidding on it. My dad quickly put my hands down and said I could not do that cuz it would have cost a lot of money… Oops. Thankfully my stretch didn’t make us the winning bid.
Years ago we bought imported rugs at an auction.
I’ve never attended an auction on site. But I do bid for electronics and cameras at a site called propertyroom.com It’s run by the Police, Fire and other agencies in NY State. I won the bid on a Nikon D5500 camera with an 18-55mm lens for about $400 when the retail price for a good used one is closer to $600.
Yes, I have attended a few auctions. Some items were very interesting. Our church had one as a fundraiser and I bid on and won an item not knowing that the daughter of a beloved neighbor who had passed away had donated it. It had belonged to her late mother and I cherish it.
Yes I have, just once and enjoyed it.
Yes and bought a few items
Yes! I used to go a lot when I lived in a bigger city and I loved it! There was always something interesting I wanted to buy, within my budget of course!
Another recipe that looks great. I don’t have luck using fillings.
When I was younger I used to go many times with my grandparents who were always looking for antique furniture to refinish and sell.
No I haven’t, only silent auctions, which I love! But I’d love to go to auction and watch how it goes, maybe participate!
I attended auctions a long time ago when I was a kid with my dad.
Yes, I’ve attended many auctions and have had the winning big several times. They are fun and entertaining.
I have not been to a normal auction. But one of my teachers got some books and random chachkis, and let us bid on them using our AR points as currency. It started off fun, but didn’t end well- apparently many tweens are not quite mature enough to be at an auction 😉 .
This book sounds really good- and thanks for the contest 🙂 !