Snoop To Nuts – Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
My first guest author of the new year is, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli.
Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli moved to the shores of a little lake in northwest northern Michigan and never looked back. She lives, sometimes uncomfortably, with the crows and bears and turtles and finds her material in the villages and forests that surround her. With degrees from Macomb County Community College, Oakland University, and the University of Michigan, she now teaches creative writing at Northwestern Michigan College and at writers’ conferences around the country.
Her novels include: Gift of Evil (Bantam), Dead Dancing Women, Dead Floating Lovers, Dead Sleeping Shaman, and Dead Dogs and Englishmen (Midnight Ink), Dead Little Dolly, and A Tough Nut to Kill (writing as Elizabeth Lee), Berkley Publishers.
Elizabeth is also fascinated with the craft of the short story and hers have appeared in The Creative Woman, The Driftwood Review, Passages North,The MacGuffin, Quality Women’s Fiction (Great Britain), and elsewhere. With a grant from the State of Michigan she also created short stories that have been produced onstage as well as being read on NPR.
For many years she taught in the International Women’s Guild summer program at Skidmore College and appeared as a moderator and panelist at writing conferences. Her fascination with all things murderous began with a love for puzzles of all sorts, which was handed down to her by a mother who devoured mysteries. Sometimes playful, sometimes deadly serious, her books reflect a wide interest in women’s lives and futures.
Mystery writer and journalist with 7 published novels including her latest, the first in a series: A Tough Nut to Kill from Berkley Publishers/Penguin Group.
She teaches fiction writing at Northern Michigan College, was a reporter for the ROMEO OBSERVER, and has written for the DETROIT NEWS, Traverse Magazine, the British Literary Journal: Women’s Quality Fiction, and many others.
Her fourth novel in the Emily Kincaid series, DEAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN, was chosen one of the best mysteries of 2010 by Kirkus Reviews and the Christian Science Monitor. Writing as Elizabeth Lee, the first in her Texas series: A TOUGH NUT TO KILL, is in stores and online now. The second in the series is:
Snoop To Nuts
In this second installment of the Nut House Series, SNOOP TO NUTS, I’m afraid Lindy Blanchard and her grandmother, Miss Amelia, of the Nuthouse Store in Riverville, Texas, just got themselves and their whole family in trouble again. For some reason people have the bad taste to die around the Blanchards. This time it is Pastor Jenkins, the poor man only new to Riverville.
At the biggest pecan recipe contest of the year, held at the end of the state fair, the new pastor (a judge in the contest) dies, poisoned, with suspicion falling on Miss Amelia, this kind, motherly woman with claws of steel when it comes to her family, her pecan recipes, or anybody who would do harm to either one.
Clearing Miss Amelia takes Lindy and the family into some terrible dark dealings and a lot of upheaval in the usually quiet town of Riverville. Lindy wades through the town’s characters and a whole host of evil people to clear her grandmother and fix a few other problems bedeviling the Blanchards.
From the loose hog running the midway at the state fair to a triumphant celebration at the nuthouse—where Miss Amelia serves ironic treats like Cyanide Mini Cinnies—the Blanchards stand tall, and victorious, together.
Here is an excerpt:
The judging of the best pecan recipe has begun. The contestants are stiff with fear and hope. The judges make a slow entrance to the room to begin tasting the proffered dishes:
Miss Amelia stood tall, her pale eyes following the slow procession of the judges. Her hands were clutched in front of her, one wringing the other. From time to time, she turned to look around at the crowd, as if expecting to see someone, then she would turn back to smile nervously at me and Bethany and Mama, then back to the judges as they made their way toward her. Next to where Miss Amelia and the rest of us Blanchards waited, The Reverend Jenkins tasted Ethelred’s Pecan Surprise Tomato Puff and smacked his lips. He smiled at the pale, almost fainting, woman, perspiration standing out on her high forehead, hands clutched at her breast. She tried to smile but ended by giving the man an unattractive grimace.
The pastor reached out to rest a hand on her shoulder for reassurance then moved on, throwing his plastic spoon and plate and napkin in the small garbage can under the tasting station.
“Miss Amelia,” the Reverend Millroy Jenkins nodded to Meemaw. “Hear you’re the one to beat here.”
The pastor stuck his plastic spoon into Miss Amelia’s bowl then stuck the spoon in his mouth so that his lips closed right up to the spoon handle. He hesitated a minute, standing with the spoon sticking from between his lips, then pulled the spoon back out, still half loaded with the Texas caviar.
He wiped his mouth with his paper napkin, cleared his throat, and gave Miss Amelia a half-hearted smile. He dipped his head toward the rest of the family, wadded the paper napkin in his hand, ran it slowly across his mouth again, then threw spoon, napkin, and unused dish away.
As the pastor walked on to Suzy Queens’ Blessed Pecan Dip, the other two judges stepped up. Eloise Dorrance, dipped her spoon into the glass bowl of Texas caviar and put it directly into her mouth.
For a moment her head came up and her eyes grew wide. I took the woman’s reaction for wonderment but soon saw she was grasping for a napkin, sending a shower of paper to the floor. She brought the napkin to her mouth and spit out the caviar.
I could feel my family stiffen around me.
Miss Amelia said nothing.
When Eloise had passed, Mama, outraged, whispered, “What the heck’s wrong with these people?”
Miss Amelia wanted to lighten the dark mood in town after the murderer was caught so threw a party at the Nuthouse and served dishes named for poisons and such. All sure to lighten the day though a few of the townsfolk didn’t get the joke as fast as others.
A nice touch of orange and pecans in an easy to make cookie.
1 cp. Shortening
½ cp. White sugar
½ cp. Brown sugar
1 egg, well beaten
2 tbsp Garrison Brothers Straight Texas Bourbon
1 tbsp grated orange rind
2¾ cp. flour
¼ tsp soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cp. Pecans, finely chopped
Cream together shortening, sugars, egg, the fine Texas bourbon, and orange rind. Sift flour with soda and salt. Add to creamed mix. Stir in pecans. Shape into a roll about 1½ inches around. Chill. Cut into thin slices, place on a greased cookie sheet, bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Yields about 5 dozen cookies.
Writing under the name, Elizabeth Lee, Snoop To Nuts is available on Amazon and other book retailers.
Elizabeth and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.
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