The Art of Not Cooking
My name is Lisa Q. Mathews and I’d like to kick off my very first post here on Not Your Usual Suspects by saying hello. I write about sunny Florida but live in soon-to-be-snowy New Hampshire. I used to be an editor of Nancy Drew mysteries, among other things. And I’m thrilled to be not only the newest member of this amazing group, but—a brand new author!
My debut mystery, CARDIAC ARREST—Book One in an odd-couple female sleuth series called The Ladies Smythe & Westin—was published by Carina Press earlier this month. I am, of course, still on Cloud One Hundred-Nine.
The series features a semi-reformed, twenty-something party girl, Summer Smythe, and a feisty, seventy-something widow, Dorothy Westin, who team up to solve murders in glitzy SW Florida. Base of operations: The Hibiscus Pointe Senior Living Community. (Summer is camping out there in her late grandma’s condo.)
Technically, the Ladies’ adventures can be classified as “cozy” (not to be confused with “cuddly”) —traditional puzzle mysteries à la Christie, with an off-screen murder (often involving a victim who was not particularly beloved), amateur sleuths, no graphic violence or onscreen sex, a community of recurring characters, and a satisfying ending where the villain is unmasked, justice is served, and order is restored to the characters’ world.
There is a very popular sub-genre of cozy mysteries, often called “culinary cozies,” which contain delicious recipes in the back, and food adds to the ambiance of the book. Well, I can assure you that the Ladies do plenty of eating and, yes, a bit of drinking. They frequently dine out in fancy restaurants, and Dorothy also takes advantage of the formal 5 pm dinners included in her hefty monthly residents fee. Both love sweets and neither is above sneaking a snack from the free welcome buffets Hibiscus Pointe offers to lure prospective residents.
The Ladies can do a lot of things. But one thing neither of them does is...cook. And they’re not terribly apologetic about that. But you can blame me, and I’ll blame Peg Bracken, because I grew up with her I Hate to Cook Book. (Ms. Bracken was apparently quite a mystery fan herself. Her recipe for Stayabed Stew, she claimed, was ideal “for those days when you are en négligée, en bed, with a murder story and box of bonbons…”).
I hope you enjoy the crime-solving capers of the Ladies Smythe & Westin. And really, you’re much better off without their (or my) recipe suggestions. Trust me.
Twenty-something party girl Summer Smythe is starting over in the unlikeliest of places: Hibiscus Pointe, a kitschy retirement community in upscale Milano, Florida. Her new gig? Working for Dr. A, Milano’s much-loved cardiologist. But being in over her head is the least of Summer’s worries when her new boss drops dead…right in front of her.
Long-time resident Dorothy Westin prefers to mind her own business. But when the young blonde already causing ripples throughout Hibiscus Pointe becomes a person of interest in Dr. A’s murder, Dorothy springs into action. Not only because the real killer is still on the loose, but because there’s simply no way her clueless-but-kind new friend could have poisoned someone.
Dorothy and Summer soon discover that despite his chosen specialty, Dr. A had quite a reputation for breaking hearts. And if the Ladies Smythe and Westin don’t identify the guilty party fast, Summer will end up in handcuffs…and Dorothy in a body bag.
Join The Ladies Smythe & Westin on their next case, PERMANENTLY BOOKED, coming April 2016!
Available from Amazon, Nook, iBooks, kobo, and GooglePlay.