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Things to do in England:
- Visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the London Zoo
- Take the Jack the Ripper tour — creepy!
- Sample authentic English scones and crumpets
- Discover a dead body
What begins as a holiday trip for amateur sleuth and cooking aficionado Sadie Hoffmiller and her daughter, Breanna, turns into a bizarre mystery. First comes the discovery of a dead body in the sitting room of an English manor belonging to the family of Breanna_ã_s boyfriend, who is also heir to the family title. When the body comes up missing, Sadie and Breanna are stranded at the estate until the police can clear them to leave.\r\r
Armed with a jogging whistle, her personal\r\rrecipe collection, and an unfailing sense of\r\rAmerican justice, Sadie begins her own investigation\r\rto find the killer. But when she seems to\r\rencounter one dead end after another, Sadie\r\rwonders if anyone is telling the truth — or if the\r\rcase is really as hopeless as it appears to be.
Layer by layer, Sadie uncovers a mouth- watering\r\rmystery with an English flair. Included are\r\rSadie_ã_s favorite new recipes for American English\r\rTrifle, High Tea Lemon Cookies, Coconut\r\rMacaroons, Wake _ã_Em Up Breakfast Casserole,\r\rSausage Rolls, Crumpets, and Sadie_ã_s Scrumptulicious\r\rScones.
ZINA BAKER HUNTINGTON
- Published: 2009
- Pages: 368
- Size: 5½" x 8½"
About the Author
Josi S. Kilpack began her first novel in 1998. Her seventh novel,
Sheep’s Clothing, won the 2007 Whitney Award for Mystery/
Suspense. Rocky Road is Josi’s nineteenth novel and the tenth book
in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series.
Josi currently lives in Willard, Utah, with her husband and
For more information about Josi, you can visit her website at
www.josiskilpack.com, read her blog at www.josikilpack.blogspot
.com, or contact her via e-mail at Kilpack@gmail.com.
Is it just me or does it feel like the staff wants us to leave?” Sadie
Hoffmiller asked after the door of the sitting room shut behind
“It’s just you, Mom.” Breanna sat on one of the damask-covered
settees and kicked out one leg so that she slumped into the seat. She
managed to look perfectly bohemian in the elegant room. “They’re
probably anxious to get back to their regular routine.”
“Hmmm, maybe,” Sadie replied, but she wasn’t convinced. If not
for the fact that Breanna had a lot to deal with right now, Sadie
would have tried to dissect the situation a little more; however, she
could sense that with their departure only minutes away, her daughter
was on overload. Sadie didn’t want to add to her stress.
Instead, she sat down across from Breanna as if being in the sitting
room of an English estate was an everyday occurrence instead
of an unforeseen shift in Breanna’s possible future. That Breanna
hadn’t known Liam was heir apparent to an earldom when she fell
in love with him hadn’t made the adjustment any easier, but it had
become the reason they’d come to England in the first place. Liam’s
father—William Everet Martin Jr., ninth Earl of Garnett—had been
ill for several months and Liam needed to see to some matters of the
estate, necessitating he travel to England a week before Christmas.
Sadie and Breanna had been invited to join him between Christmas
and New Year’s, while Breanna was out of school, in order to meet
the earl and tour the country of Liam’s birth. They’d spent one night
at Southgate before leaving to see nearly everything else in England,
returning only the night before last. Sadie couldn’t imagine how
they’d have thrown off the staff’s routine when they’d been at the
estate for such a short time. “It just seems to me that they’re in a
hurry for us to go back home.”
“Well, they’ve got their hands full with the earl. I’m sure having
guests—and foreign guests at that—is nothing more than an
Liam had had an extra week to adjust to his father’s declining
health, but admitted that he hadn’t even recognized his father; he’d
aged tremendously in the four years since Liam had seen him in person.
Breanna suggested they forgo the sightseeing, but Liam assured
them that the earl wouldn’t want them to spend the week hovering
when there was nothing any of them could do.
“Is Liam okay?” Sadie asked. She’d seen very little of him since
their return to the estate. Once Liam’s father passed on, Liam would
inherit the title of earl, and the weight of the impending responsibility
sat heavily on his shoulders now that the fun portion of the
trip was over. He’d spent nearly every moment either at his father’s
bedside or in the library, poring over the history and accounts of
the earldom, wanting to learn all he could before he returned to his
other life in Portland, Oregon, where he supervised the bat exhibit
at the Washington Park Zoo.
Breanna looked at her hands in her lap. She was wearing a
T-shirt that said Keep It Clean, Keep It Green. “I don’t know,” she said
quietly. “He’s not sure when he’ll be able to come back home. If he
could, I’m sure he’d stay here.”
Sadie wasn’t so sure he couldn’t stay—he was going to be an earl
after all; why worry about something as inconsequential as his job?
“It must be hard to leave with his dad still so sick,” Sadie said sympathetically.
Both of Sadie’s parents were gone now, and losing them
had been second in heartache only to her husband’s premature death
almost twenty years ago. Nothing quite compared to losing people
close to you even if, like Liam and his father, there had been half a
world between you for most of your life.
Breanna let out a breath and nodded.
“And how about you?” Sadie asked, peering at her daughter in
the hopes of reading her expression should she choose not to be
forthcoming. “How do you feel about leaving?”
Breanna flicked her green eyes up to meet her mother’s, then
stared back into her lap. She shrugged one shoulder like a thirteenyear-
old girl, instead of a twenty-four-year-old woman facing the decision
of a lifetime. Would she one day marry Liam and live the rest
of her life as the Countess of Garnett? It was a subject she’d avoided
talking about. For Breanna—earthy, easygoing, and hardworking—
to consider living a life full of social functions, obligatory friendships,
and a lifestyle disproportionate to that of her neighbors, would be
difficult. Her world was nothing like this one. For a moment Sadie
thought her daughter might be ready to discuss it now that the visit
was almost behind them, but then Breanna’s face broke into a smile.
“Let’s see,” she said, a tease in her voice. “How do I feel about leaving?”
She tapped her chin with feigned consternation. “I simply can’t
wait to eat a freaking Ho Ho.”
“A Ho Ho?” Sadie said, pulling back in pure disgust. “We’ve
been surrounded by the finest of English cuisine for the last week
and you want a Ho Ho?”
“The very words English cuisine are pretty much an oxymoron.
It’s bland, it’s weird—mushrooms for breakfast? Come on! They
served pigeons for dinner at that one place in York, Mom. Can you
honestly tell me that a Big Mac isn’t screaming your name about
“Those were Cornish hens,” Sadie reprimanded. “And they were
delicious. The rosemary sauce was nothing short of amazing.”
Breanna waved her hand, as if unwilling to even consider the
possibility. “Hostess and McDonald’s are not multibillion dollar
companies for no reason.” Breanna smiled as if she’d won the argument.
“Oh, I liked the English trifle from the other night—that was
Sadie couldn’t help but smile at the memory. She made the layered
dessert every Christmas, but had never had it with real ladyfingers
and custard pudding made from scratch. “It was excellent,
wasn’t it?” She couldn’t wait to go home and make it herself to see
if she could match Mrs. Land’s. Now that she’d actually had real
English trifle, she knew what to shoot for.
Breanna nodded as the door opened. Sadie straightened in her
chair, all things forgiven and all senses on alert because there was
food on the tray! Scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam, and tea,
to be exact—a cream tea, for which Devonshire was famous. The
scones—pronounced so that scone rhymed with the word gone—
were not the deep-fried American kind, rather they were like a sweet
biscuit that fairly melted in your mouth. Grant, the butler, placed the
tea tray on a small table. “Your final tea,” he said as he righted the
tea cups on the saucers. “As soon as you finish here, you’ll be on your
way to Heathrow. Your bags are being loaded as we speak.”
Aha, more proof that the staff was practically pushing them out
the door. Their flight didn’t leave until ten o’clock tonight—nearly
seven hours from now—and it was only three hours to London. Why
the rush? But she simply smiled at the man, watching his expression
“We can pour,” Sadie said when he reached for the teapot. It felt
funny to be waited on all the time and she took every opportunity
to be self-sufficient. “And I hope the driver is okay to wait for a little
while; we’d hate to rush.” She thought she caught a flicker of irritation
in Grant’s expression, but he nodded his head and took a step
backward toward the door, as professional as ever.
“Of course,” he said. “I’ll let the driver know he can turn off the
Grant nodded once more when he reached the door, reminded
them to ring the bell by the fireplace if they needed assistance, and
then left the room. As soon as he was gone, Sadie leaned forward.
“They weren’t even going to shut off the engine,” she said smugly.
“They’d probably send us out there with Dixie cups and the scones
wrapped in a napkin if they could.”
“Mom, please,” Breanna said, reaching for her scone. “Can we
just enjoy these last few minutes?”
Oh, fine, Sadie said to herself. She was willing to put off nearly
anything when there was food in need of savoring. She picked up,
split, and jammed a scone before topping it with a dollop of clotted
“Are you sure you want to bother with the scone at all?” Sadie
asked, raising her eyebrows toward the treat in her daughter’s hand.
“Seeing as how these scones aren’t loaded with trans fats or preservatives?
I mean, they don’t even have any artificial coloring, for goodness’
“The scones,” Breanna said, pronouncing the word like an
American, “I like. But that cream stuff is nasty.”
“That cream stuff is called clotted cream,” Sadie corrected as she
put the halves of her scone back together, making a sandwich—which
was how the English ate their scones. “And Devon is famous for it.”
Breanna looked up and lifted her eyebrows. “The very words
clotted cream make my point: it even sounds gross. And talk about
unhealthy—it’s like pure butterfat.”
“And what do you think butter is made of?” Sadie asked, but
then she promptly ignored her daughter’s reply, putting up her hand
to block any further complaints as she took her first bite, allowing
the cool cream, sweet jam, and smooth scone to combine perfectly
in her mouth. She chewed slowly and carefully, savoring every moment.
When she opened her eyes, Breanna was grinning at her.
“You’re such a food junkie,” Breanna said.
“Agreed,” Sadie said before taking another bite.
It was several minutes before she finished a second scone,
set down her cup of tea—peppermint, since she thought real tea
tasted like wet socks—and let out a satisfied breath. “Our last tea in
England,” she said sadly. “And I never did wrestle the scone recipe
away from Mrs. Land.”
“Whatever,” Breanna said dismissively. “You’ll go home, spend two
weeks baking scone recipes you find online and end up with a recipe
that blows Mrs. Land’s out of the water. You can call them ‘Sadie’s
Scrumptulicious Scones’ or ‘Scones to Die For’ or something like that.”
Sadie cocked her head and smiled at the compliment. “You
know me too well.”
Breanna nodded and leaned back in her seat. She looked at her
watch—a waterproof, multifunctioning black monstrosity that was
as feminine as a chainsaw. “Where’s Liam?” she asked.
Sadie shrugged. He’d texted Breanna, telling them to wait for
him in the sitting room, but that had been nearly fifteen minutes ago.
Sadie eyed the two scones they’d left for him and wondered if he’d
notice if she ate one. Would he even have time to eat both scones
with the staff in such a hurry to be done with them? And yet, when
she’d put on her jeans this morning she found them a bit harder to
button up than they’d been when she had arrived. At fifty-six years
old she no longer had the metabolism of her youth and needed to
have limits. But it was so hard! And how often was she going to have
a cream tea in Devonshire? Sadie gave in and grabbed a third scone.
Breanna didn’t seem to notice, so Sadie quickly prepared it and then
savored every bite. When it was gone, the last scone called to her,
but this time she ignored it. She couldn’t eat all of Liam’s scones.
In order to distract herself from that last baked confection, she
reviewed all the amazing things they’d done and seen that week. She
and Breanna had made a list on the airplane from the U.S. and had
diligently sought out things from some of their favorite books and
movies set in England. They’d toured Tintagel, the ruins of King
Arthur’s castle in Cornwall, Ascot where Eliza Doolittle attended
the races in My Fair Lady, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland which
was used as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies, and they even took
the Jack the Ripper tour in London—creepy. Sadie felt sure they’d
gotten everything on the list, but reviewed it in her mind one last
time, mostly to keep herself from the final scone. Instantly, she sat up.
“We need to take a turn about the room,” she said excitedly. She
didn’t wait for an answer, instead she moved to her daughter’s side
and pulled her to her feet.
“What?” Breanna asked, looking at her strangely as she stumbled to
get her balance, nearly dropping the scone in her hand as she did so.
Sadie was already tugging her toward the perimeter of the room.
“Remember? It was on our list—taking a turn around the room like
Miss Bingley and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice.” She waved her
hand through the air in a regal fashion. “I’ll be Caroline Bingley and
you can be Elizabeth—although with your bad attitude, maybe you
should be Caroline.”
“I don’t remember us assigning characters when we put it on the
list,” Breanna said before taking a bite of her scone.
Sadie gave her a dirty look, ignoring the commentary. Breanna
shook her head but fell into step beside her mother, standing nearly
five inches taller than Sadie thanks to the genetics she’d inherited
from her birth parents. They walked slowly, scanning the collection
of paintings and antique furniture on the interior wall as they made
their way toward the far end of the long, narrow room. They’d been
in this room twice before, but hadn’t inspected it too closely. It was
only fitting that doing so should be part of their final moments at
When they neared the far wall, they turned and found themselves
looking out the window furthest from the door. It was one
of three floor-to-ceiling windows covered in elaborate folds of the
same fabric used on the settees she and Breanna had been sitting
on earlier. It had rained off and on all week, and had just started to
sprinkle again, giving the view of the garden a watery look. Breanna
popped the last of her scone in her mouth.
“I wish we’d had more time to walk through the gardens,” Sadie
said as they walked toward the window and she looked out upon the
meticulously kept shrubs and bushes. “It’s too bad it was so wet.”
Breanna suddenly stopped, and since Sadie’s arm was linked
through Breanna’s she was pulled to a stop as well, and none too
“Why are you being so difficult?” Sadie said, tugging on her
daughter’s arm again.
Breanna didn’t respond. Instead she lifted a hand and pointed
toward the curtain panel just to the right of the window.
The curtain was pushed out from the wall, nearly a foot. Poking
out from beneath the folds of the heavy pleated fabric were the toes
of two black leather shoes. A glass-fronted china cabinet, which
stood between two of the windows, kept that particular curtain panel
from being easily noticed. It was a perfect hiding place for whoever
had chosen to do just that.
“Hello?” Sadie asked after several seconds of silence.
She and Breanna shared a look and Sadie felt annoyance rush
through her at the idea that they were being spied upon. They’d
have overheard her suspicions about the staff wanting them to leave.
“Alright,” she said in her schoolteacher voice, directing her comments
toward the shoes that hadn’t moved. “We can see you, so
come out. Is that you, Liam?” Liam didn’t strike Sadie as the practical
joker type, but it was the only explanation she could think of.
No answer. Not Liam.
Breanna took a step back, pulling her mother with her, and although
Sadie’s chest prickled with apprehension, she refused to give
into it. She pulled herself up to her full five and a half feet and raised
her chin. “This isn’t funny,” she said. “So just make it easy on all of
us and come out.”
Taking a deep breath, and ignoring a new tremor of fear, she
took a few steps forward and in one motion pulled the drapes back in
order to unmask their uninvited guest.
Sadie sucked in a breath and didn’t move.
Breanna screamed before clamping both hands over her mouth.
The man impaled and subsequently pinned to the wall by what
looked like a fireplace poker did nothing but stare at the floor with
his face frozen in shocked horror, a blossom-shaped bloodstain on
Delightful Culinary Mystery
by Danyelle - reviewed on August 31, 2009
English Trifle is yet another delightful culinary mystery by Josi Kilpack. The english destination and included recipes were fantastic! My favorites were definitely Sadie's Scrumptulicious Scones & the Chicken Tikka Masala. One is sweet, the other is spicy - just like Kilpack's writing. A delicious combination!
Another Great Book
by Mary - reviewed on April 05, 2011
Picture a cool gray rainy day. For me that is the perfect kind of day to sit down with a good mystery. Josi Kilpack's 2nd Culinary Mystery, English Trifle, is just the mystery I chose to read on our cool gray Saturday. This book is fast moving and has a lot of twists and turns. More than once I thought I knew who did it and why, but I never suspected the real killer or the motive. If possible, this book was even better than the 1st Culinary Mystery, Lemon Tart, written by Josi Kilpack.
LOVELY LITTLE MYSTERY
by Heather - reviewed on October 09, 2009
I REALLY ENJOYED "LEMON TART", BUT THIS NOVEL IS MUCH BETTER! GREAT CHARACTERIZATION - AND GREAT TWISTS AT THE END. LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT ONE!
by Cheri - reviewed on February 21, 2010
The next installment in Sadie's mystery series, after Lemon Tart, is English Trifle. And I liked it better than the first. This time Sadie and her daughter are in England and find a body over tea. Full of clever dialogue, compelling characters and solid mystery, English Trifle is one of the best books I've read in a while.
A reader's delight!
by Shelli - reviewed on February 20, 2010
English Trifle was a reader's delight! It was so enjoyable that as I read the book I had to tell my husband the story all the way along! I love all of Josi Kilpack's books, but this one was so fun! Full of mystery and suspense without any gore. The reader is given just enough clues to not shock us when we find out "who did it", but not enough to give it away too early either. I can't wait to read Devil's Food Cake!
Just as good as Lemon Tart
by Lindsay - reviewed on February 20, 2010
I didn't think there was any way that English Trifle could be as good as the first book in the series, "Lemon Tart", but I was very wrong. English Trifle was just as enticing and suspenseful as the Lemon Tart with some new and exciting characters. I highly recommend this book and any other book by Kilpack. I have not been disappointed yet!
Another great book in the series!
by Stephanie - reviewed on April 05, 2011
Sadie is back! And she is as great as ever! I loved the England setting of this one and the mystery was really interesting. It was neat to have her daughter in it as well as it added a new dynamic. Another great book with great recipes!
Innocents abroad ;)
by Jordan - reviewed on September 06, 2010
English Trifle is the second of the Sadie Hoffmiller mysteries, but since I won a copy of it, I got to read it first. I found English Trifle completely absorbing! I devoured this book. (I know, I know, very punny.) But seriously, I loved the twists and turns in the plot, very few of which I saw coming. And it's always fun to romp in the English countryside. As always, Sadie's a bit on the preachy side, though I found her less so in this book than in Lemon Tart. And the recipes look wonderful! I made the eponymous trifle for my husband (he lived in Scotland for a few years and had fond memories of that dish). He loved it!