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A recipe for murder!\r\r
- 5 families living on Peregrine Circle \r\r
- 1 flowered curtain tieback \r\r
- 1 missing child \r\r
- 1 body in the field
Mix with a long list of suspects and top with two very different detectives. Increase heat until only the truth remains.\r\r
Award-winning author Josi S. Kilpack introduces a new series of culinary _ã–cozies_ã� that is sure to tantalize mystery lovers. In this debut volume, cooking aficionado-turned-amateur detective, Sadie Hoffmiller, tries to solve the murder of Anne Lemmon, her beautiful young neighbor _ã” a single mother who was mysteriously killed while a lemon tart was baking in her oven. At the heart of Sadie's search is Anne's missing two-year-old son, Trevor. Whoever took the child must be the murderer, but Sadie is certain that the police are looking at all the wrong suspects _ã” including her!\r\r
Armed with a handful of her very best culinary masterpieces, Sadie is determined to bake her way to proving her innocence, rescuing Trevor, and finding out exactly who had a motive for murder.
- Published: 2009
- Size: 5½" x 8"
- Pages: 368
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.
The first police car went by at 9:23 according to the clock on the microwave. Sadie leaned forward, but the black walnut tree in Jack and Carrie’s yard obstructed her view to the west. She scowled at the tree and went back to coring the last of the apples she’d spent all morning making into applesauce. She waited for the police car to turn around in the cul-de-sac and pass by her window on its way out. That’s the only reason police cars ever drove into Peregrine Circle.
Except this time.
A second police car sped past less than a minute after the first, and Sadie stopped thinking about apples altogether. Living in the house on the corner, Sadie considered herself a sort of sentry standing guard over Peregrine Circle—her lack of view to the west notwithstanding—and her curiosity was piqued.
After putting the last of the apples into the pot and setting it to simmer, Sadie removed the jars that had just finished processing and put them on a dish towel next to the sink so they could cool properly. She then rinsed her hands and dried them on the hem of the Colorado State hoodie she wore—a birthday gift from Breanna last year—and turned off the Paul Simon CD that had kept her company all morning. Before stepping outside, she inspected herself in the small mirror she’d hung by the front door. She frowned at her reflection and removed the stretchy headband that held back her hair. She ran her fingers through her hair in an attempt to shape it into some semblance of order. Usually she was quite well put together, but today she was canning which meant she hadn’t showered, which meant she hadn’t blow-dried her hair, which meant the chunked-out sections hadn’t been lifted and flipped to perfectly frame her face. But she didn’t have time for that right now, so she gave her hair a final finger comb, coaxing her bangs to the side as best she could, grabbed her jacket, and pulled open the front door.
Her flip-flops smacked against the front steps beneath the frayed hem of her work jeans—paint-splattered denim washed so many times they felt like flannel. Never mind that the knees were nearly worn through or that she’d had to sew one of the pockets back on after an unfortunate incident involving a chain-link fence last summer. The jeans were comfort themselves and the perfect company for a day spent putting up applesauce.
She reached the sidewalk and shot another hateful glace at the tree as she approached it. Someday she was going to accidentally chop it down or light it on fire or something.
When Sadie and her late husband, Neil, had designed the house twenty-seven years ago, Sadie had insisted on a big window above the kitchen sink and facing the street. She liked to watch the comings and goings of the neighborhood, and with the inordinate amount of time spent at the sink since then, doing all the things a mother of two uses a sink for, the window had been a good investment. Sadie’s baby brother, Jack, and his family, had bought the lot next door a few years later and the black walnut tree had been a housewarming gift Sadie wished she’d considered with a bit more care back then. She hadn’t expected the tree to grow so big as to block much of the view she had insisted on. However, it didn’t take long to walk past the tree and see which home had been the cause of alarm.
The two police cars were parked next to the curb. Sadie increased her pace and cut across the cul-de-sac—looking both ways, just in case.
“What’s happened?” she asked an officer posted on the front walk next to the mailbox decorated with little lemon decals—Anne loved capitalizing on her last name even though she spelled it with two M’s. Before he could answer her question, another officer, older—but not by much; thirty-five tops—came around the side of the house. His eyes locked onto hers and he came toward her.
“Do you know the occupants of this house?” he asked when he reached her. The name on his gold badge read Malloy. She swore there was a TV cop with the same name, but she couldn’t remember which show.
Sadie nodded. “Anne Lemmon and her two-year-old son, Trevor. Is everything okay?” Anne and Trevor had moved into the Tillys’ rental house about nine months earlier. She’d come from back East with practically nothing but her determination to change the wild ways that had landed her as a twenty-five-year-old single mom in the first place.
Both of Sadie’s kids were away at college, and Sadie had taken early retirement eighteen months ago in order to care for her father who’d been diagnosed with colon cancer. Dad had passed away last December, and since then Sadie had enjoyed mentoring Anne—helping to quell her own loneliness—and they’d developed a wonderful friendship despite a nearly thirty-year age difference. Sadie was proud of the way Anne had taken to the changes in her life.
“Two-year-old son, you say,” Malloy repeated, writing something down in a little notebook he held in his hand.
“What’s happened?” Sadie asked for the second time.
“I’m afraid I can’t give you that information, ma’am,” he said, his tone blank and unsympathetic.
Sadie looked at Anne’s front door, wondering what could have mustered this amount of attention. A third officer came around the corner of the house—he was chubby, with thick legs and a neck that disappeared between his head and shoulders.
<p.Don’t you have to be in good shape to be a police officer these days? Sadie wondered. Apparently not.
“It’s locked up tight. We’ll have to bust in—”
“Shut up, Harris!” Malloy yelled as he spun around, silencing the other man who seemed to have just noticed Sadie.
“I can let you in if you like,” Sadie said, smiling sweetly and ignoring Malloy’s gruffness. Surely the officers would give her more information if she helped them—and she desperately wanted more information.
Officer Malloy lifted an eyebrow. “You have a key?”
“Of course,” Sadie said, her smile widening. “Just last week I let the furnace repairman in while Anne was at work. I retired a year or so ago, see, and even though I substitute now and again I’m home more than anyone else.”
Every family in the circle had asked her, at one time or another, to keep their spare keys and she’d eventually put them all on the same ring that she always kept in her jacket pocket. Well, everyone had asked her to keep a key except for Mr. Henry, the house just next to Anne on the west side. All the same, Sadie knew he kept his spare key in one of those fake rocks you can buy online. She’d spotted that rock within days of his purchase.
She pulled the smiley-face key ring from her pocket and took a step toward the house, excited to be part of whatever they were doing.
“You’ll need to wait out here,” Malloy said arrogantly, stepping in front of her to block her progress. He was only a couple inches taller than her five-foot-six, and although she had a smaller build, she was strong thanks to three visits a week to the gym. If she wanted to, she could probably take him. But instead she reluctantly separated Anne’s key from the others and handed it to him, the other keys dangling on the ring. He didn’t even say thank you, and she frowned at his bad manners. The chubby cop hurried to catch up with Malloy and the two men climbed the steps.
The officer who’d been posted on the walk came to stand next to her and together they watched Malloy unlock the door, get into position, and then push open the door.
“Garrison police!” Officer Malloy yelled, taking Sadie by surprise and making her jump just a little. She looked at her guard, glad he didn’t seem to have noticed her reaction or at least was too polite to smirk about it. By the time she looked back to the door, Malloy and the chubby officer had disappeared inside.
It was a long wait as she imagined what could have necessitated three police officers to investigate Anne’s house. She really wished she knew what was going on. Officer Malloy finally came out after a few minutes and said it was all clear. As he descended the steps, he spoke into the speaker clipped to the shoulder of his uniform. “There’s nothing here,” he said. “What exactly did the tip say?”
When he reached Sadie’s position on the sidewalk, he said, “I’d like to ask you some questions about Ms. Lemmon.” He pulled a tiny notebook out of his shirt pocket just as something crackled on his walkie-talkie that Sadie couldn’t understand. She’d always wondered about those tiny police notebooks. It seemed as though they’d fill one every single day, and she imagined boxes and boxes of filled notebooks shoved into closets at the police station. She hoped they recycled.
“Just a minute,” he said to her before turning away and talking into the speaker again.
She looked toward the front door, and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, her anxiety growing as her imagination ran away from her. So the police had received some kind of tip. Had there been an accident? Was Trevor okay? Anne’s car was still parked in the carport. But the officer said the house was empty—how could that be?
Malloy was still talking on his walkie-talkie when Sadie noticed a familiar smell. She sniffed the air a second time. Lemon tart, she thought as she identified the aroma.
Anne was baking!
Sadie immediately relaxed, all the horrible possibilities taking a backseat to simple common sense. Nothing had happened to Anne at all; the tip that brought the police to her house had been some kind of mistake. Sadie smiled to herself and took a deep breath, almost feeling foolish for letting her mind run on ahead as it had.
“Um, officer,” she said, tapping Officer Malloy’s arm, eager to share her discovery with him. He scowled at her and took a step away, continuing his conversation on the speaker. He seemed to be having some kind of argument with a dispatcher—something about the whole thing being a waste of time and wanting permission to write up the tip as unsubstantiated.
Sadie couldn’t make heads or tails out of what the fuzzy voice coming from the walkie-talkie was saying. She looked at the front door of Anne’s house again. Everyone knew that once you could smell whatever had been set to bake, it was nearly finished. Was she really expected to stand out here while the tart burned?
Her guard went to get something out of his car, and Sadie assumed the chubby officer was still inside the house. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, her anxiety growing again. Taking a step toward the house, she thought better of it and retreated, tapping Malloy on the arm again. He didn’t even look at her, but took two steps farther away from her.
Fine, she thought as she headed up the steps.
“Hey!” she heard Officer Malloy call out as she reached the door. But she was too far into this to go back now.
“Lemon tart!” she shouted back, then quickened her pace and hurried into the kitchen, not wanting him to catch up and stop her. “Can’t you smell it?” she yelled over her shoulder, flying past the chubby officer, Harris, who was standing in the living room writing down notes.
Sadie had shown Anne how to cook all kinds of things over the last several months, but Anne had been particularly studious about learning to bake the perfect lemon tart—she’d wanted it to become her signature dessert.
“She’s baking,” Sadie explained when she reached the stove.
Harris was right behind her and reached around her to grab the handle of the oven. He seemed to be repeating what she’d just said in his mind—as if he knew the difference between a lemon tart and a quiche.
On second thought, he might, Sadie thought after taking a second look at the belly hanging over his pants. He had a certain appreciation for food, it seemed. Sadie quickly put her hand on the door to keep it closed. “Every time you open an oven you lose five minutes of baking time,” she said to Harris, her eyes narrowed.
“Let go of that, Harris,” Malloy said from the kitchen doorway. Harris dropped the handle, looking flushed and uncertain. Officer Malloy turned to Sadie—his face was red too, but she doubted it was for the same reason as Harris. She lifted her chin in defiance and tried to stand as tall as she could, bringing herself almost to eye level with him.
“I told you to wait outside,” he said, his eyebrows pinched together and his eyes angry. She couldn’t be sure but he seemed to be pulling himself up taller too—perhaps to look down on her a little better. She was not impressed.
“And let the tart burn?” she asked with exaggerated incredulity. What she wanted more than the salvation of the tart was to look around the house herself, but for the moment she kept her eyes locked on Malloy’s, not wanting to appear the least bit intimidated. She had at least twenty years on this kid and she wasn’t the type of woman who let herself be pushed around.
He let out a breath as if she were a child and that got her back up even more. He might know how to investigate some tip and enjoy bullying the neighbors, but Sadie knew Anne and she knew this house. If something wasn’t right, she’d be the one who would notice—not him. He narrowed his eyes and took a deep breath. Sadie mimicked his expression, narrowing her eyes even more.
“Please return outside,” he said slowly, calculating. “Harris, turn off the oven.”
“Turn it off?” Sadie said in disbelief, stepping back to block the oven door. “No way.”
Malloy’s expression faltered and she saw his uncertainty, which only strengthened her resolve.
“Excuse me?” he asked as if he hadn’t heard her correctly.
“Most people vastly underestimate the satisfaction of good homemaking skills and I won’t have anyone sabotage Anne’s attempts. There are”—she turned her head to look at the timer—“three minutes left. This oven will not be opened a minute sooner.”
“You’re interfering with a police investigation,” Officer Malloy said as he took a step toward her, his jaw clenched.
“And you’re interfering with a woman’s kitchen.” Sadie lifted her chin even higher—partly because he was now only ten inches or so from her face. Malloy seemed to be trying to find a reply, but she continued before he had the chance. “You said yourself it was all clear and that whatever tip brought you here was unfounded,” she said. “And Anne wouldn’t have been baking if she weren’t going to be right back. In case she isn’t, I’ll remove it.” Yet even as she said it, the unease in her stomach grew. There were too many questions in her mind now.
Why would Anne put a tart in the oven and then leave? Sadie had been at her kitchen window all morning, how could she have missed Anne leaving? Why was the house locked up if she were only going to be gone a few minutes? What about Trevor?
The officer clenched his jaw even tighter; she thought she heard his teeth grind as he seemed to consider her words. “Harris, make sure she doesn’t touch anything but the oven. McKesson and I will widen the exterior sweep.”
Apparently Malloy was in charge because Harris folded his beefy arms and glared at her while Malloy went back out the front door.
While the tart finished baking, Sadie looked around the kitchen and the part of the living room in her range of vision. Everything looked normal—right down to the lemon-themed placemats on the table. The sink held an assortment of dishes, the counters were mostly cleared, and Trevor’s shoes were by the back door. She’d hoped to get some idea of what had brought the police here, but she was starting to admit maybe Officer Malloy had been right—everything looked clear.
When the timer dinged at exactly 9:40, Harris wouldn’t let her open the drawer next to the oven to get a set of hot pads. Sadie had to pull her hands into the sleeves of her jacket to keep from burning her fingers as she removed the tart. He also wouldn’t let her find a cooling rack, so she was forced to set the pan on the stovetop, which was not the optimal way to cool baked goods. She kept that information to herself, however.
It’s perfect, she thought as she set the tart down. The crust underneath the bronzed filling was golden brown, and pride welled in Sadie’s heart to realize how far Anne had come. About the only thing Anne knew how to make when she had moved in was Belgian waffles—an odd item to perfect, but at least it meant she had some basic culinary knowledge. Now she was well on her way to becoming a superior cook. But the worry for her young friend returned as Sadie looked at the steaming confection. No one worked this hard on a lemon tart and treated it like it was any old frozen pie. Something was very wrong.
She turned to Harris to share her suspicions—but he was looking out the patio door, watching something. Sadie followed his line of vision and froze when she saw the other two officers gathered around something in the field of weeds behind Anne’s house. Harris hurried out the back door and Sadie followed. She was stepping over the threshold when she heard Officer Malloy say, “Tape off the area. I’ll call homicide.”
Outstanding, laugh out loud, book.
by C. A. - reviewed on July 15, 2011
Great characters. Couldn't put it down. Can't wait to read the rest of her books.
A Very Cozy Culinary Mystery!!!!
by Teri - reviewed on June 05, 2009
Lemon Tart: A Culinary Mystery by Josi S.Kilpack With Josi's previous books on issues, her newest is the start of a delightful culinary series. I've always enjoyed culinary mysteries, what with several mouth-watering recipes interspersed through out just to whet our appetite, it just makes you want more. Since this one is Lemon Tart, the cover is uniquely yellow!!!! Sadie Hoffmiller, cooking afficianado and amateur sleuth, finds her neighbor's dead body in a field out in the neighbor's back yard. The police tend to suspect Sadie when she runs ahead of them searching for suspects and reasons why the young mother was murdured. With more suspects looming on the horizon, Sadie's not sure what will happen next. And, Anne's two year old son is miussing and it's up to Sadie to find him and bring the murderer to justice. With her second in the series, English Trifle, due out in Aug, you'll want to read this and savor each page!!!! Forever Friends Rating 5 Stars by Teri Until Next Time, See You Around The Book Nook Publisher: Deseret Book Company Pub. Date: March 2009 ISBN-13: 9781606410509 361pp
Great New Mystery Series
by Danyelle - reviewed on July 08, 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed Josi's first book in her new culinary mystery series. I loved the characters and it kept me guessing right up to the end. Definitely love the recipes!
so much fun!
by Chelsie - reviewed on April 09, 2009
I love Josi Kilpack's books. All of them are amazing and this one is definetly included in that. It was a very easy read - I finished it in one day. What I love about her books are that they are never predicatable and this one isn't either. It keeps you guessing til the end! Great Read!
Simply a Delight!
by Heather - reviewed on February 03, 2009
This cozy mystery is just that--Cozy! Main character and amateur sleuth/busy-body neighbor Sadi Hoffmiller is a delight. At 50-something, Sadie is a single widowed mother who is in a steady relationship once again. She is the rock of her neighborhood and every neighbor has trusted her with keys to their homes. When a tragic murder takes place, Sadie is the first to discover the circumstances. Trouble is, she knows more about each neighbor than the police could possibly discover on their own. Sadie is funny, quirky, and just the person to get her neighborhood back to normal. With a little romance and a lot of yummy baking, you'll have fun trying to guess "who-done-it" until the last couple of chapters. After reading this I baked some peanut butter bars--nothing as fancy as lemon tart or cinnamon-ginger cookies--but now I have a few new recipes to try . . .
A Delicious Read
by Alice - reviewed on September 07, 2010
I rarely give five stars to a book, but this one earned every one of them! This book introduces us to Sadie, who loves to cook almost as much as she loves sticking her nose in others' business, and is a delightful and sometimes surprising character. This book was a fun read and a true page-turner, with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing right up to the end. I also love that the book was clean - no profanity, vulgarity, etc., something which my teenage daughter also appreciated. I've tried a couple of the recipes, and they were a delicious and fun addition to the book. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series!
by Stephanie - reviewed on February 21, 2010
This book has many intriguing elements: a mystery, humor and yummy recipes! Sadie Hoffmiller is a busybody neighbor who knows her way around the kitchen. When a delicious mystery rears its intriguing lemon head, Sadie pushes herself into the middle of it; she can't help herself, especially where food is involved. I liked Sadie and look forward to reading more of her adventures. She's spunky, honest, smart and grounded. Plus, her neighbors get to enjoy Sadie's baked goods. Sadie was sharing her baking knowledge with a young neighbor. The neighbor is killed and her two-year old son is missing. Can Sadie connect the clues in this murder recipe without getting herself in trouble? This 'cozy' mystery was a fun, clean, quick read that kept me guessing until the mystery was solved. The books in this series would make delightful gifts for any reader on your list.
Fun, entertaining, and suspensful!
by Crystal - reviewed on July 07, 2009
I loved this book! Often when I'm reading books I can guess what's going to happen. When I was reading this book there were a couple times I thought I had it figured out, but I always turned out wrong. I love when that happens! I couldn't put it down because I had to find out what happens next. I can't wait to read English Trifle! Josi is an amazing author!
by Crystal - reviewed on February 09, 2009
I thought I could read a little and then put it down--wrong I stayed up to ALL hours of night because it sucked me in so strongly! The characters were strong and quirky, Sadie the main character was wonderful, she had me laughing on every page, this was a perfect late night read, kept me hooked and it didn't disappoint. It ended strong and kept me turning page after page--I will be re-reading it NEXT weekend for sure! A powerful start to fun filled series!
Intriguing, engaging, and fun to read!
by Marle - reviewed on February 11, 2009
I could almost see Sadie. She was caring and real and funny. The plot was surprising and very compelling. I had to put it down once, but started up as soon as I could the next day! I really enjoyed the various interactions by the characters in the book. I can't wait to try some of those recipes- I didi try the tart! Yummy! All of Josi's books are good to read.
Sooo much fun!
by Melanie - reviewed on May 30, 2009
I loved this little cozy from Josi. It was a great read. I curled right up with it and made an enjoyable night of it. My mother-in-law loved it for Mother's Day and I'm excited for her next one to come out. Sadie (the main character) is a lot of fun!
Great quick summer- read mystery
by Heather - reviewed on May 29, 2009
Enjoyable reading! It's like reading about your own neighbor being a sleuth!
by Brenda - reviewed on April 02, 2012
It is so refreshing to finally get to read a good ole mystery that is funny and no language, There are alot of these recipe books out there but none like Josi Kilpack! I can't wait for the newest one, and I even shared this with our Local Librarian and she ordered them for our county Library.
A book to ensnare!
by L.T. - reviewed on July 07, 2009
If you're planning on a little R&R before bed, don't pick up this book. It will grab a hold of you and won't let go until you turn that last page! Filled with mystery, humor, and delicious recipes, Lemon Tart is a feast for your senses. You'll have the hypnotic urge to abandon all responsibility in favor of "just one more chapter." You've simply GOT to find out how Sadie Hoffmiller gets herself out of this mess. Josi takes you on a sumptuous ride of both mind and tastebuds! You won't want to miss it! (And guess what? The sequel comes out July 25th!)
What an Enjoyable book!
by Cheri - reviewed on July 09, 2009
I had so much fun reading Lemon Tart. The recipes throughout the book are great--I can't wait to try them. When I read mystery, whether I want to or not, I work out "whodunit" long before the end of the book. This book had enough twists to keep me guessing, which made it extra fun.
by Holly - reviewed on July 10, 2009
A lot of fun. I'm not normally a big fan of mysteries, but I'm a big fan of Josi Kilpack. Lemon Tart is simply a fun book to read. Sadie Hoffmiller is one of those neighbors you wish you had living next door. A widow whose children are raised, Sadie loves to cook and bake and look out for her neighbors. When Anne Lemmon, a young, single mother moves into the neighborhood, Sadie becomes her friend and mentor. When Anne is tragically murdered while a lemon tart bakes in her oven, Sadie decides to begin her own investigation. Anne's young son is missing and Sadie is convinced that the police detectives aren't able to solve the murder and find Trevor. Josi has given us a cast of interesting characters and blended the story so well, that I didn't have the actual murderer figured out until the very end. Sadie is delightful and you just want to laugh out loud at her antics and thought processes as she trips up the detectives and forms her own opinions and conclusions. A simply delightful read. Light, but not fluffy and packed full of delicious recipes that I'm determined to try. I'm excited that this is part of a series. Sadie is someone I want to visit again.
A completely satisfying treat!
by Susan - reviewed on July 13, 2009
Josi, I love your style anyway, but this was your best! I thought the main character was great, the story kept me page-turning, and I got a kick out of the unexpected spunk Sadie had tucked under her belt. The recipes are great, too! I've tried them. The only "gripe" I had was the idea that a 56 year old widow is a senior citizen. I'm 56 and I can still run circles around people years younger than I am--and I don't getting any senior discounts yet, either. I need to talk to somebody about that. It was so amusing to see the wisdom this character had, though, because of her age. She had me laughing but on my toes, too, all the way through. (I can't imagine trying to cram myself under a bed to hide from the bad guy.) Couldn't put it down. Read it and enjoy!
so much fun
by Margot - reviewed on February 20, 2010
I had a great time reading Lemon Tart. The main character is real and sassy, the mystery is engaging, and the recipes are yum!
Hard to Put Down!
by Stephanie - reviewed on April 05, 2011
I was not sure if I would like this book as much as Josi's other ones since Sadie is an older character, and I am used to reading about younger characters, but once I started reading I could not put it down! I had to keep reading to figure out who was guilty, and the book really kept me guessing and on edge the my seat the whole time!
by Stephanie - reviewed on August 31, 2010
How can you not love Sadie? She is unlike any other character that I have read about in a book like this. And the story is very entertaining as well as suspenseful and really drew me in!
by Jordan - reviewed on September 06, 2010
Josi Kilpack's Lemon Tart is a fun read. I read English Trifle first (the second in the series), and was excited to read the first installment of amateur sleuth Sadie Hoffmiller. I really enjoyed the final chase sequence after the murderer is revealed. I also liked that the murderer was such a surprise--I'm usually pretty good at calling the murderer (except when my imagination is far more interesting than the author's!), but Kilpack totally got me. At times, Sadie can be a little preachy (okay, it almost makes me *want* her to get her comeuppance!), but she does hold herself to as high a standard as she holds others, and she recognizes that she's not perfect. And of course, I can't wait to try the recipes!