Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, Mary Anne Edwards, and her favorite recipe for BLUEBERRY SCONES WITH LEMON GLAZE!
A GOOD GIRL
A Charlie McClung Mystery
BY MARY ANNE EDWARDS
For Charlie McClung, going home to Virginia with Marian was supposed to be a joyous occasion, but upon arrival at his childhood home, he’s met with a note instead of his family.
“Don’t worry, Love, we’re all okay. Come to the shop. A dead girl was found in an armoire delivered just now. Huggies, Ma.”
Charlie is quickly recruited to help solve the murder of a young girl who was on the path to become a nun. The suspects begin to mount as Charlie delves deep into the girl’s life, revealing a sordid and ugly side of the town’s good girl.
A GOOD GIRL
A Charlie McClung Mystery
BY MARY ANNE EDWARDS
Charlie, was scrawled across the envelope taped over the doorbell. Charlie McClung’s heart pounded. This can’t be good. His family had been dying to meet Marian Selby and this was the big day, the big reveal. So, for his family not to be standing in the driveway with open arms could only mean something horrendous had happened. He yanked the folded paper from inside the envelope and read the note written by his mother.
Don’t worry, Love, we’re all okay. Come to the shop. A dead girl was found in an armoire delivered just now. Huggies, Ma.
“What’s the matter, Charlie?” Marian asked, staring at his wrinkled brow.
He sighed, “Oh, nothing. There’s a dead girl at The Antique Shop.”
Marian’s eyes grew wide and her mouth fell open. “Did you just say there’s a dead girl at The Antique Shop? Your family’s shop?”
“Yep.” Charlie nodded. “Let’s go.” He grabbed her hand and started toward his car.
She didn’t move. “That’s it? Dead girl, let’s go as if a dead girl is no big thing?”
He tugged her hand. “I’ll explain on the way.”
Once in the car, speeding toward Main Street, he gave her all the details he could. “So you understand now I wasn’t making light of a girl’s death. I was relieved my family was okay.”
Marian reached over and rubbed his shoulder. “Yeah, not exactly the welcome you expected. Sorry, I sounded so gruff.” She saw his smile smooth out the worry lines on his forehead.
Charlie clasped her hand and kissed it. “I love you, Marian Francis Selby, you know that? I’ll always give you all the facts, never keep any secrets. You can count on that.” He kissed her hand again before releasing it.
She sighed, “Yep, I know.” Pausing she added, “I love you, too.” Three months ago, she couldn’t have thought she would ever say those three sacred words to any man again. In her mind, they belonged to her husband, Lee, who died 11 years ago. But so many things had happened in such a short time. Her good friend and neighbor was murdered, and the same lunatic would have killed her, if not for Charlie. Then Lee appeared to her one night somewhere between a memory and a dream and released her to Charlie’s love.
Now, she was about to meet Charlie’s family the same way she had met him, over someone’s dead body. Staring out the car window, she watched his old neighborhood fly by as he drove to The Antique Shop. She caught bits and pieces of his family’s world: large Victorian homes with gorgeous flowers beds, well-maintained yards, and sidewalks shaded by arching Southern Live Oaks. Closing her eyes, Marian imagined Charlie as a little boy walking to school with his older brother and two younger sisters. She smiled thinking that there had probably been a lot of teasing, chucking acorns, and races to school.
Feeling a sharp right turn, she opened her eyes. They were going down Main Street, which was just as lovely as his old neighborhood. A large crowd had gathered in front of one of the long-standing stores. The Antique Shop was printed neatly in gold on a black sign above its door with a strip of bright yellow crime tape blocking its entrance. Several police cars and an ambulance were parked in front.
Charlie parked his 1967 Plymouth Belvedere GTX next to one of the police cruisers. Marian noticed Charlie clipping his badge on his belt as he walked directly toward the center of the mayhem.
An older officer with his thumbs hooked in his pant loops stood erect when he saw the two of them approaching. He put up a flat palm signaling them to stop. “This is an active crime scene. Please step …” The officer’s stern face transformed into a welcoming smile. “Charlie, you old dog. I heard you were comin’ up for a visit.” He extended his hand. “Good to see you.”
Shaking the officer’s hand, Charlie replied, “Yeah, good to be back, Mike. Say, what’s going on here?” Charlie pointed his chin toward the door of his family’s shop.
Mike smiled. “You must be Marian. The whole town’s been waitin’ to meet the one who finally snagged ol’ Charlie boy.” He shook her hand gently. “My name’s Mike. Mike Purvis.”
Marian blushed. “Um, yeah, my pleasure to meet you, Mike. I didn’t know Charlie was so popular.” She grinned at Charlie who stood scratching his head. “I can’t wait to meet everyone too.” She studied Mike’s pleasant face, guessing he was probably five years older than Charlie. He was tall, lean, and his dirty blonde hair had a buzz cut. His Siamese cat blue eyes revealed a happy soul. “So, I’m guessing you’ve known him for a while?” She leaned her head against Charlie as she entwined her arm around his.
Chuckling, Mike answered, “Known him practically all of his life.” Noticing Charlie’s exasperation, he cleared his throat. “Well, we can go into all of that later. I’m sure you want to know the details of what’s happened. Don’t you?”
“Walk me through it, sergeant.” Charlie ducked under the single piece of crime tape. He held it up, motioning for Marian to join them.
As they hurried toward the back of the store, Marian gasped at the sight of the exquisite antiques. This had to be the most beautiful and organized antique shop she’d ever seen. It was as if she were walking through a museum. Her attention was torn away from the lovely pieces when she heard Mike say, “She was strangled, and a red rosary was stuffed in her mouth.”
A sick feeling washed over her as they entered the dimly lit storage room. Slowing her steps, Marian wondered if she really wanted to be this close to Charlie’s work.
A slight pull caused Charlie to turn. He saw Marian’s pale cheeks and cupped her face. Staring into her eyes he said, “You can stay here if you’d rather not tag along.”
Her mouth twitched with his concern and she felt like crying. Marian kissed his cheek. “Thank you, but I want to know what you feel. I want to understand, be a part of you.”
A smiled played on his full lips. “Okay, but at any time, you can leave and I’ll understand. Okay?”
Sergeant Purvis interrupted. “Is she coming with?”
“Yes. Yes, I am,” Marian answered with determination.
Pursing his lips and nodding, Purvis handed them each a pair of latex gloves. “All right then, put these on.”
Charlie snapped on the gloves and then helped Marian with hers. “When did you start using these?”
“Oh, a few months ago thanks to your doctor brother-in-law and your niece, Mary Grace. Said we’re livin’ in the 80s now. Just because we’re a small town doesn’t mean we’re immune from the big city problems.” Purvis rubbed his gloved hands together. “Yep. Things have changed a lot since my rookie days,” he added and headed toward the back door.
Purvis opened the heavy door. Bright sunlight flooded the storage room, along with sounds of the small mob that had gathered to witness the police investigation.
A cheer went up when Charlie stepped outside. “There he is, Ma. It’s Charlie.”
Three officers held back the McClung clan gathered just beyond the crime scene. “Stand back. Don’t go tramping on evidence. Back up! Stay behind the tape.”
“Oh, glory be, there she is!” exclaimed a mature lady with flaming red hair. She leaned against the bright yellow tape, motioning for Marian to come over.
Charlie whispered in Marian’s ear. “That’s Ma and the family. We better go over before the officers have to handcuff her.”
Marian hesitated. Looking into his eyes, she murmured, “But I thought you were going to let me be a part of this?” She nodded toward the armoire standing in the parking lot five feet from the door they had exited. “To understand your work?”
Charlie kissed her forehead. “Family first.” He guided her around the armoire toward his family. They went under the tape and into his mother’s wide open arms.
Marian felt as if she would be crushed by all the arms that surrounded her. She looked for Charlie and saw him standing behind his mother. He laughed, mouthing, “They love you.”
“All right now. Move back so I can get a good look at her.” The crowd parted at Ma’s command. “Ah, look at ya now. You’re a pretty young thing. Isn’t she, Da?”
An older version of Charlie appeared next to Ma. “Aye, she’s a fine lookin’ lass, that she is,” Da answered as he stood with his arms crossed, looking her up and down.
Their lilting Irish accents made Marian smile.
Charlie wrapped his arm around Marian. “This is my mother, Mary Kathleen, and my father, John Patrick. Ma, Da, Marian.”
The family as a whole embraced her, again. Each one introduced themselves to her, welcoming her into their clan. Marian was overwhelmed with their outpouring of love. Immediately, she felt like a part of them, as if she was their long-lost daughter.
“Hey! We’ve got a murder over here, Detective McClung. I could use your help,” snarled a tall man in a dark business suit leaning against the armoire with his arms and ankles crossed.
Charlie smiled when he saw his baby sister’s husband. Rachel had followed in Ma’s footsteps and married a copper – an Irish one at that, Luke O’Sullivan. He clasped his brother-in-law’s hand. “How are you doing, Luke? I heard you made detective.”
Luke shrugged and motioned for him to follow. “I was doing okay until Rach called me all in a tizzy.” He stopped just before rounding the armoire. Scratching his narrow chin he cocked his head toward Charlie. “Gotta be honest with you; this is my first homicide. Things like this don’t happen in Mercy City, you know.”
Charlie saw Luke swallow the nervous lump caught in his throat. “So what do you have?” When they rounded the antique armoire, he shook his head grimacing at the macabre sight of a young girl’s body. She looked familiar. “Who is she?” he asked as he squatted to get a better look. She was tiny, about 5 feet tall and maybe 100 pounds. Her black hair was tangled in a slender red cord wound tightly around her swan-like neck. The cord was nothing extraordinary, red with tassels on each end. Cranberry red rosary beads were dangling from her bluish lips. Her thickly lashed brown eyes would have been beautiful if not clouded and frozen open in death.
“She’s Jason and Becky Rogers’ girl, Darla Jean. They reported her missing early this morning.” Luke rubbed his face with both hands. “That’s what makes it even tougher. I know them. My boy, Jack, went to school with her. Criminy, how am I going tell them their only child is dead?”
Although I was born in Mercedes, Texas, I have lived in Georgia most of my life which has been filled with a variety of experiences. Some were great and some, well let’s just say I have learned many lessons the hard way.
I have been married for 34+ years to the most practically perfect man, Jeff. We have a new addition to our family, a Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. We enjoy traveling and watching mysteries on TV. I am active in Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter, a member of Mystery Writers of America, and sit on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, Inc., a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.
I began writing in high school but not seriously until 1999. I write traditional mysteries and my biggest influences are Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, Elizabeth Peters, and of course, my family. I have a collection of eclectic short stories titled, “My Favorite Work of Art,” currently out of print.
My first manuscript, “Useless Beauty,” is waiting for me to breathe life into it. It was put on hold because my second manuscript, “Brilliant Disguise,” was begging to be written. It is the first in the Detective Charlie McClung mysteries. “Brilliant Disguise” was released January, 2014. The second book, “A Good Girl,” was released September, 2014. I am currently working on the third book in the series, “Criminal Kind.” There are seven more to follow in the series. This series is set during the early 1980s in a small town in Georgia.
Links to Mary Anne’s website, blog, books, etc.
Amazon Author’s Page:
I hope you enjoy the recipe Mary Anne is sharing with us today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy eating!
P.S. We’re at 198 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
BLUEBERRY SCONES WITH LEMON GLAZE
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ Teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 Cup fresh blueberries
1 Cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
½ Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Cups confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Lemon, zest finely
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut in the butter into the dry ingredients to coat the pieces with the flour mixture. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Gently fold the blueberries into the flour/butter mixture. Do not mash or bruise the blueberries; their color will bleed into the dough. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.
Press the dough into an 8 – 12 inch round mound, depending on the thickness you prefer. Cut into eight wedges or more depending on your preference. Place the wedges on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Let the scones cool before you glaze.
You can make the glaze in the microwave or double boiler. Mix the lemon juice with the confectioners’ sugar until dissolved in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water or microwave-proof bowl, depending on the method you choose. Whisk in the butter and lemon zest. Either microwave the glaze for 30 seconds or continue to whisking in the double boiler. Whisk the glaze smooth and free of lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.
Hints: You can use half-n-half in place of heavy cream. The batter maybe sticky so you use less cream or add a tiny bit of flour until the dough is workable. I baked the round first for 15 minutes then cut into wedges and baked a few more minutes until done.
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Mary Anne is giving away a Kindle copy of A GOOD GIRL to one lucky reader who comments on her Killer Fixin’s blog. Don’t miss the chance to read this book! Thanks, Mary Anne, for sharing your story with us!