Karen’s Killer Fixin’s
with NORA PAGE!
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, NORA PAGE, and her favorite recipe for CLEO’S BACON & CHEDDAR BUTTERMILK BISCUITS!!
READ OR ALIVE
A Bookmobile Mystery Book 3
BY NORA PAGE
Wrongful accusations have librarian Cleo Watkins and her loved ones booked for trouble.
It’s springtime and septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins is celebrating new blooms and old books. To her delight, the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society has brought its annual fair to Catalpa Springs in honor of Cleo’s gentleman friend, respected antiquarian bookseller and restorer, Henry Lafayette. However, trouble rolls in with the fair when a flirtatious book scout makes the rounds, charming locals out of prized books.
Among the conned is Cleo’s cousin, Dot, who handed over a signed, first edition of Gone with the Wind. With no proof the scout took the valuable book, Dot is at a loss. And when the deceitful man is found murdered the very next morning, Dot becomes a prime suspect. To Cleo’s dismay, so is Henry. The scene of the crime is behind Henry’s shop and his bookbinding tool is the murder weapon. As evidence stacks up against Henry, the police aren’t alone in questioning his innocence. Even friends and family ask Cleo how well she truly knows her gentleman friend.
Although books are at the heart of the crimes, Cleo feels dizzyingly out of her depths. Someone is setting up the people she holds dearest. With the authorities on the wrong trail, Cleo has no choice but to catalog the evidence herself. Along with her trusty bookmobile cat Rhett Butler, it will be up to Cleo to book the real killer for good.
Librarian Cleo Watkins prided herself on living a modest life. In all her seventy-six years, Cleo had never craved designer shoes, flashy jewels, or a new-model car. She was judicious in her use of air conditioning, although a tad flagrant with the furnace. Cleo canned peaches and put up her own pickles. She still darned socks.
However, everyone has a weakness, some little luxury they can’t resist. An obsession?
Obsession sounded extreme.
But, then, so was Cleo’s love for books.
“Hold tight to your wallet, Cleo Jane.” Mary-Rose Garland, Cleo’s best friend since infancy, clapped a protective hand over her purse, so slender Cleo doubted it could hold sunglasses let alone important purchases.
Like books! Armloads and bags of books!
They paused at a crosswalk, allowing Cleo to take in a sight that made her heart go pitter-patter. Sunlight glittered off the emerald-tile cap of the historic Catalpa Springs Railway Depot. The last train departed decades ago, but the long brick building lived on, now hosting special events. There were weddings and expos and a recent gathering of pedigree-rabbit enthusiasts. Then there was the present event, which was very special to Cleo.
“The Georgia Antiquarian Book Society Fair,” Cleo said, blissfully reading the banner stretched over the entry. She mentally replayed the fair’s promise: a one-week extravaganza of rare books, old books, used books, maps, manuscripts, and bookish ephemera beyond imagination.
Cleo felt as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning, Halloween, and her birthday combined. It was opening day, and Cleo had taken the morning off from her bookmobile duties to attend. Taking time off wasn’t something Cleo did lightly. She adored captaining Words on Wheels, her retrofitted school-bus bookmobile. She knew how much her patrons depended on the mobile library too.
Cleo again rationalized that it was her professional duty. Cleo was a librarian, and thus books were her business. She and her young protégé, Leanna, had made up special displays of collectible library books and ephemera too. Cleo would be driving hers around in Words on Wheels, while Leanna had hers on prominent display in the main library.
. . . .
Cleo stepped into the crosswalk, eager to get inside.
An arm whipped across her chest, halting her. “Proceed with caution, Cleo,” said Mary-Rose, more firmly than the sparse Monday-morning traffic on Main and Elberta streets warranted. “Let’s agree right here and now. We’ll do a full scoping lap around the booths first, remembering that we’re sensible, mature women on budgets.”
Cleo shelved the words under recommendation. Subcategory: well-intended but unrealistic, like the proper serving size of French fries being six pieces. Who could possibly hold to such a tiny number? Who would want to? Not Cleo, but she wouldn’t argue with a friend on such a fine, sparkly day.
“Of course,” Cleo said, twining fibbing fingers behind a purse the size of carry-on luggage. The purse was empty except for her wallet and several expandable shopping bags.
Mary-Rose snorted and allowed them to proceed. “The look in your eye, Cleo Jane Watkins. You’re like a kid about to dive into a chocolate swimming pool. All I ask is that you don’t go drowning in temptation. No falling in love with a book you can’t afford and getting your heart broken.
It was Cleo’s turn to scoff. “How could I ever get my heart broken among books and booklovers?”
Bookmobile Mysteries Author Nora Page enjoys rainy weather, the perfect biscuit, and quiet evenings in with her husband and cat. You can often find her in the company of books. This is her third Bookmobile mystery.
Links to Nora’s website, blog, books, etc.
Crooked Lane Books:
I hope you enjoy the recipe Nora is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 443 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.
CLEO’S BACON & CHEDDAR BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
Makes about a dozen biscuits.
- 2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 2 t granulated sugar
- ¾ t salt
- ¼ t baking soda
- ¼ t black pepper
- 8 T unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- ¾ c shredded cheddar cheese
- 3–4 slices of bacon, cooked, crisped, and crumbled
- ¼ c chopped chives or green onions
- ¾ cup (180 ml) cold buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 420°F with a rack in the middle
In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
Cut in the cold butter using a food processor, a hand-held pastry blender, or your fingertips.
Lightly mix in the cheddar, bacon, and green onions.
Pour in the cold buttermilk. Mix gently with a fork and then turn out onto a flour-dusted counter. Knead and pat this mixture together. Flatten into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle like a letter (in three, folding in from the short ends). Roll out and repeat the folding process twice more. Folding helps make flaky layers.
Roll to a ½ to ¾ inch thick rectangle and cut using a biscuit cutter (2½ inch round) or simply cut into diamonds or squares. Press straight down when you cut. Avoid twisting or sawing, which could hinder rising.
Arrange biscuits on a cookie sheet. Brush the top of each biscuit with a little buttermilk. Bake about 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Enjoy at any meal, with anything (says Cleo).
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Nora is giving away a paperback copy (U.S. Only) of either BETTER OFF READ (Book 1) or READ ON ARRIVAL (Book 2), winner’s choice, to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog. Good luck!
Thanks, Nora, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!