Shelley Freydont is the author of the Liv Montgomery Celebration Bay Mysteries published by Berkley Prime Crime. Her mysteries have been translated into seven languages. Shelley also writes women’s fiction as Shelley Noble. A former professional dancer and choreographer, she most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. Learn more about Shelley and her books at her website.
It’s only October and you may be thinking it’s a little early to start thinking about Christmas dinners. But not in Celebration Bay. Because in Celebration Bay Every Day’s a Holiday. And though the pumpkins and apple cider are making the rounds, the townspeople are already planning for the next big festival.
In Silent Knife, former Manhattan event planner, Liv Montgomery and her Westie, Whiskey, are looking forward to their first Christmas in Celebration Bay and enjoying an old fashioned Christmas dinner with her landladies, Miss Edna and Miss Ida Zimmerman.
Unfortunately murder has struck at the heart of Celebration Bay’s Tree Lighting Festival. So while Ida and Edna are planning the dinner and checking their guest list, Liv is up to her elbows in murder.
It started with a feud between two Santas . . . .
Liv intends to have the case tied up with a ribbon before dinner is served. Miss Edna and Miss Ida are always willing to help, and they know she’ll need her energy to solve this one. It’s a good thing they just finished a batch of their Great Aunt Patsy’s Christmas Divinity Candy.
Great Aunt Patsy’s Christmas Divinity
A couple of Musts before beginning:
Divinity MUST be made on a dry day or it won’t harden. Do not attempt on a humid day. The egg white mixture MUST be beaten continually once you begin. It’s easier if you have two cooks, one to hold the electric mixer and one to heat the syrup. Miss Edna and Miss Ida always work together.
2 cups sugar
½ cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped cecans
Place sugar, syrup and water in a heavy pan. Boil sugar, syrup and water until sugar is dissolved and liquid is clear.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Add 1/3 of hot liquid to egg whites, beating constantly. (Remember, egg whites must be beaten continuously through the rest of the process.)
Return liquid to heat and cook until it spins a good thread. Add 1/3 more of hot liquid to egg whites, beating constantly. Continue beating and return liquid to heat and cook until it makes a hard brittle ball when dropped in cold water. Pour remainder of liquid into egg whites and continue beating. When it thickens, continue to beat by hand. When the mixture begins to hold its shape, add vanilla and nuts. Quickly drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper before the mixture hardens. Can be garnished with a pecan half if so desired. Let set. It will melt in your mouth.
Tis the season, but no one in Celebration Bay is feeling jolly. The local holiday store has been taken over by the new Trim A Tree store. Their products are lewd, crude and plastic, not at all in keeping with the town’s tasteful, traditional celebration. The manager, Grace Thornsby, gives new meaning to the name “Grinch”. And worst of all, she’s hired her own Santa to compete with the town’s official and beloved Santa.
But not for long . . . . someone is determined to get the town back to its good old fashioned values if it kills him . . . or anyone who stands in his way.