Over the past five years, hundreds of mystery/thriller writers have met Linda Lovely at check-in for the annual Writers’ Police Academy, which she helps organize. Lovely finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. She writes a blend of mystery and humor, chuckling as she plots to “disappear” the types of characters who most annoy her. Quite satisfying plus there’s no need to pester relatives for bail.
With the October publication of Bones to Pick Linda is launching her new humorous, cozy Brie Hooker Mystery series. She’s also the author of the Marley Clark Mystery series; Smart Women, Dumb Luck romantic thrillers, and LIES: Secrets Can Kill, a standalone romantic suspense set in 1938. Learn more about Linda and her books at her website.
Brie Hooker, the heroine of my new series, is a vegan chef. Brie is currently living on a dairy farm with four-hundred goats and her Aunt Eva, a cantankerous carnivore who makes her living selling cheese. Needless to say, the two have very different ideas about what should be on the evening menu. But even Aunt Eva has to admit this vegan dessert is as tasty as it is beautiful.
I first tried this recipe when my husband and I were giving a vegan diet the college try at the urging of our family doctor, a dedicated vegan. We lasted about two years (though we did cheat on Thanksgiving and Christmas). While we admire vegans, we missed cheese and eggs too much to persevere (and our cholesterol levels didn’t change). Nonetheless, I still regularly serve vegan and meatless vegetarian dishes because they’re delicious and good for us. Like my heroine, I can’t seem to follow a recipe without tweaking it. However I first found a version of this recipe here.
Vegan Fruit Pie
Heaping 1/3 cup each: Walnuts, cashews, almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas, sliced lengthwise
1 cup strawberries pureed
A combination (your choice) of whole/sliced fresh fruits: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mandarin oranges, blueberries, etc.
Put all the nuts in a food processor and process till they’re finely chopped, then add dates (I cut them into smaller pieces first) along with vanilla and process to create a sticky goo.
Press the crust mixture into a glass pie plate (9-10 inches)
For the first filling layer, arrange the banana slices on the crust and use a fork to smoosh them into a layer.
Place sliced strawberries on top of the bananas and pour the pureed strawberries on top of that.
Next arrange all of the whole (or sliced) fruits on the top, alternating colors for a pleasing display.
Cover and refrigerate.
Hints: The only problem with this beautiful dessert is it doesn’t keep well. Make and serve this when you expect it to be consumed in one sitting—two at most. I use roasted cashews rather than raw cashews and I’m VERY generous in measuring my nuts. Too many nuts? Not a possibility.
Bones To Pick
Living on a farm with four hundred goats and her ornery but lovable aunt isn’t among vegan chef Brie Hooker’s list of lifetime ambitions. Yet she can’t walk away from her Aunt Eva after the dairy’s pot-bellied pig unearths a skull. The skeleton belongs to Eva’s husband, who disappeared years before, and the sheriff, kin to the deceased, sets out to pin the murder on Eva.
He doesn’t reckon on Brie’s resolve to prove her aunt’s innocence. Death threats, ruinous pedicures, psychic shenanigans, and biker bar fisticuffs won’t stop Brie from unmasking the killer, even when romantic befuddlement throws her a curve.