Today we welcome back Kris Bock who writes novels of mystery, suspense, and romance, many with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Learn more about Kris and her books at her blog and website, where you can find links to her on other social media and also sign up for her newsletter to receive a short mystery story set in the world of her Accidental Detective Series and three short stories originally written for children.
What Makes The Accidental Detective Series a Cozy Mystery?
In the Accidental Detective series, a witty journalist solves mysteries in Arizona and tackles the challenges of turning fifty. The first book in the series, Something Shady at Sunshine Haven, is available now. Book Two, Something Deadly on Desert Drive, will be out June 21st. The ebook is currently available for pre-order.
People have varying ideas of what makes a mystery cozy. There’s little to no graphic violence, sex, or swearing. My series certainly fits. Cozies star amateur detectives rather than police officers or professional private detectives. Many feature a woman who is somehow involved in cooking or crafting, such as in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery Series.
Kate is a war correspondent, and a journalist could be considered a professional investigator of a sort. She’s not investigating these mysteries for a newspaper though. She’s helping friends and family who have a problem they can’t or don’t want to take to the police. This means the Accidental Detective series could be considered a cozy mystery, a traditional mystery, or something in between.
Another feature of cozy mysteries is often humor. Kate’s witty observations often elicit chuckles in readers. Readers have also said they love Kate’s family and friends. Kate’s helpers range from teenagers to people in their eighties. I try to avoid stereotypes and treat everyone with respect. I want readers to laugh with these characters, not at them.
Kate doesn’t cook or craft, but I have a secondary character who does. Joe Washington, an old friend of Kate’s father, got interested in baking in his retirement. He supplies the investigative crew with muffins, cupcakes, and cookies. You want someone like Joe in your Scooby gang!
The books don’t include recipes, but I do feature some of the treats mentioned in the books on my blog. Readers who sign up for my newsletter will also get a download of “22 Recipes from The Cat Café.” Meanwhile, here’s a great treat for parties (or yourself!):
Cookie Dough Cupcakes
If you love chocolate chip cookies, these are for you. A chocolate chip cupcake has a ball of chocolate chip cookie dough in the center. The cookie dough ball bakes less than the outer cupcake, leaving it gooey. Cookie dough frosting adds even more great cookie dough taste!
1 package refrigerated cookie dough (or 1 cup homemade)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup butter, softened
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 6 tablespoons milk, as needed
1 cup mini or regular chocolate chips
Roll a tablespoon of cookie dough into a ball. Repeat until you have 12 balls. Chill them while you work.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place cupcake liners in the cupcake pan and spray them with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Blend in the vanilla.
Slowly add half of the dry mixture while mixing. Keep mixing as you add the milk. Blend in the remaining flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup mini or regular chocolate chips.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake pan, filling each cup about 3/4 full.
Place a ball of cookie dough on each cupcake and gently press it down until the cupcake batter almost covers the ball of dough.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the edge of the cupcakes should come out clean. The central dough balls will still be sticky. Cool while you make the frosting.
For the frosting, place the brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Mix on low until combined and creamy.
Add the flour. Mix on medium speed until blended and creamy. Slowly add milk until the frosting is a good thickness for spreading. Use a spoon to blend in the mini or regular chocolate chips.
Spread or pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes.
Something Deadly on Desert Drive
The Accidental Detective, Book 2
Starting over at fifty might be hard, but it shouldn’t be deadly…
Still recovering from an injury that might have permanently derailed her career as an international war correspondent, Kate Tessler is living in her childhood bedroom and pondering her second act when another case lands in her lap. Kate’s father and his coffee group are worried. Their friend Larry married a younger woman who now insists he has dementia and won’t let any of his friends visit. They’re convinced that Larry’s wife and her two adult, dead-beat kids are out to steal his money. Can Kate help?
Soon Kate and her unusual gang of sidekicks are unofficially, officially investigating. But before they can dig out the truth, a murder raises the stakes. Now they need to prove Larry is both mentally competent and not a killer. They’ll have to find the real murderer—without risking their own lives in the process.