Daily Archives: May 12, 2014

A Day in the Life of Toni Holmes by Nancy J. Parra

Murder Gone A Ryeowner of the Baker’s Treat Gluten-free bakery

My day started pretty early. If you remember the old donut commercial where the old donut baker got up and stumbled into work half asleep and said, “It’s time to make the donuts.” That’s pretty much how it was for me.

I’d like to think I live an ordinary and uneventful life, getting up before dawn and cooking up gluten-free treats such as breads, cakes, cookies and pies. But I’d be wrong. Living in Oiltop, Kansas surrounded by my large and eccentric family was not uneventful-especially when murder was involved. The last murder was no cake walk, but I figured that was a once in a lifetime event.

I was wrong. So wrong.

It was Thanksgiving and my best friend Tasha and I were hard at work on the Baker’s Treat float for the Homer Everett Day parade. Now, remember, I was a baker, not a float designer so I can’t say ours was the worst float, but it certainly wasn’t the best. There was a lot of tissue paper involved and I was praying that the rain stayed away or we’d have a watercolor mess on our hands.

Then I got a call from my Grandma Ruth. Now Grandma was in her nineties and an ex-investigative reporter as well as a lifetime Mensa member. When I picked up the phone I figured she was going to complain that I didn’t have enough of her favorite cookies in my house, but that was not the case. Not this time.

No, this phone call had Grandma far more excited than my cookies ever got her- even the gluten free Samoas I made. “Toni,” Grandma said breathlessly, “You’ll never guess what happened to me.”

“What, Grandma?”

“The best thing ever.”

“Did you win the lottery? Find that lucky half dollar you lost?”

“Nope and nope,” she said and I could hear her grin. “I’m a person of interest in a homicide. The police have me down at the station and are questioning me now. How cool is that?”

“Wait…what? Grandma, what murder?”

“Lois Striker bit the dust and it seems there were incriminating scooter marks at the scene. So, here I am having the time of my life.”

I hit my head on my desk in the office in the back of the bakery. “Grandma, don’t talk to anyone. Lawyer up. Promise me. You’ll lawyer up.”

Grandma chuckled. “Now why would I go and do a silly thing like that?”

“Grandma, everybody needs a lawyer. That’s why we have them.”

“But, honey, it’s so much fun. They ask me all sorts of interesting questions. I question them back, of course. That’s why they had to take a break.”

“Grandma-Please tell me you didn’t tell them anything.”

“Oops, got to go, that nice young officer is bringing me a glass of water.”


She hung up and I knew that my new life in Oiltop just got a little more complicated. The Thanksgiving pies would have to wait as I would do everything I could to keep Grandma out of hot water.

Which, dear reader would you rather do? Win the lottery? Or be a part of a real-life murder investigation?

Click HERE to download a recipe for Gluten-free SAMOAS GIRL SCOUT COOKIES

You can read more about Toni in Murder Gone A-Rye, the second book in the “Baker’s Treat” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Gluten For Punishment. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Comment on this post by 6 p.m. EST on May 15, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of MURDER GONE A-RYE. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Nancy J Parra has been gluten free for six years and it was while posting her gluten-free recipes on Facebook that another author said she ought to write a book set in a gluten free bakery. Nancy did and the “Baker’s Treat” mystery series was born. Nancy also writes the “Perfect Proposal” series for Berkley Prime Crime and the “Candy Coated” Mystery series for Kensington Books. Nancy lives in the Midwest with her plucky Bichonpoo known as “little dog”.

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Murder Gone A-Rye by Nancy J. Parra

Murder Gone A RyeMurder Gone A-Rye by Nancy Parra is the second book in the “Baker’s Treat” mystery series. Publisher: Berkly Prime Crime, May 2014

Toni Holmes is the best gluten-free baker in Oiltop, Kansas—okay, she’s the only one—but when her grandmother becomes a murder suspect, she’s more concerned with keeping Grandma free.

When Toni’s beloved—and eccentric—grandma Ruth is arrested for the murder of her archenemy, Lois Striker, it’s time for a senior moment of truth. Telltale tracks from a scooter like the one Grandma Ruth rides lead the police to suspect the outspoken oldster, but Toni knows her grandmother wouldn’t burn a cookie, let alone extinguish a life.

In fact, the case has Grandma more revved up than her infamous scooter. A former investigative journalist, she decides to solve the murder herself—with help from Toni—by digging up long-buried town secrets. But as Grandma scoots in where others fear to tread, Toni needs to make sure she not only stays out of jail but out of harm’s way.

Grandma is at it again in this wonderful sophomore entry from Ms. Parra. The fun begins as grandma is on a case that will expose some well-hidden secrets. When grandma become a primary suspect in a murder, it will take the whole quirky and eccentric family that is Toni’s to bring a killer to justice.

This was such a great read with a mystery that was nicely prepared that kept me entertained in this hilarious romp in crime solving with the dynamic trio that is Grandma Ruth, Aunt Phyllis and Toni. I love the comfortable feel and flow of this fast-paced and action-filled whodunit that I could not put down because I had to know what antics grandma would get herself involved in. I enjoyed following the clues that the author presented with some surprises that gave this lighthearted drama a nice little twist. Boasting a great cast of characters and engaging conversations, this is a fantastic read and I can’t wait for the next book in this delightfully charming series.