A Day in the Life with Rosalie Hart by Wendy Sand Eckel

Death at the Lily CaféA dense mist rose from the curving river adjacent to the road as I drove into the heart of Cardigan, Maryland, my recently adopted home. Despite my best efforts, I was running late. I squeezed the steering wheel. Today was the debut of my new restaurant, the Day Lily Café. I’m Rosalie Hart and opening this café was a dream realized.

The paint was barely dry on the ochre-tinted walls that glowed in the sun like a Tuscan hillside and I prayed we were ready for prime time. I had spent endless days and weeks designing the space and experimenting with recipes and menus. Today’s breakfast special:

Mini cinnamon muffin and coffee appetizer
Omelet with applewood smoked cheddar, scallions and fresh oregano
Cantaloupe wedge topped with blueberries and creme fraiche
Thick slice of seven grain bread slathered with butter
And the best potato cake, if I do say so myself, your mouth will ever encounter

I scrolled through my contacts on my hands free phone menu, careful to keep my eye on a pair of cyclists weaving along the road in front of me, and clicked on Glenn’s number.

“Rosalie, where are you? People are already reading the menu outside.”

“I’m on my way,” I said. “Have you started the coffee?”

“Of course,” Glenn said and I felt instantly soothed by his calm, confident tone. He was my path to zen.

“There are a couple of bikers in the road in front of me. They must think we Eastern Shore folk have nothing better to do.”

“Careful,” Glenn said. “You’re starting to sound like a native. And I think they prefer the term cyclists.”

“Has Custer put in the first batch of muffins?”

“The aroma of that cinnamon is making me salivate.”

“Thank you, Glenn. I don’t know what I would do without you.”

“No need to find out. All right, dear. Crystal is setting the tables. She’s doing some fancy thing with the napkins. It looks pretty good. Be safe and remember to share the road.”

I ended the call and exhaled a deep breath in an attempt to calm my nerves. Glenn, who at the age of seventy-two was able to keep orders in his head, soothe ruffled feathers, and pour a cup of West African blend without spilling a drop, was my best friend.

It had been almost two years since I learned my husband of over twenty years was having an affair. Unable to bear it, I escaped to the large farm and very old house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland my Aunt Charlotte had bequeathed to me that I had heretofore, chosen to ignore.

Lost and feeling as alien as ET, I had rattled around the house for weeks wondering how I would reinvent myself. But everything changed when I discovered the body of a young coed in the marsh grasses of the Cardigan River. When the sheriff ruled her drowning an accident and closed the case, I wasn’t convinced. With Glenn’s help, we solved the mystery and I discovered a resiliency I never knew I possessed.

My road to recovery began with finding a yellowed index card of Aunt Charlotte’s seven grain bread recipe. The kneading and aromas triggered my love of cooking. For me, cooking was my way to nurture others and baking that bread reignited my passions and unlocked the door to living again.

I stared at the cyclists, willing them to turn. That was a lot of spandex. A little too much information for my taste. One of them pointed to a farm house. The other wobbled as he turned to look at it. I eased off the accelerator. At least the fog was lifting. A lazy flock of Canada Geese flew in a low V over the river—their out of sync honks piercing the quiet. Enjoy this moment, Rosalie, I thought. And I did.

Little did I know that just as the café were opening, Doris Bird, who had helped me out of a pickle more than once, would appear in the doorway asking me to help clear her younger sister of murder charges. The husband had been shot in the chest and the sheriff was certain she was guilty. What I didn’t know at the time was he would stop at nothing to prove it.

These muffins were inspired by my favorite breakfast as a child: buttered toast topped with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

CINNAMON MUFFINS

muffin2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted and cooled unsalted butter
1 cup organic milk
2 eggs

Topping

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar

Makes 12 large muffins.

Preheat oven to 325º
Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper cups.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk wet ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let stand 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from tin. Meanwhile prepare the topping. Melt the remaining 1/4 stick of butter. Whisk together cinnamon and sugar. When muffins are cool, brush the tops with a generous amount of butter. I believe the word slather is appropriate. Dip tops in the sugar/cinnamon mix. Sprinkle remaining mix over muffins. Test kitchen feedback says the more topping, the better the muffin, so really pack it on.


Death at the Day Lily Café is the second book in the Rosalie Hart mystery series, published by Minotaur, August 2016.

Rosalie Hart has finally opened the café of her dreams. Decked out with ochre-tinted walls and stuffed with delicious organic fare, the Day Lily Café is everything Rosalie could have hoped for. But not five minutes into the grand opening, Doris Bird, a dear and trusted friend, cashes in on a favor–to help clear her little sister Lori of a first degree murder charge.

With the help of her best friend and head waiter Glenn, Rosalie is on the case. But it’s not going to be easy. Unlikable and provocative, murder victim Carl James Fiddler seems to have insulted nearly everyone in town, and the suspect list grows daily. And when Rosalie’s daughter Annie gets caught in the crossfire, the search for the killer becomes personal in this charming cozy perfect for fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke.

# # # # # # # # # # #

Meet the author
Wendy Sand Eckel is the author of the Rosalie Hart mystery series set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Murder at Barclay Meadow, the first in the series, was published by Minotaur Books in July, 2015. Death at the Day Lily Café was released by Minotaur on July 26, 2016. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the International Association of Crime Writers, she has degrees in criminology and social work and a passion for words and their nuanced meanings. Find out more at wendysandeckelauthor.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of Death at the Day Lily Café plus a Day Lily Café coffee mug. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 30, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

49 responses to “A Day in the Life with Rosalie Hart by Wendy Sand Eckel

  1. Like the sound of this one. Would love to win a copy.

  2. This sounds interesting – and yummy! Hope I win!

  3. Food and a cozy mystery…what could be better?

  4. I’ve seen some marketing on this book and would like to read it! Thanks for a chance to win the book!

  5. I love this series! Great setting and character development.

  6. Barbara Jones

    This sounds so good that I just reserved the first book from my library. Thanks for a chance to win a copy!

  7. Peggy Hyndman

    Thank you for sharing the Cinnamon Muffin recipe … they sound wonderful. The book sounds great. Thank you for the chance to win a signed copy of Death at the Day Lily Café and a Day Lily Café coffee mug.

  8. Doward Wilson

    Great recipe & post. Thanks for the chance to win. Loved the first book & have been eagerly waiting for the one.

  9. Amelia B Gill

    Ooooo! Ooooo! Ooooo! Me, please. This one sounds marvelous!

  10. Thanks for the wonderful blog on Death at the Day Lily Cafe. I haven’t had the opportunity to start this series but have now added it to my to be read list. Thanks for the chance to enter your giveaway.

  11. elainehroberson

    Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  12. YUM!!! Will have to try the recipe with extra streusel cinnamon on top!

  13. Sounds like a great cozy.

  14. I love cozies with recipes! The recipes sound fantastic.

  15. New to me series, sounds really good! Thanks for the giveaway.

  16. I loved Murder at Barclay Meadow, the first book in this series. It has a great setting and wonderfully engaging characters. I’m looking forward to reading Death at the Day Lily Cafe. Thanks for the chance to win a signed copy. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  17. Cinnamon toast–a childhood delight. I think I’m going to have to make some!

  18. Beautiful cover! Ohhhhh, except for the bloodspot on the table cloth, lol.
    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  19. I hadn’t heard about this series, I have got to go get the first one. The recipe sounds so yummy, I’m a sucker for anything cinnamon. Thanks for the recipe and the chance to win.

  20. The book sounds wonderful as do the cinnamon muffins and the coffee mug! Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  21. Barbara Hackel

    This sounds like a great new series for me. And cinnamon muffins making me salivate even though I had a cinnamon bagel for breakfast! Thanks Dru Ann, you find the best authors and books. 🙂 Thanks Wendy for a chance to win your book and a mug! Very nice! ❤ 🙂

  22. Hey Dru, this new series sounds like it was written just for me. So toss my name into the magic hat please.

  23. signed copy, and a mug and a receipe for great sounding muffins, books sounds great, hope I win, ty for the chance

  24. Mary Jane H.

    I made muffins like that when I was a teenager and they were delicious, had forgotten how good they taste. Thanks for the chance.

  25. Sounds like a great read. I love the cover.

  26. Cynthia E. Blain

    Thank you for the great muffin recipe. And, I MUST get this book. I will also need book 1 as I like to read in sequence. Thank you for the book information and the great excerpt. And, the cover is so wonderful too!!!! Can’t wait to read both of them.

    Cynthia B.

  27. “Death at the Day Lily Cafe” sounds like my kind of book. Love the description of the Cafe and also the recipe for the muffins. Can’t wait to read. Definitely on the top of my TBR list.

  28. Thank you for the recipe. I have never made them scratch. The books sounds good too.

  29. Sounds like a very interesting series. I’ll have to see if I can find it.

  30. Very generous to include a coffee mug as well as the signed book! Thanks! My fingers are crossed for this one!

  31. Vicki Highley

    what an interesting book and series. Thanks for the cinnamon muffin recipe can’t wait to try it.

  32. Sounds like a good read. Thank you for the chance to win.

  33. Great giveaway for mystery lovers like me! Thanks for offering this!!

  34. New author/New series. so intriguing. Those muffins are on the menu, they look delicious. Love anything with cinnamon. Thanks for that. Hope this will be an early start to your books. Love the cover. How about that jerk hubby showing up after she starts doing good demanding half the proceeds from her business. Something like that actually happened about 30 years ago in that general neck of the woods left his wife and 3 kids with a pile of bills cleaning out the bank account first, of course, and took off. Her and the kids dug in built a successful business 10 years later he showed up and demanded half their earnings, and got it. Woman prejudice at it’s finest.

  35. Jennifer Hansen

    Would to read this!! Parkeremma2003 at yahoo dot com

  36. Debbie sherwood

    I would love to win thank you for the chance

  37. Love cozy mysteries. Will be checking this series out. Thanks for the chance to win

  38. Thanks Dru Ann for the intro to this cozy! Sounds like a fun read! Good luck everyone! sxygrndma48{at}yahoo{dot}com

  39. what a fun sounding series that I have got to read. Thank you for the chance!!
    johnnabooks AT hotmail DOT com

  40. this book sounds so good ..would love to read.

  41. Wonderful giveaway. Thanks.

  42. The cinnamon muffins look delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe and chance to win!

  43. Thanks for the recipe and the chance to win!!
    salvatoresmom71@yahoo.com

  44. This sounds like a book I would really love to read, thanks for the giveaway!

  45. This sounds like a great series! Thanks for the chance to win!

  46. New Author to me but it sounds good. Thanks for the Contest.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  47. Brian Frauenknecht

    This book sounds Great! I definitely want to read this. Thanks for the chance Dru!

  48. Jennifer Hansen

    Would love to read this!!! parkeremma2003 at yahoo dot com

  49. A new-to-me author & series…..
    Cannot wait to start this series….
    Thank you for the giveaway….