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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Murder by Syllabub--Kathleen Delaney--Review and Interview

Murder by Syllabub

by Kathleen Delaney

on Tour September - October, 2013

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Camel Press

Publication Date: July 1, 2013

Number of Pages: 298

ISBN: 978-1-60381-957-2

Purchase Links:


A ghost in Colonial dress has been wreaking havoc at an old plantation house in Virginia. The house is owned by Elizabeth Smithwood, the best friend of Ellen McKenzie’s Aunt Mary. Mary is determined to fly to the rescue, and Ellen has no choice but to leave her real estate business and new husband to accompany her. Who else will keep the old girl out of trouble? When Ellen and Aunt Mary arrive, they find that Elizabeth’s “house” comprises three sprawling buildings containing all manner of secret entrances and passages, not to mention slave cabins. But who owns what and who owned whom? After Monty—the so-called ghost and stepson of Elizabeth’s dead husband—turns up dead in Elizabeth’s house, suspicion falls on her. Especially when the cause of death is a poisoned glass of syllabub taken from a batch of the sweet, creamy after-dinner drink sitting in Elizabeth’s refrigerator. Monty had enemies to spare. Why was he roaming the old house? What was he searching for? To find the truth, Ellen and her Aunt Mary will have to do much more than rummage through stacks of old crates; they will have to expose two hundred years of grudges and vendettas. The spirits they disturb are far deadlier than the one who brought them to Virginia. Murder by Syllabub is the fifth book of the Ellen McKenzie Mystery series.

My Review:
This was one of those cozies that kept my attention the whole way through.  I liked the plot and I liked the characters.  There were lots of twists and turns in this story.  I also liked the setting, Colonial Williamsburg was a very good place to set a cozy mystery.  Ellen and her Aunt Mary leave California to go help Mary's friend Elizabeth when Elizabeth thinks she has a ghost in her house.  It really isn't a ghost, but they do find a couple of dead bodies, one is a skeleton!  I highly recommend this book, it was great.  Wonderful job Kathleen.
I received a complementary copy of this book for my honest review

Read an excerpt:

Mildred leaned back against the drain board, as if she needed it to prop her up. “Do you think he’ll be back?”

I set the dish on the drain board along with the other rinsed dishes. “You mean the murderer?”

Mildred nodded.

I’d wondered the same thing. “I think it was Monty prowling around upstairs, looking for something. Why he was dressed like that, I can’t imagine, but I don’t think he found whatever it was he was looking for. The only reason I can think of for both Monty and whoever slipped him the poison to be here is they were looking for the same thing. I don’t think they found it. So, yes, I think whoever it is will be back.”

Mildred nodded. “I think so, too. That crate was no accident.” She paused before going on, her voice filled with apprehension. “You know, McMann isn’t going to buy the mysterious prowler story. He’s going to take the easy way out. Elizabeth fed Monty the poison before she left for the airport and we’re protecting her.” She sighed deeply and turned to the dishwasher. “Might as well load this. Can you hand me that bowl?”

She opened the door, pulled out the top rack and froze. “How did that get in here?”

“What’s the matter? Oh no.”

We stood, frozen, staring at the immaculately clean crystal glass, sitting on the top rack in solitary splendor.

“That’s one of the old syllabub glasses.” Mildred turned around to look at the glasses on the hutch and returned her gaze to the dishwasher. She pulled the rack out all the way but the dishwasher was empty, except for the one glass.

I’d had a close enough look at the glass next to Monty to know this was from the same set. “It’s the missing syllabub glass.”

“Missing?” Mildred’s hand went out to touch it, but she quickly withdrew. “Where are the others? Cora Lee and I packed these away years ago. There were eight of them. How did this one get in here?”

“Noah didn’t tell you?”

“That boy only tells me what he wants me to know. What was it he should have told me?”

“The set of these glasses were on the sideboard in the dining room where Monty was killed. Six of them. One was beside Monty with the remains of a sticky drink in it. That made seven. One was missing. The one the murderer used.”

We stared at each other then back into the dishwasher. “That’s got to be the missing one, right there.” Mildred took a better look. “It’s clean. Someone’s trying to frame Elizabeth.”

Author Bio:

Kathleen Delaney has written four previous Ellen McKenzie Real Estate mysteries, but has never before transported her characters out of California. A number of years ago she visited Colonial Williamsburg and fell in love. Long fascinated with our country’s history, especially the formation years, she knew she wanted to set a story there. Another trip with her brother and sister-in-law solidified the idea that had been rolling around in her head but she needed more information. A phone call to the nice people at Colonial Williamsburg provided her with appointments to visit the kitchen at the Payton Randolph house, where she got her first lesson in hearth cooking and a meeting with the people who manage the almost extinct animal breeds the foundation is working to preserve. A number of books purchased at the wonderful bookstore at the visitor’s center gave her the additional information she needed and the story that was to become Murder by Syllabub came into being. Kathleen lived most of her life in California but now resides in Georgia. She is close to many historical sites, which she has eagerly visited, not only as research for this book but because the east is rich in monuments to the history of our country. Luckily, her grandchildren are more than willing to accompany her on their tours of exploration. You can find Kathleen on the Web at

Catch Up With the Author:

1. How long have you been writing: Do you mean writing and hiding what I wrote in the cedar chest, of how long has it been since I got up the courage to send out something I’d written? That would be-oh-about twelve years. I wrote an article about my children’s adventures in 4H. Neither their father nor I had any farm experience, so those years we spent as a family learning how to raise, breed milk and show dairy cows, beef, rabbits, swine were filled with fun, tears, as well as some pretty hilarious adventures. Family Fun bought it. My next project was a full length mystery. Dying for a Change ended up a finalist in St. Martins’ Malice Domestic contest, Harlequin purchased it and the next Ellen and Dan mystery Give First Place to Murder, for their WorldWide Book club. They are still in libraries all over the country and are still available in E-book form for Kindle. All together there are five Ellen and Dan books as well as numerous articles, short stories, essays and blogs.
2. What interests do you have besides writing: Reading, for one. I can’t remember when I didn’t have a book in my hand and several more on the nightstand. Cooking has been another. I came back from my first trip to France with a whole different approach to food. Then I got Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I haven’t made every recipe in the book, like Julie in the movie Julie and Julia, but I’ve made a bunch and have collected many more cook books, even those with eighteenth century recipes. I draw the line at making a cake with eighteen eggs and a pound of butter, however.
3. What I loved Most about Colonial Williamsburg:  There were so many things it’s hard to sort out the one best thing. My first trip there was with an Elder Hostel service program. We dug in the dirt around the Governor’s Palace, made gift baskets for the garden shop, planted tulips everywhere, and learned a whole lot about Colonial life. I kept going back and vowed someday to set a story in or around it. I think, perhaps, my favorite thing is how you get drawn into history, how the re-enactors bring you into that world in a way no book, as much as I love them and I have many, cannot. But, in Murder by Syllabub, I tried.
4. Do I believe in ghosts:  The jury is still out on that one.
5. Will there be more Ellen and Dan books: It’s highly likely. I am currently writing the first in a new series and I have outlines for a couple of stand-alones, but I’d like to do at least one more.
6. What historical places would I like to visit next:  I didn’t get to Montpellier when I was roaming around in Virginia and would like to. I also want to see the Hermitage. I was closed the day I had planned to go. I want to go back to Washington DC and take my grandkids. That one is a must. They haven’t been to Salem either or to Boston. They need to walk the freedom trail, visit Lexington, see Louisa May Alcott’s house (that’s for Dalia, don’t think Ronald will be too interested but I think we can make a good case for visiting where “the shot fired around the world” happened.  Then we need to see the Liberty Bell and roam the streets of Philadelphia. From there…


  1. I agree, Colonial Williamsburg makes for a terrific setting for a mystery. Thanks for your review and enlightening interview with the author.

  2. Thank for having me and so glad you liked the book. I loved writing it, and the people at Colonia Williamsburg were wonderful and very helpful.