Hazards in Hampshire (A British Book Tour Mystery) by Emma Dakin
The Author’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe
The George, Wallingford
In the book, Claire Barclay met Detective Inspector Mark Evans at this restaurant near the Agatha Christie Museum in Wallingford. The women on her tour were impressed with the menu and were delighted to indulge themselves.
The George has sticky toffee pudding with, as usual, your choice of ice cream, toffee sauce or custard with it. It seems silly to have sticky toffee pudding without the toffee sauce but I have had it with custard and it is delicious.
One May, my daughter, two of my friends and I took a trip to Scotland. The friends and I carried fiddles on our backs and we were determined to experience the country with as much gusto as possible. We did play Celtic tunes in pubs occasionally, and one memorable evening were served with free drinks, a sign that we were contributing to the pleasure of the patrons. We made a lot of friends on the trains who thought we were professional musicians instead of neophyte fiddlers. A goal of one of my friends was to experience all the different kinds of sticky toffee pudding and she ordered it almost daily. We all solemnly took a bite of her choice to do a comparative analysis. I consider myself now an expert in sticky toffee pudding.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
In England, restaurants can label all desserts “pudding”.
“Want a pudding then, love?” Means “Would you like some dessert?”
1 cup of diced, pitted dates
1 ½ cups water
1/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar ( I use the yellow kind as the molasses content is high in this recipe)
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup molasses
1 2/3 cup flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
What to Do
Preheat over to 350’F, grease a 9 x 5 inch baking pan
In a saucepan on the stove, put the dates and water, bring to boil and then simmer for about 2 minutes, just to soften. Then put in a blender and pulverize the mixture. Set aside.
Cream butter with brown sugar and eggs. Beat well until the mixture lightens in colour.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing as you go.
Add molasses and keep beating it. It’s a cake so it needs that vigorous beating.
Sift together flour and baking powder.
Add to creamed mixture and stir until smooth.
Stir in the dates and the baking soda.
Bake 30 minutes. Let cool.
½ cup of butter
½ cup of heavy cream (milk will do)
1 cup brown sugar
What to Do
Put everything into a saucepan and heat to boiling. Boil gently. Stir it continually.
It takes about 5 minutes to thicken, but you can serve it thin or thick.
Pour over the pudding.
It’s rich, but delicious.
I loved the new cozy mystery, Hazards in Hampshire, from its first lines:
“I had expected my hostess at the tea party to be boring. I hadn’t expected her to be dead.”
Claire Barclay is newly returned to England after inheriting a substantial sum from her stepfather. After years of travel, Claire is finally home to start her new business, British Mystery Book Tours, and reconnect with her barrister sister, Deidre. However, her new village is soon roiled by Claire finding a murder victim and a nearby arson. Everything seems related to the town’s book club, where the victim was the dictatorial president. Did someone dislike her enough to poison her? Was Claire going to be arrested for her murder simply because the stranger in town had to be the perp?
Reminiscent of Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand mysteries, this series is sure to introduce you to some new authors. The small-town feeling of everyone knowing each other’s business is similar to the feeling in Broward’s Rock Island too. My favorite part of this book was the authenticity of all the characters. It was easy to identify with forty-six-year-old Claire, especially her recent inheritance that allowed her to restart her life in a new direction. The mystery was puzzling too. Overall, Hazards in Hampshire is a great start to a sure-to-be topnotch series for cozy mystery readers. 4 stars!
Thanks to the author and Great Escapes Blog Tours for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below to receive one of ten digital copies of the book!
Moving to a quiet English village should have been tranquil, but Claire Barclay learns that even an invitation to tea can be deadly. Who killed Mrs. Paulson, the president of the local Mystery Books Club? Was the motive for murder located in the archives of the book club? The members of the books club might have reason to want Mrs. Paulson’s out of the way. She had lived in the village all her life, been involved in many organizations and societies and knew many secrets of the villagers. Was one secret too dangerous for her to keep? She had been wealthy and left her money to a member of the club. Could the legatee have been impatient for her inheritance? Who cared enough to want her dead? Claire, an expert in solving problems in her job as a tour guide, decides to delve into the archives and into the lives of the villagers—and find out.
About Emma Dakin
This is Emma Dakin’s first series, set in Britain the homeland of Emma’s grandparents. Emma channels her mother’s inherited English culture along with the attitudes and sayings of the modern Brits. She travels widely in England and at one point this May while travelling through the Yorkshire Moors she had all the tourists in a tour bus looking for a good place to hide a body. As Marion Crook, she has published many novels of adventure and mystery for young adult and middle-grade readers as well as non-fiction for adults and young adults and non-fiction on social issues. Firmly in the cozy mystery genre now, and committed to absorbing the culture and changing world of Britain, she plans to enjoy the research and the writing of cozies.