Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome Guest Blogger, Beth Groundwater!

Today we welcome Beth Groundwater to the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen! Beth writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series (A Real Basket Case, nominated for the 2007 Best First Novel Agatha Award, and To Hell in a Handbasket, May, 2009) and the Rocky Mountain Adventure mystery series (the first of which, Deadly Currents, will be released in March, 2011). Her science fiction novella, The Epsilon Eridani Alternative, was published in December, 2009.

BethG headshot When Riley Adams invited me to be a guest blogger on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, I decided that I’d provide a very different kind of recipe, one for a gift basket, since I write the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series. Some important things to keep in mind while designing a gift basket are to stimulate all the senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight), to pick one main color and two complementary accent colors and use them throughout, and to tailor the contents to the recipient’s interests. Here I assume that you’re making a gift basket for a friend who loves mysteries.

Recipe for a Mystery Lover's Gift Basket

Color scheme: black, red, and white/gray

Container: black-painted basket, bucket or box, with a lid or handle sticking up, from which you hang some spider webbing

Stuffing: dried Spanish moss or red-dyed tissue paper, paper shreds, or wood shavings


Mystery book(s). In keeping with the gift basket theme, I recommend my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery books, A Real Basket Case and To Hell in a Handbasket.

CD of eerie music such as Mystery Movie Scores or Mystery Sound Effects

Pocket-sized mystery party game or travel Clue game

Movie DVD: Clue, Mousetrap, Alfred Hitchcock or Sherlock Holmes movie, or movie collection (Mystery Classics: 50 Movie Pack)

Chocolate/bubble gum coins or other mystery-related chocolate shapes such as blood drops, knives, or guns (see for a sample vendor)

If your recipient is a tea drinker, include an antique tea cup and saucer, a selection of teas, and a tea cozy, in keeping with a cozy mystery genre theme.

And an assortment from:

Bookmarks from mystery authors

Magnifying glass

Pair of play handcuffs and/or sheriff's badge

Rubber knife or plastic pistol

Glasses, nose, mustache disguise

Spy Gear toys from

Skull-shaped/logo item: tealight candle holder, squeeze ball, notepad, etc. (see

Bottle of stage blood from Halloween/theatre costume/makeup supply store or make your own (see

Now, once you finish putting that basket together, you’re going to need a drink. ;-) Here’s a suggestion:


Whirling Fruit Basket Shooter

1 oz. Rum
1/4 oz. Blackberry Brandy
1/4 oz. Midori
1/4 oz. Peach Schnapps
1/4 oz. Sour Apple Schnapps

Layer in a shot glass. Pick up the shot glass and spin the liquid. Shoot it, slam it.

Beth lives in Colorado and enjoys its many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting. Please visit her website at

Thanks so much, Beth. What a perfect suggestion for ending a session of basket building! :) Thanks for visiting with us today.



  1. What a wonderful gift basket. A basket like that would also be perfect for someone in a hospital or at home recovering. I think it would bring a smile to their face and twinkle to their eye for the adventure they were about to go on. The drink recipe sounds like a great way to finish up the project. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. That's a great basket, especially for a mystery lover.

  3. Thanks so much again, Beth, for visiting the Kitchen! I love the idea of your gift basket--I know a couple of folks who'd be so excited to get one! Sounds like the perfect gift. :)

    And the drink sounds about perfect too!


  4. And many thanks to the mystery lovers kitchen gang for inviting me to guest here. I'm an avid reader of your blog and love your recipes--and your books, too!

    Now here's a question for your blog readers. Do you have any other suggestions for contents for a mystery lovers gift basket?

  5. Beth, what a fun recipe to post! These are great suggestions for basket. Love that they should include all the senses! Novel. Thanks for being our guest! ~Avery

  6. An entertaining post, Beth, especially that drink concoction at the end.

    The only suggestion I have to add applies if your recipient is likely to be a mystery writer (often the case at the mystery conventions). Then I'd tuck in a copy of Chris Roerden's "Don't Murder Your Mystery."

  7. Thanks for joining us, Beth. What a
    perfect post!

  8. What a brilliant idea to give a gift basket recipe. I *love* your five-senses suggestion. Love your book titles, too. I'm a sucker for a punny title! Thanks for hanging out with us mystery wriitng cooks today, Beth. I hope you'll join us again soon. And congrats on launching your new Rocky Mountain Adventure mysteries!


  9. I love the ideas for the gift basket and that shot recipe sounds absolutely lethal - to common sense! (At least after you've had a few)

  10. Great suggestion, Patricia, to add the how-to book if your recipient is a mystery writer! Thanks for everyone's comments, folks, and be sure to give that drink recipe a try at your next social occasion. ;-)

  11. That has to be one of the best gift basket ideas ever!