Sunday, May 16, 2010

Meredith Cole on Simple Summer Party Fare

A very warm welcome to Meredith Cole! Meredith started her career as a screenwriter and filmmaker. She was the winner of the St. Martin’s/Malice Domestic Best Traditional Mystery Competition, and her book, POSED FOR MURDER, was published by St. Martin’s Minotaur in 2009. She was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel in 2010. Her second book, DEAD IN THE WATER, came out May 11, 2010, and continues the adventures of Lydia McKenzie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Her website is

My protagonist, Lydia McKenzie, is a young twenty-something who lives in New York City, has a microscopic kitchen and her idea of cooking is, well, dialing for take-out. She does not lift a finger to cook a single thing in POSED FOR MURDER or in my newest book DEAD IN THE WATER.

My main character is not much like me. I actually can cook, and I knew how to cook dinner from the tender age of 11. I sometimes enjoy cooking, especially with fresh ingredients, and other times I look at it as something I must do in order to do what I really love—eat. I do really love to eat. And I married a man who is an excellent cook and enjoys creating marvelous feasts (smart, huh?).

Lydia loves to eat, too. She also enjoys being around friends, and I think she might enjoy entertaining in the summertime. She would buy brie, crackers and grapes for the party, but she might also make a few things. Simple things.

Lydia’s instructions for a Simple Dip:

Buy one container of sour cream, box of onion soup and a bag of potato chips.

Discover that sour cream has expired. Return to bodega prepared to argue with the owner, and be pleasantly surprised when he gives you a new one with no hassles.

Back at home, dump new sour cream in a bowl, add dried onion soup mix and stir. Dump chips in a bowl.

Sample chips and dip heavily. Embarrassed by the tiny amount of chips and dip you have left before the party has even started, repeat steps 1-3. Do your best not to eat anymore before the guests arrive.

Lydia’s simple Strawberry Daiquiri recipe:

Buy rum at the liquor store. Despite the price, do not buy the cheapest kind. Buy frozen daiquiri mix (strawberry flavor), fresh strawberries and a bag of ice.

Borrow a blender from a friend. Carry it home. Swear you’ll buy a blender in the future, but have no idea where you would keep it.

An hour before the party (while eating chips and dip), dump mix, ice and plenty of rum (don't be stingy). Blend. It takes awhile so don't get upset and call your friend to tell her blender is broken if it won't blend right away. Once it's smooth, put it in the fridge to keep it cool.

Wash strawberries, take off their tops and slice them thinly. Swear you’ll buy a better knife. Promptly forget five minutes later.

When the party starts, pour daiquiris in small glasses, and top them with fresh strawberries. Also make a virgin batch for friends who don’t drink. And after you’ve rushed around to make sure everything is ready, sit down (very far away from the chips) and have a daiquiri. Yum.

Entertaining doesn’t have to be complicated (or a mystery), but it should be fun. I hope everyone has a relaxing summer and has many fun and delicious get-togethers with family and friends!

Julie’s first book in the Manor of Murder Mystery series, Grace Under Pressure, debuts June 1st! To help launch the book and to celebrate its release, she's running a very special contest: Pre-order Grace Under Pressure any time before May 31, 2010, and you're eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Mystery Lovers Bookshop! (and if you've already pre-ordered, you just need to let Julie know!) No receipts required. Just email Julie at with the date that you pre-ordered and the name of the bookstore you ordered it from, and your name goes in! (Please put "CONTEST" in the subject header. Thanks!)

Here are a few helpful links to get you started:
Independent Bookstore List: here
- Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!) - Centuries & Sleuths (Julie's local mystery bookstore) - Barnes & Noble -

And while we're here...

Avery is offering FREE BOOKMARKS on her website. Click this FREE BOOKMARK link to send her your information.

She also has a "fan club" contest (separate from Julie's) that is running until this FRIDAY. Click this CONTEST link to see how to enter. Hint: the instructions are in the last paragraph of the newsletter.


  1. Now Lydia's recipes I can do with no problem. Thanks for introducing me to a "new to me" author and an interesting new protagonist.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. I love the way Lydia entertains. Too darn funny and I can't wait to read the first book in this new-to-me series.

  3. Thanks for having me here and letting me have fun with my post (since my sleuth is pretty hopeless in the kitchen). And thanks for stopping in Mason and Dru!

  4. Thanks so much for coming by the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, Meredith! I think I've met some hostesses like Lydia before. :) Great meeting you at Malice and your book is on my nightstand!!


  5. Thanks for stopping by the kitchen, Meredith!
    I love Lydia's recipes! Sounds like my kind of party!

  6. Fun post, Meredith! Absolutely a hoot! Congrats on the release of DEAD IN THE WATER and thanks for visiting us here! Hope our paths cross again soon.


  7. Ah, the New York "cook" - LOL. Thanks for joining us today in our *virtual* kitchen, Meredith, and props and snaps (from NYC) on putting Lydia to work solving her second big apple mystery.


  8. Thanks so much for joining us today, Meredith! I absolutely love Lydia's party preparations. So funny! Pass the dip, please!

    ~ Krista

  9. It was fun to throw a virtual party for y'all -- no dishes to clean! But I swear at my house we have plenty more to eat (did I mention that my husband loves to cook?). Thanks for so much for stopping by!