Saturday, May 1, 2010

Michelle Scott Sips Wine for Research!

What could be more romantic than a winery in the Napa Valley? Michelle Scott writes the Wine Lovers' Mystery series. Her latest book, A Toast to Murder was just released.

The big day is swiftly approaching for Nikki Sands--Manager of the Malveaux Estates in Napa Valley—and her fiance Derek Malveaux, who owns the winery. But when they start receiving cryptic messages questioning their belief in fate, things quickly turn fatal…

As the wedding grows closer, it seems the entire affair is cursed. A chewing gum fiasco forces Nikki to cut her hair and go platinum blonde. Then Derek's old college buddies, along with an assortment of old flames and frustrating family relations, show up to work Nikki's last nerve. But when Nikki's close pal Simon is shot as he walks her down the aisle, Nikki realizes that she has to find a matrimonial murderer before her wedding becomes someone's funeral.

Welcome to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, Michelle. We're delighted to have you here!

Writing a Wine Lover’s Mystery Takes Some Real Tough Research

Being the Wine Lover’s Mystery author is
really tough. The research alone is nearly unbearable. Oh please, you know that if you know me that I am being a real smart ass here. Come on, how tough can sipping on some decent wine be? Can you believe I even wrote “sipping,” there? Again if you know me, you’re probably laughing and if you don’t, you’re either thinking that I am crazy or a lush or both. I’m not, well, I don’t think I’m a lush. I could be crazy. I do write murder mysteries and my husband has to remind me on occasion that my characters are not real people. I’m not entirely convinced of that.

Writing the Nikki Sands mysteries (the other name for The Wine Lover’s)is a lot of fun, not just because I get to drink wine and figure out what the wine tasting notes are for the parts in the books where I’ve included recipes and wine pairings, but mostly what I enjoy about this series is growing the characters. When I started out the series with Murder Uncorked, Nikki Sands was an actress and a waitress in the evenings who was kind of a Renaissance woman who prided herself on being a student of life—and that included learning everything possible about wines. Her know-all paid off when she impressed the dashing Derek Malveaux (owner of Malveaux Estate Wines) with her extensive knowledge. Now five books later with A Toast to Murder, Nikki is planning her wedding day to Derek (yes, she’s come a long way, baby) and of course as within all of the books in this series there will be murder, mayhem, comedy, and some romance—not to mention a few surprise visits from characters past.

It’s a fun book and I hope you’ll pick it up and enjoy it. I’m including one of the recipes in the book for a peach gallette—it is so tasty and the perfect summer dessert!

Michele Scott

Peach Galette

2 cups unbleached
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
7 tablespoons cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
¼ cup ice water

1 ½ pounds peaches
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon of water
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
¾ pound aged Gouda or Gruyère

To make the dough: In a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Pulse three or four times to blend. Add the butter and pulse a few times, just until evenly distributed and coated with flour. Add the shortening and pulse a few times, until coated with flour. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Drizzle with the ice water while tossing with a fork, just until dough begins to come together in clumps, then knead dough to get it to hold together. Shape into thick round patty, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and slice peaches. Set aside.
Put dough on a lightly floured work surface, top with a fresh sheet of plastic wrap, and let stand for ten minutes to warm slightly. Roll dough into a 15-inch circle. Transfer dough to rimless baking sheet. Trim edges as needed to make 15-inch circle, reserving the trimmings. About two inches from the edge of the dough, arrange the peach slices in a neat ring, overlapping the slices slightly. Fill in center with peaches. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Gently fold the edge of the dough over the peaches to make a wide border. Make sure there aren’t any cracks. Use trimmed dough if needed to patch.
Brush the border with a little egg wash, then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve warm with cheese and wine.

We have a winner for Riley's April contest! Congratulations to Stacy from Louisville! You've won the
Williams-Sonoma’s Ultimate Grilling Rub Collection. We hope you enjoy it and thanks so much for entering the contest. We'll be emailing you soon with more information. Thanks!


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: Mystery Lovers Bookshop (free shipping on book orders over $10!) - Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore (my local bookstore - autographing available) - Barnes & Noble -


  1. This sounds like a great summer recipe. Can't wait to try it. Looking forward to reading A TOAST TO MURDER. Best of luck.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. I've read Michelle Scott's wine series since the beginning. I love it. Looking forward to the new one. Nice recipe, by the way.

    I'm also very much looking forward to Julie's new series. Sounds fun.

  3. Hi Michelle - Just a quick shout-out of thanks for joining us today in the "kitchen" :-) A TOAST TO MURDER sounds delicious!


  4. Hi Michele, Welcome to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen! Love your series and I have a feeling I'm going to love your recipe for Peach Galette, too! This is great. I love all things peach and I'm always looking for new ways to include it. Thanks so much!


  5. This is perfect! I was just out checking my peach tree. It is heavily loaded and should be ripe in 4-6 weeks! I'm always looking for new ways to use the peaches. Thanks for joining us, Michele. I've been a fan for a long time!