Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Perfect Autumn Dessert and a #Giveaway

We at MLK are delighted to welcome a return visit from Vicki Delany, who brings us a delightful apple recipe.

In A Scandal in Scarlet, the fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery, Jayne Wilson, head baker at Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, puts on a cream tea to help raise money to restore Scarlet House, the West London Museum, after the old house is devastated in a fire.

Jayne loves cooking and baking and doing her bit to help out. Her business partner, Gemma Doyle, owner of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop next door at 222 Baker Street, not so much. It’s not that Gemma doesn’t support local causes and give generously to charity. She’d just rather not have to do it from inside a kitchen. Any kitchen. 
But the game is afoot and the silent auction cream tea is underway.

They don’t serve anything like this apple crisp at Mrs. Hudson’s, as Jayne is very much a proponent of traditional afternoon tea.  But for the home cook, it’s almost the perfect fall dessert. Quick and easy and very tasty.

Vicki Delany’s Apple Crisp

8 apples – locally picked are always better

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes (about 1/4 - 1/2 inch)
1 tsp cinnamon – plus more for top

Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Place apples in buttered baking dish.

Combine flour, sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Pour flour mixture over the applies. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon for some colour.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until topping is golden. Serve with vanilla ice cream. 

A Scandal in Scarlet is the fourth in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series by National Bestselling author Vicki Delany.  Available November 13 from Crooked Lane Books. 

Here's a sample from A Scandal in Scarlet:

“I hope you understand,” Jayne said, “that I can’t manage a full afternoon tea in July for the numbers you expect. It’s the height of the season.” She waved her hand to indicate the tea room. “We open at seven in the summer and by four o’clock my staff and I want to drop where we’re standing.”

Jocelyn brought us a selection of tea sandwiches and pastries. One of the benefits of being part owner of a tea room is that I get to indulge in the leftovers.

“The cream tea your mother and I discussed will be fine,” Kathy said. 

Jayne nodded. “We can prepare scones ahead of time, right, Gemma?”

I dared, perhaps foolishly, to hope that ‘we’ didn’t include ‘me’. “Right,” I said. 

“With only two choices of tea,” Jayne said. “English breakfast plus a decaffeinated option, things won’t get too complicated.”

“That way attendees can concentrate on what’s important,” Leslie Wilson said. “Bidding at auction.” 

“Are you getting some good things?” Jayne asked.

“Oh, yes,” Leslie said. “Everyone has been so generous.”

“Almost everyone,” Kathy muttered.

Jayne and I exchanged glances. 

“People have donated what they can afford, and that’s all I expect,” Kathy said. “Only one person flatly said no to my face.”

“Maureen won’t help at all?” I asked. 

Kathy gave me that look. The one people get when they think I’ve read their mind. I don’t read minds. I simply observe.

And yesterday I had observed Kathy coming out of Beach Fine Arts, located across the street from me at 221 Baker Street. It had been a gorgeous Cape Cod summer day, but a personal thundercloud might have hung over Kathy’s head as she marched out of the store and down the street. 

Maureen Macgregor, proprietor, followed her out and stood in the doorway watching Kathy tapping her foot angrily as she waited for the light at the intersection to change. Nothing out of the normal had been visible on Maureen’s face. Her expression of sneering disapproval was so fixed, it was likely Maureen slept with it. Community spirit was not her strongest point. She didn’t bother to decorate the street in front of her shop with flowers or potted plants, but instead she dragged them over from the adjoining properties under cover of darkness. 

“She had the nerve to tell me she doesn’t see why she should be out the price of one of her goods because the museum was foolish enough to try to burn itself down.” Fire blazed in Kathy’s eyes at the memory. “As if she and her store aren’t a part of this community.” 

I selected a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich, my favorite. 

“Speak of the devil,” Jayne said. “Incoming.”

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing three cozy mystery series: the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series, for Crooked Lane Books.  

Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.  Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. 

Visit Vicki at On Facebook at Twitter @vickidelany 

Vicki is offering a copy of A Scandal in Scarlet to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment below to enter. 


  1. I'm behind in the Sherlock Holmes Bookstore mysteries. I need to read Cat of the Baskervilles and will be doing so soon. A Scandal in Scarlet sounds like another great tale in the series. And, I'll be trying the Apple Crisp recipe. Yum!

  2. I love to bake and have always thought it would be fun to have a bookshop with a small cafe and back room for small meetings.
    I really enjoy this series. Thank you for the chance to win this book.

    1. I bet it would be fun. Lots of hard work though, so I'd rather read about it.

  3. This sounds like a charming series :-)
    Donah42 at aol dot com

  4. Recipe and book both sound delicious!

  5. Hi, all. Thanks MLK for hosting me! I hope everyone enjoys the apple crisp. It's one of my families favourites.

  6. Apple crisp is wonderful in the fall and winter and goes on rotation at my house around this time of year. A series that features a Sherlock Holmes Bookshop sounds like great fun!
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  7. I love apple crisp & this recipe sounds like it's easy to make. Love your books they are always an amazing read. Thanks for your generosity.

  8. Looks delish! Thanks! Looking forward to reading your new book1

  9. I loved the first book and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

    1. I'm so pleased you liked it. Thanks for commenting.

  10. The recipe looks delectable and the series is so intriguing and enjoyable. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. This apple crisp looks delicious and the new book sounds like a delightful read!!

  12. I love all of Vicki's wonderful novels and this series is especially captivating. Yummy recipe. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  13. Excited to read the new book in this fun series!

  14. Warm apple crisp and a great book, sounds like the perfect evening. Thank you for the chance.

  15. You can't ever go wrong with apple crisp - and a good book! Thanks!

  16. Love the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries, add some apple crisp and some Earl Grey tea perfect snowy Sunday afternoon read!
    Thanks for the chance at a new book.

  17. My mother's apple crisp was always a true sign of Fall. Thanks for the recipe and also for the information on Vicky Delaney's book. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  18. I'm all about apple desserts. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I've only read the first in this series, so I have a lot of catching up to do... but more great books to read is a great problem to have! Happy Autumn!

  19. Mysteries since my days with Nancy Drew are my favorite and would love to read this book.

  20. Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mysteries are huge favorite of mine. Can hardly wait for Scandal in Scarlet (and another Year Round Christmas?). So grateful for your creative voice.

    1. The next Christmas book will be out in September. Sorry for the delay, but contact problems. It's called Silent Night, Deadly Night and from Penguin.

  21. Book & recipe both sound good. Perfect for fall

  22. Book & recipe both sound good. Perfect for fall

  23. This sounds like a yummy recipe - thank you! The Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mysteries are one of my favorites, and I can't wait to read this one! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  24. Baking is my passion! I always bring a dessert to get together and family holidays. This Apple Crisp recipe looks like a keeper to me. Thanks so much. Looking forward to reading the new book.

  25. The recipe looks very good! Although mine wouldn't come out so great. I can cook pretty good but baking is not my specialty!

  26. Just found this series. Looking forward to reading the books. Thanks for the chance.

  27. The Apple Crisp looks good. Thanks for the recipe. Love the cover. Sounds like a really good book.