Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Peach of a Murder: A Fresh-Baked Mystery ~ Livia J. Washburn

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: October 2006
Fresh-Baked Mystery


All year round, retired schoolteacher Phyllis Newsom is as sweet as peach pie-except during the Peach Festival, whose blue ribbon has slipped through Phyllis's fingers more than once... Everyone's a little shook up when the corpse of a no-good local turns up underneath a car in a local garage. But even as Phyllis engages in some amateur sleuthing, she won't let it distract her from out-baking her rivals and winning the upcoming Peach Festival contest. She and all the other contestants guard their secret, original recipes with their lives-and talk a whole lot of trash. With her unusual Spicy Peach Cobbler, Phyllis hopes to knock 'em dead. But that's just an expression-never in her wildest dreams did she think her cobbler would actually kill a judge. Now, she's suspected of murder-and she's got to bake this case wide open.

A Peach of a Murder kicks off Livia J. Washburn's mouthwatering Fresh-Baked Mystery series. Yummy!

Let me tell you straight away, you will definitely be on the hunt for a Peach Festival & some heavenly peach-pie piping hot from the oven. Oh, go ahead, toss on a few scoops of ice cream. I'm not Paula Deen so homemade is not necessary for this foodie. Good 'ole Turkey Hill or Blue Bunny does the trick. Crazy good!

I read A Peach of a Murder w/ my faux Texas accent which is actually quite good... thank you JR Ewing!

Livia's description about life in Weatherford, Texas is unbelievable. I wanted to go visit the gritty, broiling Texas climate in search of a Peach Festival. Which is a plus whenever I'm reading any book, but especially a cozy! If the author pulls me off the island & plunks me down into their fictional town it is definitely a winner.

Washburn has an uncommon way w/ words & knows how to create a stirring tale. A Peach of a Murder is a delectable debut. Washburn doesn't toss nonsense into a baking pan & expect it to taste good. It is good because all the ingredients to prepare a well written & interesting story is included in this pungent cozy.

What I thought was impressive was the way Washburn weaved the mystery, showcased the ladies various degrees of friendship, introduced a man in their enclave & touched on a very delicate matter. A Peach of a Murder isn't your standard whodunit, Washburn seasoned it w/ layers of twist & turns.

Washburn showcased her writing chops by encompassing different story lines & crocheting it all together in a delightful bow.

A Peach of a Murder has a terrific cast of characters. Phyllis isn't the only witty character to grace the pages of Washburn's baking debut. I'm not a fan of the Golden Girls... the theme song is torture enough. I just can't get into those biddies, yet I picture Rue McClanahan as Eve. 'Nuff said!

A Peach of a Murder
is a zesty start to an engaging series. Phyllis made me ache for my grandma who passed away when I was 8. For me, 23 years is too long to be w/o a grandma & while reading this baked delight she wasn't too far away.

So, what 'cha waiting for? The Peach Festival to pass ya by? Grab a copy of A Peach of a Murder. After all, Weatherford is the Peach Capital of Texas.

I also love the cover. I just wanted to jump in & voilà end up picking peaches @ Newt Bishop's Orchard.

Psst... I'm a cover tart!

A little treat...


1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoon minced candied ginger
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
4 cups sliced peaches
Preheat oven to 375º. Combine cornstarch, minced candied ginger, brown sugar, and water in saucepan. Cook until thickened and then add peaches. Cook until peaches are hot, about 5 minutes. Pour into buttered 9” pan making sure the ginger is evenly contributed.

Basic Pie Crust for 1 (9-inch) pie crust.

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon granulated or turbinado (raw) sugar

Mix flour and salt in chilled bowl, then cut shortening into the flour with a pastry cutter, until mixture resembles the texture of tiny split peas. When the mixture is the right texture, add the ice water and combine with a fork. Quickly gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a 4-inch-wide disk. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Remove dough disk from refrigerator. If stiff and very cold, let stand until dough is cool but malleable. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough disk on a lightly floured surface until it’s bigger than the pan. Transfer dough by carefully rolling it around the rolling pin, lift and unroll dough, centering it over the fruit. Vent crust, and sprinkle granulated or turbinado (raw) sugar on top to give a delightful sparkling appearance.

Bake cobbler for 50 minutes or until golden brown.

The candied ginger gives this dessert a warm zesty taste.



  1. You did a fantastic job on this review! I sure wish my library had this one :(

  2. Oh, thank you so much = }. Are you able to inter loan this tasty book?