Thursday, May 27, 2021

Krista Davis Comes Through Again with Diva No. 14

 


Falling in love with a cozy mystery series can be the proverbial double-edged sword. On the one hand, I get all excited when I get the latest edition. It’s like catching up with old friends you haven’t seen in a long while. 

However, there is always the risk of the newest installment not living up to the previous books. We cozy mystery fans have all experienced the decline in a well-loved series. It starts when we come to the end of a book and think, “Hum, that wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d hoped.” 

Thank goodness that hasn’t happened with Krista Davis’s Domestic Diva series! 


I just finished reading The Diva Serves Forbidden Fruit, number 14 in the series, and I loved it! In this edition, event organizer and domestic advice expert Sophie Winston is in the middle of Old Town Alexandria’s Home Decorating Festival. Still, she has time to pick up her best friend, Nina, at the airport after she returns from a trip to Portugal. However, when Sophie finds one of Nina’s traveling companions dead the following morning, she wonders just what went on during that trip. Perhaps the clue scratched into the soil by the victim before dying will hold the answer. 

While the story takes place in the well-known Washington D.C. suburb, it has some international intrigue and a possible smuggling operation woven into the plot. When another traveler turns up dead, Sophie worries her friend is next on the list. 

The book was enthralling from the first paragraph to the last. There was a surprise at the end, which made me both laugh out loud and cheer. Plus, it was lovely to catch up on all the goings-on with Sophie, Nina, Mars, Bernie, Humphrey, and of course, Natasha, the other domestic diva in the book who antagonizes everyone. 

Natasha doesn’t have as prominent a role in this book as the previous ones, which I found to be a relief. She is pretty annoying, though Davis is good at giving her some redeeming qualities to keep us from wondering why Sophie remains her friend. Still, it was nice to only have her pop in from time to time as part of an entertaining subplot to the main story. 

Of course, the book also ends with some tasty recipes. I can’t wait to try the Mango Peach Salsa, Chocolate Mayonnaise Cupcakes, and Pear Upside-Down Skillet Cake. 


Since it’s the start of berry season, I made the Berry Pecan Coffee Cake. Buttery and full of blueberries, it’s the perfect partner to my morning cup of coffee. 


To learn more about Davis, visit her website here. She also has a Paws and Claws series that is perfect for animal lovers, and a Pen and Ink series for the artist in all of us. 

You don’t have to read the Domestic Diva series in order, but if that’s your style, the first one is The Diva Runs Out of Thyme.

Other recipes from Krista Davis's mysteries I have posted about in the past include:



Garden Veggie White Pizza from The Diva Digs Up the Dirt









Sunset Boulevard Cocktail, also from The Diva Digs Up the Dirt








Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins from Murder, She Barked





Yield: 9
Author: Linda Ditch
Berry Pecan Coffee Cake

Berry Pecan Coffee Cake

Adapted from a recipe found in The Diva Serves Forbidden Fruit by Krista Davis, who gave permission for me to share this recipe. It is easy to make and perfect for breakfast or an afternoon tea break. Make sure to take the butter and eggs out of the fridge ahead of time to allow them to reach room temperature.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 packed cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • For topping:
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 3 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 6 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside.
  2. Lightly grease a 9-inch-square pan and line with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit but with the sides long enough to lift the finished cake out of the pan.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into a bowl. Mix with a whisk or a fork to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars with a mixer. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Then alternate adding the flour mixture with the applesauce, beating between each addition, until smooth. Fold in the blueberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish.
  5. To make the topping, chop the pecans and combine them with the butter and brown sugar until combined. Sprinkle in lumps over the top of the cake batter. (The topping will melt and sink while baking.)
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center is set and a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove it to a wire rack to cool for another 10 minutes or so. Serve the cake warm.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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