Monday, 13 February 2023

In honor of the sweet, salty, nutty perfection that is the debut of her new True Confections series featuring chocolatier Becca Ransom, Sarah Fox treats Mystery Scene readers to her recipe for Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles. We have to say, it makes a truly delectable Valentine's treat!

Get the recipe for Mystery Scene Recipes and Reading Sarah Fox's Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles here.

Read more about Fox and her True Confections, Literary Pub, Pancake House, and Music Lover's series here.

Just in Time for Valentine's: Sarah Fox's Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles
Sarah Fox
Friday, 10 February 2023

British Columbia cozy author Sarah Fox, best known for her clever and fun Literary Pub mysteries featuring a book-loving bar owner who stumbles on her fair share of small-town murders, returns this winter with a new foodie series, True Confections. Her first book in the series, Six Sweets Under, introduces readers to former actor Becca Ransom, who swaps California lights for cocoa bites when she take a job in her grandma Lolly and grandpa Pops' Larch Haven, Vermont, chocolate shop. When a local curmudgeon named Archie turns up dead and Pops is the suspect, Becca is on the case like ganache on truffles.

Fox was kind enough to share a bit about Becca in her debut outing, as well as an extremely delectable recipe for peanut butter pretzel truffles for Mystery Scene's "Recipes and Reading" series.

Mystery Scene: Six Sweets Under kicks off your fourth cozy series after your Literary Pub Mysteries, Pancake House Mysteries, and Music Lover’s Mysteries. More than a decade into writing cozies, what are you excited to try anew or challenge yourself with this latest? Does it take you in any new or unique directions from your previous work?

I’m always excited to develop new characters and explore their various relationships. In my previous series, the main characters’ families have been involved mostly in just a peripheral way. In my True Confections Mysteries, Becca Ransom’s family is very much part of the backdrop of the series. She works in her family’s chocolate shop, along with her cousin Angie and other relatives, so their daily lives are intertwined. While Becca’s parents don’t currently live in Larch Haven, her grandparents, Lolly and Pops, are very much a part of her life.

What was the genesis for the True Confections series and Six Sweets Under? How did the character of Becca Ransom, the actor-turned-chocolatier, develop? What are your favorite things about her?

The idea for this series started with the setting. Ever since seeing Giethoorn, a town in the Netherlands, featured on a TV show, I wanted to write a cozy mystery series set in a town with canals instead of roads and boats instead of cars. My agent was the one to suggest the chocolate shop and that’s how Becca became a chocolatier. It took a while for me to decide on her former career, but the fact that she was a successful actress opens the door to some story ideas different from what I’ve had to play with in my previous books. I really enjoy Becca’s relationships with the other characters, especially her friends Dizzy and Sawyer. Her scenes with those characters are particularly fun to write.

Orion the cat with Six Sweets Under

Your books always seem to have a pet (based on one of your own) and a love interest. Who are Becca’s in the new series?

Becca has two cats named Binx and Truffles. Binx’s personality is inspired by that of my own black cat, Orion. Truffles, who is a bit less of a troublemaker, is a gray tabby like my late cat Zebbie. There is a love interest for Becca in this series, but I’d better leave it at that to avoid potential spoilers!

Like your Literary Pub Series, True Confections is set in Vermont, in the (fictional?) tourist town of Larch Haven—but rumor has it you’ve never been to Vermont! How do you create your worlds without more firsthand knowledge? Do readers ever tell you what you get right or wrong?

Larch Haven, the Venice of North America, is a product of my imagination. Canadian cozy mystery writers are generally encouraged to set our stories in the United States. Since I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in any particular part of the United States, I create fictional towns to make my life easier. Before writing my Literary Pub Mysteries, I read several books set in Vermont to get a feel for the location, and I did a fair amount of research. I’ve been told I’ve done a good job of capturing the picturesque nature of small towns in Vermont and in depicting New England winters, so that makes me happy!

Through the Looking Glass by Sarah FoxSpeaking of the Literary Pub Mysteries featuring biblio pub owner Sadie Coleman, your 5-book deal for it was completed with last year’s Through the Liquor Glass (November 2022). Readers want to know if/when we might hear more from Sadie (and her brewer boyfriend Grayson Blake).

This is a difficult question to answer. I’d like to write one or two more books in the series, but as for when I would have a chance to write them and when I’d be able to publish them, that’s all up in the air. So, I can’t make any promises, but I do have a concept and notes for a potential book six and I would love to share more of Sadie’s and Grayson’s lives with my readers.

You’ve also mentioned bringing back Marley McKinney-Collins, proprietor of The Flip Side pancake house from your popular Pancake House Mysteries, in self-published novella form. Is that something you are still considering? The “end” of that series felt fairly resolved. If you did bring Marley back for more adventures, have you considered where would she be in her life and where you would you go with it?

I did toy with the idea of writing one or two Pancake House Mystery novellas because I love the characters so much, but the more time that passes the more I think I’ll leave the series as it ended in book eight. I felt like I left the characters in a good place, without much in the way of loose ends. I do know that Marley and Brett go on to have children, and I might share details about that with my readers at some point, possibly via my newsletter or social media. Marley will probably never stop getting mixed up in mysteries, but hopefully they won’t all be murder mysteries so the dead body count in Wildwood Cove doesn’t go through the roof!

Sarah Fox Recipes & ReadingJust one of the many marvelous things about your series are the books’ clever and punny titles. Where are you when these come to you? Are you thinking about puns nonstop? And are there any great ones that you’ve loved, but that just didn’t make it to market?

I have pun/title brainstorming sessions whenever I start a new series, so I end up with a list of possible titles for several books. Sometimes they come to me at random times too, so then I just add to my existing list. I’ve had a couple of favorites that didn’t make it to market, including Tequila Mockingbird (the original title of Wine and Punishment).

Are you still working your other job as a legal writer in addition to writing multiple books a year? How do you manage? Have you ever considered writing a legal mystery series? Are you working on anything else that we haven’t heard of yet?

My legal writing has always been part-time, so I do that work in the morning and write in the afternoons. I don’t think I’d ever write a legal mystery series. I don’t really read them either. Too much like work!

Our readers are always interested in hearing about other books and authors. Who are some of the authors or books you love and who you think we should be reading right now?

Jody Holford and Sofie Kelly are two of my favorite cozy mystery authors. Lately, I’ve become hooked on Dorothy St. James’ Beloved Book Room Mysteries and Sherry Harris’ Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon Mysteries. Both are fantastic!

Finally, pancakes vs. cocktails vs. chocolate. Who wins?

In terms of eating, chocolate! In terms of my series, I can’t pick a favorite. I love them all!


Sarah Fox, writer of cozy mysteries, was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

Sarah Fox Goes "Six Sweets Under" With a New Series
Teri Duerr
Thursday, 09 February 2023

Walter Mosley 2023 CWA Diamond Dagger Recipient

Image courtesy of CWA

The Crime Writers' Association (CWA) has awarded American writer Walter Mosley a Diamond Dagger, considered the highest honor in crime writing in the United Kingdom. The Diamond Dagger recognizes authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre.

Since he first introduced readers to Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress over three decades ago, Mosley has gone on to pen more than 60 books spanning genres and styles across mystery, science fiction, memoir, graphic novels, short stories, young adult fiction, and more. In addition to Easy Rawlins, who was brought to life on the big screen in 1995 by Denzel Washington in a film adaptation of Devil, Mosley's canon includes Fearless Jones, Leonid McGill, and Socrates Fortlow, to name just a few of the beloved characters he's has brought to readers.

Mosley's Diamond Dagger follows on the heels of the recently announced 2023 Mystery Writers of America Raven Award, which was given to the Crime Writers of Color, an organization cofounded by authors Mosley, Kellye Garrett, and Gigi Pandian in 2018. It's just the latest recognition for Mosley in a long career of advocating for stories, characters, and creators of color in the genre. Mosley's other awards include an MWA Grand Master Award, a Grammy, and a PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, among many others.

"At the beginning of my writing career I was fortunate enough to be awarded the CWA’s New Blood Dagger, otherwise called the John Creasey Award," said Mosley in a statement from CWA. "That was the highest point of my experience as a first book author. Since then, I have picked up other honors along the way but the only award that comes near the Diamond Dagger is the MWA’s Grand Master nod. These two together make the apex of a career that I never expected.”

Maxim Jakubowski, Chair of the CWA, said, “I am truly delighted my friend Walter has been deemed worthy of the Diamond Dagger by my colleagues and members of the CWA. His voice has dominated the fiction scene for decades and I can think of no more deserving and ground-breaking an author to be given this ultimate accolade, for the so many things he has contributed to our genre but also to modern society.”

The Diamond Dagger will be awarded before the annual CWA Dagger Awards, dubbed the "Oscars of the crime genre," due to take place on July 6 at a glittering gala evening. Congratulations to a true master.

Walter Mosley Receives the 2023 Crime Writers' Association Diamond Dagger
Mystery Scene