Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Book Tour Stops Here: "The Seduction of Miriam Cross" by W. A. Tyson with a "What's in the Pantry" Garam Masala Red Lentil Stew (+ Book Giveaway!)

My childhood love of mysteries fueled my passion for reading--especially female detectives Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew and I devoured the books in both series. My secret career goal when I was a 'tween' was to be a female detective. Of course if you followed those books, that meant the fun and glamour of solving intriguing mysteries and not considering the tedious hours of research, surveillance and paperwork that investigators have to put in. So that, and the fact that at heart, I am pretty much a wimp, lead me to other career choices (sadly, still filled with tedious hours of research and paperwork--go figure...). Although I didn't achieve that childhood dream, I can still live vicariously through more adult mysteries like The Seduction of Miriam Cross: A Delilah Percy Powers Mystery, the first book in a new series by W.A. Tyson.    

Delilah Percy Powers is a Philadelphia-based private investigator with a female-staffed firm where "women can go to find justice." Delilah's all-woman team is eclectic--Barb, a suburban married mother of three, Margot, a 72-year-old ex-nun, and Natasha, a young single mother and ex-stripper. Although murders are not among Percy Powers LLC's usual cases, a former client dumps a doozy of one into Delilah's lap when she hires her to investigate the murder of her aunt, famous author Miriam Cross. Needing additional help in forensic surveillance, freelance journalist and Certified Ethical Hacker, Matthew "Anders" Anderson is hired as the first male Percy Powers employee and tension comes both in the feelings he raises in Delilah, and questions about where his interests in the case and his loyalties lie. Miriam's murder was particularly brutal and it doesn't take Delilah and her team long to realize that this case is more involved and farther reaching than expected, with ties to the Mob and human trafficking making it far more dangerous to them all. 

Paperback /358 pages
Publisher:  E-Lit Books / October 2013

Mystery/thrillers with a strong female protagonist are among my favorite book genres and I like them to have good suspense and be a bit dark and edgy too. The Seduction of Miriam Cross delivers on all accounts. I like the main character of Delilah--she is smart and no-nonsense and her damaged, often brittle exterior hides a warm, caring heart beneath. Grief and some survivor's guilt from the sudden death of her rancher father when she was a teen and the disappearance/death of her fiancé in a kayaking accident fourteen years ago, have her aching for the past and afraid of being hurt again. I also liked getting to know the background of her team--in this book the focus was on Natasha and Barb but, I anticipate more of Margot's story to come out in future novels. I get the feeling we will see more of Anders, and the fact that the body of Delilah's fiancé was never found could have some interesting possibilities too. Tyson did an excellent job of creating characters that feel real and that you want to learn more about, as well as keeping the action well-paced. This book had me turning pages long after I should have been asleep just to see what was going to happen next, and it inspired me to download Tyson's first book Killer Image (An Allison Campbell Mystery), to my Kindle to read. Readers who like smartly-written, gritty mysteries with brave kick-ass female leads will enjoy this book and series. (If that's you, there is a chance to win a copy of your own at the bottom of this post!)   

Author Notes: W. A. Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers.  The Seduction of Miriam Cross, to be published by E-Lit Books this fall, is the first in the Delilah Percy Powers mystery series.  She has also authored Killer Image (Henery Press, October 2013), the first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series.

The Seduction of Miriam Cross is not a foodie book but, different food and dishes are mentioned throughout and I found myself wanting to stuff food into my mouth to combat my growing angst as the mystery built in this page-turner. ;-) For my dish inspired by my reading, I chose to go with a lentil stew. While investigating, Delilah and Anders stay with Ander's friend Tula in New York and she prepares "a wonderful fragrant meal of homemade naan, lentil stew and tandori chicken" for them. Because lentils cook quickly and provide lots of fiber and nutrients, they are a weeknight pantry staple for me--especially combined with the warmth of garam masala spices. I toss in whatever veggies and things I happen to have on hand--carrot, potato, sweet potato, spinach or celery--it's all good. 

"What's In the Pantry" Garam Masala Red Lentil Stew
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes 3-4 Servings)

1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

1 pinch red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 Tbsp garam masla spice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups low-sodium veggie broth (+ extra if thinner stew desired)
1 (15 oz) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup red or brown lentils, well rinsed and drained
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

fresh cilantro, lime or lemon wedges and fried onions to garnish if desired

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute for 5-6 minutes until softened. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, garam masala, cumin and cinnamon and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until mixture is fragrant.

Add veggie broth, tomatoes and their juices and lentils to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until lentils are softened, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. You can add additional veggie broth here if you want a less thick stew.

Place in individual bowls and top with fresh cilantro and/or fried onions Serve with naan or prantha bread and lime or lemon wedges. 

Notes/Results: Fast and easy comfort food--a little smoky, a tad spicy, with a hint of brightness from the lime. A little chopping of whatever veggies you have on hand, then you dump it into the pot, relax, and in about 20 minutes dinner is served. I like lentil stew over brown rice or with naan but, I especially love it with a piece of my favorite 'brown and enjoy' prantha--something that is usually in my freezer. This is a dinner that would definitely refuel your favorite detective after a long day of sleuthing! ;-)   

***Book Giveaway!***

The only thing better than reading a great book is being able to give a copy to someone else to enjoy! The publisher is giving me the opportunity to give a copy of this exciting mystery/thriller to a reader. 

To enter to win--just leave a comment on this post telling me about one of your childhood career dreams. Leave your comment (+ a way to contact you please) no later than 11:59 PM (Hawaii Time) on Thursday, December 19th. One winner will be drawn from all applicable entries and announced on this blog. You must be in the U.S. or Canada to win.  

Giveaway Winner Update--12/26/13
The winner of the drawing is Tina of Squirrel Head Manor. Congrats Tina!

Note: A review copy of "The Seduction of Miriam Cross" and a copy to give away to one of my blog readers were provided by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. Deb -- Thank you so much for hosting THE SEDUCTION OF MIRIAM CROSS on your blog. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the book. First, let me say how much I love your blog. The pictures are works of art, and the recipes have me coming back again and again. Second, what a great pairing. I think #TSOMC needs something hearty and comforting and this dish is perfect (plus, selfishly, Indian is my favorite cuisine). I hope you and your readers have a great day!

  2. Chowing down on a pantry staple sounds good to me!! I love the flavors in this soup!

  3. Sounds like an incredible read and fantastic meal! I wish I could stop what I was doing to just cook and read right now.

  4. Wendy--thanks so much for the positive blog feedback. ;-) I really enjoyed the book (thanks for making sure I got a hard copy too!) I am looking forward to reading Killer Image this weekend.

  5. Mahalo Joanne! ;-)

  6. Thanks Danielle. Me too! It takes some late nights to get it all done but I couldn't give up either cooking or reading so I have to fit it in. ;-)

  7. Thanks again, Deb. It's been my pleasure. I hope you enjoy KILLER IMAGE!

  8. Too bad you didn't grow up to be a detective, considering that you seem to be doing just as much work in your current career. :)

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  9. Nice looking pantry-friendly soup. Just the kind of meal I love! :)

  10. Finished it this weekend and loved it too Wendy! ;-) BTW--I reviewed it and also put my review of TSOMC on GoodReads. Looking forward to more books in both series.

  11. Yes Heather, I guess there is tedious paperwork in many jobs! ;-) This was a fun book and tour.

  12. Thanks Janet--pantry meals like this are my favorite easy dinners. ;-)

  13. That would be a fun one Margaret! ;-)

  14. Just saw that! So glad you liked KILLER IMAGE, too! Thanks for taking the time to review on GR! Hope to see you on a future tour. In the meantime, I wish you and your readers happy holidays and a bright New Year!

  15. I work in law enforcement (non-sworn) and it can be extremely interesting! But my long time goal since I was a kid was to be an editor at a publishing company. Obviously that didn't pan out. haha
    I would love a chance for your giveaway, count me in!


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