Book Series Spotlight | Baker's Rise Mysteries by @HutchinsAuthor #cozymystery #newrelease #series
If you're like us and love reading cozy mysteries, you're going to adore Baker's Rise Mysteries. R.A. is sharing an excerpt from each book, including Absence Makes the Hearts Grows Fondant (new release).
Title Here Today, Scone Tomorrow: Baker’s Rise Mysteries Book One
Author R. A. Hutchins
A delightful new series from successful author R. A. Hutchins mixes humour and suspense with the charm of a quirky English village in this cosy page-turner. When the self-titled Lord of the Manor, Harold Baker, meets an untimely end, the residents of Baker’s Rise believe that he has simply died from choking. It is fair to say that they are certainly not sad to see him go! Former city dweller Flora Miller, new to the quaint English village and in charge of the recently restored Tearoom on the Rise, is the unlucky recipient of the late man’s parrot. Her new feathered companion has no filter and a vibrant personality that cannot be ignored! Witness to Harold’s murder, the bird won’t let the matter lie, and it’s not long before Flora becomes suspicious. A quest to bake the perfect scone is put on hold whilst Flora helps the charming Detective Bramble to investigate Harold’s death. She has set her hopes on writing the next bestseller, not on becoming an amateur sleuth, but life sometimes has surprises in store! Will they find the killer before they strike again, and can Flora find the acceptance and friendship she seeks amongst her new neighbours? Packed with twists and turns, colourful characters and a sprinkle of romance, this is the first book in the series of Baker’s Rise Mysteries. It will certainly leave you hungry for more! (Includes a traditional scone recipe!)
“Thank you dear, do you serve elevenses?” The woman hovered just in the doorway, as if she wasn’t yet sure whether she was going to stay or not.
“I certainly do, with cream scones, or crumpets, teacakes or banana loaf. Or a lovely Victoria sponge if you fancy!”
The older woman’s face lit up, “Ooh, I do like a slice of Victoria sponge,” she looked as if she were about to sit down at the table nearest the counter until a thought suddenly struck her, “you didn’t make it yourself, did you dear?”
Flora sucked in a breath between her teeth, the woman having unwittingly touched a nerve, “No, indeed, only the finest from the local baker.”
“Perfect, I’ll give it a go,” she said rather seriously, as if she was committing herself to a monthly contract and not simply tea and cake. Her rheumy eyes looked Flora up and down, not just at the splattered apron, but also at the tailored suit trousers and crisp blouse. Flora decided inwardly that she should try to dress the part of a local from now on. Her city clothes were at odds with the country lifestyle she was now aspiring to fit in with. Clearly, she did not look like someone who was good at baking. And she desperately wanted to have the aura of an accomplished cake maker.
Flora felt the pressure begin to rise as she stood patiently waiting to take the lady’s order. It was imperative that she make a good impression on potential regular village customers like this one. It was the only way she would build up regular business that wasn’t the occasional tourist, lost in the wilds of the Northumberland National Park.
“I’m Flora, Flora Miller,” she said, to break the uncomfortable silence as the woman took out her spectacles, affixed them to the tip of her nose, and began perusing the menu. Her tut tutting and slight shaking of the head were all noticed by Flora, who was on tenterhooks by the time the lady actually spoke.
“Pleased to meet you, Flora, I’m Betty. Betty Lafferty. Former chairwoman of the local Women’s Institute. I only stepped down at last year’s fete to give someone else a chance at the role. After all, I had held the title for fifteen years. I still won Best Scone at last year’s fayre though, so I haven’t lost my touch,” she laughed lightly, as Flora felt a ball of concrete settle in the pit of her stomach. She had no hope of impressing such an esteemed baker as this. Not with shop-bought goods that weren’t even home-made. It was over before it had a chance to begin, and Flora’s shoulders slumped in defeat.
“Now dear, don’t you be downhearted just because I’m famous in the local area for my baking. Just you do your best,” Betty added. Normally, Flora would have been immediately irritated by the condescending tone, but in this instance she was simply grateful to be given a glimmer of hope. Perhaps if she buttered Betty up, she might get a lesson or two. Perhaps even an invite to join the hallowed institution that was the W.I.
“Do you know who owns the big house now, The Rise?” Betty asked around a mouthful of Victoria sponge. She had invited Flora to join her at the table, there being no other customers, and the two were sharing a huge pot of Earl Grey tea. Betty had already quizzed Flora on her marital status, where she had come from, and whether she planned to join the village fete committee.
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R. A. Hutchins lives in northeast England with her husband, their three children and their dog, Boudicca. She is a keen writer of cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, and historical fiction (under the pen name Anne Hutchins). Rachel's love of mysteries and women sleuths started at an early age with a fascination for the works of Agatha Christie. Her first high school English project was a biography of this author's life! Rachel's favourite hobbies are curling up with a hot drink and a great book, walking at the coast with her family, visiting new places, watching detective shows and researching different periods in history. She also enjoys collecting sea glass from the various local beaches on her doorstep.
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Title Pie Comes Before a Fall: Baker’s Rise Mysteries Book Two
Author R. A. Hutchins
Genre Cozy Mystery
Flora and her new feathered friend are at it again in the much-anticipated next instalment of the Baker’s Rise Mysteries series! Ray Dodds, landlord of the Baker’s Rise village pub, the aptly named Bun in The Oven, and self-confessed local Lothario, meets an untimely demise in this second book of the popular cosy mystery series. With the man killed by one of his own frozen pies, Detective Bramble is not short of suspects, though it seems the case is cut and dried when someone very close to home appears guilty. When her friend is accused of the deed, reluctant amateur sleuth Flora Miller is compelled to investigate with her trusty feathered sidekick, who can’t resist getting a slice of the action! Unable to rest while she feels the wrong person is suspected, can Flora find the true culprit in time? With so much suspicion and conflict, so much history and so many secrets, Flora begins to realise that her idea of a quiet life in the country may just have been pie in the sky! Packed with humour and suspense, colourful characters and a sprinkle of romance, this next Baker’s Rise Mystery has all the ingredients for a great read! (Includes a tasty pie recipe!) Note from the author: Since the same quirky cast of characters feature in each installment of the Baker's Rise Mysteries, the books are best enjoyed when read in order!
“Dad! No! Dad!” Shona’s high pitched sobs and screams rent the air, and in a heartbeat Adam and Pat Hughes were both through the back door and into the area behind the bar. Unable to help herself, as if her legs had a mind of their own, Flora followed them. She had never been back here before – in fact the first time she had even seen into the area was just now when she spied Edwina with Ray. One staircase led up to what must be the apartment above the pub, and the other, closer staircase, led down into the cellar. These stairs going down were not carpeted, and were simply hard concrete.
Shona stood, halfway up them, her face white as a sheet, her whole body trembling. Adam helped her up the remaining steps, where Flora gave her a hug, as the two men descended into the cellar.
“I only went to check on why he was taking so long,” Shona whispered, her lip quivering and tears streaming down her face, “I was mad that I’d had to leave Aaron and come downstairs to help out.”
“Shush now, don’t say anything more,” Flora said, leading Shona further away, and hoping that the younger woman hadn’t just implicated herself in anything. She had a sense that things were going to get very bad from here on in.
Flora could hear Adam on his phone, requesting backup, as Tanya came from the bar and led Shona away to get her a strong drink. Again, Flora’s curiosity got the better of her, and she found herself going down the stairs. When she reached the bottom, however, what she saw made her wish that she hadn’t. Ray lay there, on his back, in a pool of blood that encircled his head like a ghastly halo, a pile of frozen pies surrounding him. His skull was dented on one side, matching a pie dish which lay next to him, that was half squashed.
“Is he definitely...?”
“He’s dead, love, go on back up,” Adam admonished her gently, “Cracked his skull on the concrete when he fell backwards by the look of it, but I imagine it was a blow from that pie that sent him flying in the first place.”
Flora turned to do as she was instructed, as Dr. Edwards made his way tentatively down the stairs. Sirens could be heard from outside, in sharp contrast to the deathly silence in the bar area as she entered it.
Other than Shona’s sobbing, only one voice broke the shocked quiet of the room – George Jones, who could clearly be heard muttering, “That’s what you get for buying inferior pies!”
Flora sent a shocked glare his way, biting her tongue on the retort, ‘What? Murdered?’ which she dearly wished to bark at him.
“Tell them that no one is to leave!” Bramble shouted back up, and Flora relayed his instructions to all those assembled. Sitting down at her table, where Tanya was consoling Shona, Flora took several gulps of her wine, before deciding it was far too reminiscent of the blood she had just seen. Her stomach heaved and Betty’s Sunday lunch threatened to make a reappearance, so Flora rushed back along to the toilet, grateful for the fresh air from the back door to the building, which was now open and swaying back and forth.
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Title Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fondant: Baker’s Rise Mysteries Book Three
Author R. A. Hutchins
Genre Cozy Mystery
The third instalment of the cozy Baker’s Rise series is here, with Flora and Reggie facing some ghosts from the past!
Fresh from her latest investigation, Lady of the Manor Flora is looking forward to a quiet Autumn, writing her children's stories, serving customers in the tearoom, and learning how to make and decorate a traditional Christmas cake in time for the festive season. What she doesn’t anticipate is the arrival of her ex-husband, declaring his undying love for her! Is he as lovesick as he declares, or does he have another reason for seeking Flora out? Of course, in true Baker’s Rise style, things get rather more complicated rather quickly, and Flora finds herself in the eye of a whole new storm. Packed with humour and suspense, colourful characters and a sprinkle of romance, this next Baker’s Rise Mystery will certainly leave you hungry for more! (Includes a Christmas Cake recipe!) Note from the author: Since the same quirky cast of characters feature in each installment of the Baker's Rise Mysteries, the books are best enjoyed when read in order!
The Marshall girls appeared at the tearoom with their mum, Sally, when the older two were finished school for the day. It had become their Monday afternoon treat of hot chocolates with marshmallows and cream, though it had completely slipped Flora’s mind this particular week. The place had been very quiet after the detectives had left, however, and Flora was glad to see their flushed cheeks and cheeky grins as they pulled off scarves, hats and gloves, scattering them as they rushed to say hello to Reggie.
“Welcome to the tearoom! So cosy!” Reggie chirped happily, preening himself under all their attention.
“Mummy says Reggie had an adventure like the ones in your stories, Miss Flora,” Evie, the most outspoken of the three girls, exclaimed.
“Well, I didn’t put it quite like that!” Sally interjected, blushing, “Sorry, Flora, I wasn’t sure what reason to give for why they couldn’t visit last week, I…”
“No need to apologise,” Flora smiled at Sally, then turned to the girls – two pairs of little blue eyes and one pair that was green – looking at her expectantly, “Yes, he did indeed! Shall I make the drinks and then I can tell you all about it? Would you like to look through some book catalogues while you wait? I can give you each a pen to put a big circle around any that you think I should stock in my new shop.”
Sally mouthed ‘thank you’ as Flora busied herself getting the catalogues, whilst Reggie hopped onto the table and waddled across to little Megan, nuzzling her with his head.
“It tiggles!” she giggled, and the sound warmed Flora’s heart. She loved being a part of community life like this, and it was one of the main things which gave her the impetus to keep going with her plans for the converted stables.
As the girls drew circles, stars and triangles around nearly every book on every page, in some kind of rating system that only they understood, the two adults chatted about the new Knit and Natter group in the village, run by Jean and Sally…
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