Monday, April 20, 2009

The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis

Today we welcome the fourth of our Agatha Award nominees for Best First Novel--Krista Davis.
Thanks to Joanna and the whole Killer Hobby crew for inviting me! I’m looking forward to seeing Linda and Betty again at Malice, and I hope I’ll meet the rest of you, too!

My charming editor doesn’t like to take credit for anything, but in the process of reviewing (and ultimately rejecting) a different proposal, she asked a question that sent me running to popular magazines. It was in the drugstore that I realized the Martha phenomenon had created a counterculture of busy women who want lovely homes and lives, but don’t have the time or inclination to carve teensy squirrels out of acorns to decorate a harvest tree. Thus the concept of two divas was born -- Sophie, who loves to entertain but keeps things simple and charming, and Natasha (one name, please, like Cher), who cannot understand why everyone doesn’t bake bread from scratch, craft their own wrapping paper and invitations, and wallpaper the ceiling.
To make matters worse, Natasha has taken up housekeeping with Sophie’s ex-husband. And now, in The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, the divas are competing for a coveted prize in the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown.

But before Sophie can prove that she can trump Natasha with her Crusty Country Bread, Bacon & Herb Stuffing, Sophie stumbles over a corpse and lands on the police radar as a suspect in his death. The quiet family Thanksgiving that Sophie had planned swells to unexpected proportions when she’s saddled with neighbors and her former in-laws for dinner. Uncomfortable as that is, it’s not nearly as bad as suspecting that the killer is among them.

Writing about the divas is great fun. Of course, I suffer for my craft by endlessly trying out new recipes. Like Sophie, my jeans are getting tighter but I’m certain they shrank in the wash. The second Domestic Diva Mystery, The Diva Takes the Cake, will be in bookstores in June.

** Join us next week when our guest will be ME! (I'm not really a "guest" on my own home blog, though, am I?) Any hoot, I'm Joanna Campbell Slan, and I will be the last of the 2008 Best First Novel Agatha Award nominees to weigh in.

** Clue word: acorns

Remember--Submit all five "clue words" to (put CLUES in the Subject Line)and I'll draw a name from the group on Monday, May 11. The winner will receive an autographed set of all five of the Agatha-nominated Best First Novels. That would be G.M. Malliet's Death of a Cozy Writer, "Sarah Atwell's" Through a Glass, Deadly, Rosemary Harris' Pushing Up Daisies, Krista Davis' The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, and Joanna Campbell Slan's Paper, Scissors, Death.


Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Welcome, Krista! Thanks for joining us.

Camille Minichino said...

Nicely done, Krista! We can all relate to BOTH Divas at one time or another!

And, Joanna, we await your Agatha blog as eagerly as if you were a special guest!

Helen Ginger said...

Go Sophie! (I'm rooting for Sophie in the contest because I've never been a fan of perfect Martha.) I should write a series on how not to clean house. Does the book have recipes? That Crusty Country Bread, Bacon & Herb Stuffing sounds enticing.


Krista said...

Ginger, Sophie is delighted to have you rooting for her! You might enjoy the book because Natasha isn't always as perfect as she tries to be...

The book does contain recipes, and that stuffing is the one I always make for Thanksgiving. Easy and delicious!

Krista said...

Camille, for those who "don't do domestic diva" there's also Sophie's friend and neighbor who thinks the most important meal preparation implement is the telephone.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Krista, we're always interested in recipes. Care to share one?

Betty Hechtman said...

Sorry I'm so late with a comment. What happened to Monday? Your book sounds great and just like you, very funny.

Krista said...

Hi Betty! So you lost Monday? I'm wondering what happened to March.

Krista said...

Joanna, I'm just posting this on my blog ( so I'll share it here, too.

Champagne and Crimini Mushroom Gravy

1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 cup onions, diced small
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup champagne (or wine)
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
salt to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the mushrooms and sage, and cook until the mushrooms begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the onions. At this point, it smells so good you'll be tempted to eat it as is. When the onions have cooked, add the 3 tablespoons of flour. Stirring frequently, cook until the flour turns a golden brown color. Add the champagne and chicken broth and continue stirring until well blended. Bring to a boil and let simmer about 20 minutes. Salt to taste.

This gravy turned out great. I will say, however, that you should only make it with a champagne or wine that you adore, because that flavor comes through and dominates. I'm looking forward to trying it with my favorite sweet red wine. A caution, though, this is a gravy more likely to appeal to an adult palate. I suspect it would not be popular with munchkins.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Wow, Krista, that's super. Thanks so much!