2/1/14

A Soap Making Mystery




Like so many things in life, I got into cozy mysteries serendipitously. I usually read (and write) literary fiction—particularly short stories, but one day while at the library I saw Beeline to Trouble by Hannah Reed displayed. I picked it up and read the back cover. A murder mystery with a heroine who raises bees! Since I had just made a batch of cold process soap with some beeswax that I'd rendered myself, I was a in a temporary obsession about bee keeping, so I checked it out.

I loved it. I learned a ton about bees, beekeeping and honey, met some great, quirky characters and was delightfully lead through the solving of a murder.

And that's how I got hooked on cozies. I've blown through a couple hundred of them now.

There are cozy series where the heroine bakes cupcakes, runs a coffeehouse (Cleo's Coyle's Coffeehouse  Mysteries are in my top ten favorites), collects buttons, owns a scrapbook shop, restores furniture (Elsie Hyatt's Daring Finds Mysteries are also on that list) and rescues dogs. And each book includes recipes and/tips on the craft.

The only craft/career that's missing is soap making (there is The Soapmaking Mysteries by Tim Myers but it's out of print—although available on Kindle—and Lye in Wait by Cricket McRae—which is just one book from the Home Crafting Series).

So, I am filling the gap. Book number 1 of The Haley Maxwell Soap Making Series is titled Deathbed of Roses. I'm about halfway through the first draft and very excited about the characters and the plot. And also the soap recipes (A few to look out for: Bed of Roses (using olive oil infused with rosehips), Dog 'Poo (a luxury shampoo bar for your favorite pooch), Lavender and Hops, Milk and Honey, Chocolate Cupcake Soap and Easy Castile).

While I'm working on the book, I'll be posting here—little tidbits that will whet your appetite without giving too much a way. I'll also post some more complex versions of the soap recipes that will be included in the book. And you'll be able post photos of the soap you've made with the recipes.

Here's a synopsis of Deathbed of Roses to start you off:

It's a beautiful spring day until Haley Maxwell and her black lab Socrates, find the president of The Hell's Kitchen Community Garden pushing up roses in her plot—struck on the head from behind. Detective Frank Randazzo thinks it might be a mugging gone bad, but Haley doesn't believe it, so it's up to her to find out who the murderer is. And figure out a way to keep her family bookstore, Maxwell's from going under. And get all her handmade herbal soap labeled in time for the garden's Annual Perennial. And perhaps win the affection of the good (and sexy) detective.

And now a couple questions for you, dear reader: Are you a fan of cozy mysteries? If so, what are your favorite series? Are you a soap maker too? What's your favorite soap to make? And to use?



7 comments:

  1. I do love a good mystery and I am an avid soaper.....I'm looking forward to following you....

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  2. Love the idea! I love the Spenser series by Robert Parker although it's not a themed mystery series. And my favorite soap to make and use is my Lavender Lemongrass. I love how it smells. Good luck to you, I'll be following too!

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  3. Thank you, Angela. Lavender and lemongrass and is one of my fave combos too—so uplifting! I'll have to check our Robert Parker.

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  4. Your path to writing a cozy is a perfect example of the advice we've all heard, that we can best write what we love to read. Lavender is my favorite, btw! I have spent a ridiculous amount of time tracking down lavender-scented hand soaps, candles, and cleaning products. Still looking for lavender dishwasher soap--I suspect it doesn't exist!

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  5. Hi Kathryn. Thanks for your comment. Who doesn't like lavender? It's both calming and energizing. And it's great for cleaning--in fact the word 'lavender' comes from the Latin ‘lavare’ meaning to wash. I was looking at the dishwasher soap in my local Duane Reade today and saw that Method has dishwasher tabs in pink grapefruit scent. Maybe if you (and a bunch of your friends and other lavender fans) suggested a lavender scent, it could become a reality.

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  6. Heather Tallman-GirvinFebruary 24, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    What a fun, fantastic concept for a mystery series. I love themed mysteries, and have been soaping for almost 15 years. I can't wait for the release. :D

    ReplyDelete

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