Susan Bernhardt who writes the Kay Driscoll series. Like Kay Driscoll, in her cozy mystery, The Ginseng Conspiracy, Susan is a retired public health nurse who volunteers at her local free clinic. An avid reader of mysteries, she is a member of Sisters in Crime. Susan's town in northern Wisconsin is the inspiration for the quaint setting of her novel. Ninety-five percent of American ginseng is grown in this region. When not writing, Susan loves to travel, bicycle, kayak, and create culinary magic in her kitchen. She works in stained-glass, daydreams in her organic garden, stays up late reading mysteries, and eats lots of chocolate.
As Halloween is drawing near...the days are shorter, there's a chill in the air, time for some hot tea, and a thrilling mystery. Curl up with a killer. THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY.
In the Halloween cozy THE GINSENG CONSPIRACY, Kay Driscoll and her friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, discuss new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters.
Below is Kay's favorite chocolate dessert. She had two pieces of this shockingly rich, chocolate torte at Sweet Marissa's as she agonized over the frightening events that occurred the evening of a Halloween Ball, when she witnessed a murder.
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TRUFFLE TORTE
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp Chambord or other raspberry-flavored liqueur or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cocoa powder, for garnish
Raspberries, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper. Butter the paper and the sides of the pan.
2. Combine the chocolate, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the chocolate is finely ground. With the processor running, add the boiling water through the feed tube and process for about 15 seconds, until the chocolate is completely melted. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl, then add the butter and process for about 5 seconds, until the batter is smooth. Add the eggs and Chambord and process until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the edges of the torte are puffy and cracked and the center is just set (it will still look moist). Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes (the torte will sink as it cools). Cover the pan and refrigerate for 3 hours.
4. Remove the sides of the springform pan and invert the torte onto a flat serving platter. Lift off the bottom of the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to garnish the torte.
5. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and garnish with the raspberries.
The Ginseng Conspiracy (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 1)
On her way to attend a Halloween Ball, Kay Driscoll, a newcomer to town, witnesses the murder of a local professor. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental and the community accepts the judgement, Kay decides to uncover the truth for herself. Through her personal investigations, Kay exposes a complex conspiracy, woven deep within the thriving local ginseng industry, that involves some of the more prominent figures and families of Sudbury Falls.
With her new friends, the free-spirited herbalist Deirdre and the untamed modern woman Elizabeth, Kay discusses new clues over tea and pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie, their crime-fighting headquarters. As Kay gets closer to the heart of the conspiracy, additional murders happen in quick succession. Before long, Kay learns that the villains are gunning for her, too. Phil, her musically talented but preoccupied husband, determined to keep her safe, withholds from her the one thing she needs most: the truth.
Murder Under the Tree (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 2)
While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts. When the official coroner's report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate.
Kay uncovers sinister plots of corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur. Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims.
Kay's first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. 'Tis the season to be sleuthing!
Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3) – Coming in November.