Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Afternoon Tea for The Hound of the Baskervilles - and GIVEAWAY!

By Gemma Doyle from the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series by Vicki Delany

Today's the big day. The afternoon tea fundraiser for the West London Theater Festival. All the stops have been pulled out: the event is going to be a full proper afternoon tea, outdoors at the oceanside estate of the Festival’s director Rebecca Stanton. Each ticket costs two hundred bucks, every table will have a festival actor or crew member sitting at it. Guests are invited to sip Prosecco and wander the lush grounds before sitting down to tea.



Sounds perfect. The only thing not so-perfect, is that I won’t be sipping sparkling wine and Darjeeling with the guests but slaving in the kitchen and pouring tea.

Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room, of which I am part owner, is catering so they’ve put me to work.

This year the centerpiece of the festival is a production of The Hound of the Baskervilles, which my business partner, Jayne Wilson, and I are hoping will be a huge boon to us.  Not only theatre lovers but Sherlockians of all types will be flocking to West London to see the play, and where would the crowds go before or after the theatre but for afternoon tea at Mrs. Hudson’s and engage in a shopping frenzy at the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, located next door at 222 Baker Street.

I must say, I don’t think the festival director has chosen her cast wisely, however. Surely Sir Nigel Bellingham, legend of stage and screen, is far too old to play The Great Detective. Not to mention far too much of a drunk.  Let’s hope Sir Nigel rises to the occasion and doesn’t let us all down. As they say, the show much go on.



Meanwhile, I’m trapped in the kitchen. And that is not my natural environment.

This afternoon, we’d be serving smoked salmon and cream cheese on wheat bread cut into pinwheels, finger sandwiches of thinly sliced roast beef with locally made mustard and fresh arugula on light rye, cucumber with a touch of cream cheese on white bread triangles for the vegetarians, and egg salad, also on thinly sliced white bread.

I liked making the sandwiches; it suited my orderly mind. I cleared everything off the back countertop and laid out the slices of bread in a long row. I went up and down the line following Jayne’s instructions: buttering the bread, laying on the filling, adding pretty herbs and fresh greens as required, putting the tops on, cutting them into the proper shapes with a careful eye for uniformity of size. Then I carefully placed the tiny, gorgeous sandwiches onto platters and covered them tightly in plastic wrap. Jocelyn ferried them to the fridge.

I made five hundred small sandwiches. I was rather pleased with myself, but Jayne, being Jayne, wouldn’t allow me to rest on my laurels. “Fiona’s overwhelmed out front. Jocelyn, take off your cooking apron and go and help. Gemma, you’ll have to finish the cupcakes.”

“Me?”

“Yes, you. They need frosting.” One hundred and twenty-five tiny, perfect coconut cupcakes were cooling on a high shelf. The kitchen, as I have said, is small. We were running out of room to put all the food. “The frosting’s made. All you have to do is use an ice cream scoop as a measure. One scoop on each cupcake. Don’t worry about covering the tops to the edges. When that’s done, give the frosting a little swirl with a knife to make it look pretty and sprinkle coconut on top.” While she talked, Jayne mixed the dough for the next batch of scones. I set about icing coconut cupcakes in the same assembly-line fashion I had with the sandwiches.

“A swirl, Gemma. Just a swirl,” Jayne said. “If you’re trying to make a work of art out of each one, you’ll be here all day.”

I studied the cupcake at hand. I hadn’t been trying to re-create the London office tower nicknamed the Gherkin in coconut icing, but it did bear a slight resemblance.

Vicki also writes under the pen name of Eva Gates
Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com
Visit Eva at www.lighthouselibrarymysteries.com
www.facebook.com/evagatesauthor (Please like our page to get all the news about books and contests!)
@vickidelany  


Giveaway: The Cat of the Baskervilles, The fourth in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series, will be released on February 13.  Vicki has an advance reading copy to give to one lucky reader. Leave a comment below to enter the contest. US and Canada entries. Contest closes Friday Feb 2, 2018

63 comments:

  1. Great post... I'm so looking forward to this book! (I ADORE the cover 😉)
    Cheers~
    Kelly Braun
    Gaelicark(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Kelly, did you ever get an email from me asking for your PO box? You asked for a bookmark but the address was incomplete. I'm glad you contacted me here!

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  2. Cannot wait for The Cat of the Baskervilles! We'll have copies for sale in Yon Bonnie Books in Inversgail. Good luck with the cupcakes and I hope the play is a huge success.

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  3. I'm so pleased to hear that, Janet! :)

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  4. Looking forward to reading this! Would love to win!!!

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  5. I like the title and cover. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  6. I am *so* looking forward to reading this book! Sadly, I will probably miss seeing you tomorrow evening at the library due to renovation stuff. :-(

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    1. Drat! It's going to be a fun evening in Whitby.

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  7. Thank you for the giveaway. I look forward to reading your books.🐱

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  8. My daughter and I loved the first two books. She even did a book talk for school on ELEMENTARY, SHE READ! We are eagerly anticipating THE CAT OF THE BASKERVILLES!

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  10. OOO this looks really good. I shall have to get it.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  11. Oh boy... theater and food...my two favorites. Thank you for the chance.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  12. I'm looking forward to reading this. Thank you for the chance to win. Dmskrug3 at hotmail(.)com

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  13. I would enjoy this fabulous book and Vicki's novels are memorable. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  14. I LOVE this series and can't wait for the third installment! I wish the Emporium and Tea Shoppe were real so I could spend an afternoon there. Thanks for the chance to win. aut1063(at)gmail(dot) com

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  15. I would enjoy tea at the Tea Shoppe as I am a tea drinker. Your books have brought me great enjoyment. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  16. looking forward to this book would love to win

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  17. Think the cover of "The Cat of the Baskervilles" is spot on. Love the colors and all the amazing detailing from the pipe in the title to the silhouette of Sherlock Holmes in the tea pot and cup. The cat's eye through the magnifying glass is too cute.

    Everything I have read about the book, including reviews, lets me know that this is a book I'd love to read. Enjoyed the small glimpse into the afternoon tea for The Hound of the Baskervilles.

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of the book!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  18. I am looking forward to the next installment!

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  19. I really enjoy your Sherlock Holmes Bookstore mysteries and would love to win a copy of Cat of the Baskervilles. I also wouldn't mind trying some of Jayne's cupcakes -- even with Gemma's artistic additions! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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  20. How wonderful! cheers at MarjimManor dot com

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  21. I'd better start reading this series before I get to far behind. Thanks for the chance to win one of the books.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  22. I would love to win a book. I know with all the messages already on here I do not have a chance but I thought I would a least put my name. I love cats and I love mystery.

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    1. Thanks for entering, Judy. Someone has to win!

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  23. I would love very much to win this book. I love cats and I love mystery. I will try for a book. This series looks like fun.

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  24. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity...love the title and connection to Sherlovk. Can’t wait to read this book.

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  25. Sounds like an amazing event! Too bad you had to help in the kitchen, but you were still there to enjoy what you could. I would love to read this series! Thank you for the chance!

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  26. Love this series! I'm looking forward to reading the new book! Thanks acate9(at)utk(dot)edu

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  27. Really enjoyed the synopsis of the book. Can't wait to read the next book in the series.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Congratulations, Diane. You win! Please send me your postal address. Thanks for entering my contest.

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  28. I LOVE this series, would love to win a book. Read the reviews on all & a couple of chapters in Body on Baker Street while waiting for her. It was her book. Between that & the synopsis & reviews I definitely want them. So hoping this will be a start Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc (dot) com

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  29. Love the title and the plot is intriguing. Can't wait to read. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

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  30. Looks awesome! Must read!
    skforrest1957@gmail.con

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  31. This sounds like a delightful read.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

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  32. This sounds like an amazing read. ematov(at)comcast(dot)net

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  33. I would love to win & start reading this series. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  34. I am so in love with this series! Can't wait to read this next one! pat kuhn(at)gmail(dot)com

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  35. Love the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mysteries!

    jtcgc at yahoo.com

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  36. This book looks so good. Would love to read it.

    faithdcreech at gmail dot com

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  38. This is series is such fun! I am really looking forward to it. Thanks for writing such great reads! kim7corn(at)gmail(dot)com

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  39. Fingers crossed! What a delightful series. bobwiesmann at gmail dot com

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  40. Oh, Joy! Rapture! I adore this series, and I cannot wait to read ‘The Cat of the Baskervilles’. Lovely cover. Thank you for this Fabulous chance. Happy reading and writing. xxx ☕️📚💗
    stitchingfaery at iCloud dot com

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  41. I like the use of a known title and alter it slightly to make the title of a new book. I haven't read any in this series so it would be interesting to see what it is about. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  42. I haven't read any in this series so it would be a delight to win this one. Thanks for including Vicki Delany"s book on your blog. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  43. I love this series! Can’t wait to read this book. Sarakgrotz at gmail dot com

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  44. Mary Lynette MillerJanuary 31, 2018 at 1:14 PM

    Looking forward to this next book in the series. nettiem(at)toledotel(dot)com

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  45. Sounds great, I can't wait to read it.

    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

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  46. Mary Lynette MillerJanuary 31, 2018 at 2:50 PM

    Looking forward to this next book in the series. nettiem(at)toledotel(dot)com

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  47. I can't wait for this next installment. I'd love to read and review this book! Thanks for the chance to win! ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

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  48. I have this series on my tbb list! In my list on Amazon! I don't know why I keep forgetting to purchase them! Maybe winning this will help, ;) kayt18 (at) comcast (dot) net

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  49. I'd love to be the lucky winner of this book. Thanks for the chance. nschwenkner (at) gmail (dot) com

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  50. Such a fun series. I enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far. Would love to win an early copy! Lldawnjm (at) gmail (dot) com...thanks for writing and sharing your books.

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  51. I love the takeoff on these titles and the covers...very charming. Please enter me.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

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  52. Looking forward to reading this book in this amazing series. Can't wait!!! ��

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