Murder and Plum Cake? Sounds good to me!

Foodie Lit

Definition: a genre  of novels and memoirs filled with stories and recipes

Just for fun, I took a stab at writing in the style of author Elin Barnes to introduce the Plum Coffee Cake!

Susan

Saffron and Darcy walked into a small Palo Alto

restaurant on University Avenue and took a booth in

the back, away from the window.

“So what do you want?” Darcy asked, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. The hair immediately came out.

“I need some serious caffeine!” Saffron said.

Darcy motioned the waitress over and read her name-tag. “Two coffees. What’s good in a coffee cake, Lisa?”

Lisa smiled at the two. “The bakery just sent over a plum coffee cake to die for! Want me to bring over 2 pieces?”

Darcy nodded. “But maybe not to die for.”

Elin Barnes’ Justification for Murder

Saffron Meadows is being stalked. Someone is trying to kill her. Repeatedly.

Speaking to a police detective, she confides, “I feel as if I’m in a bad movie. These things don’t happen to regular people.”

‘You’d be surprised,” he said.

At the ame time, Saffron is in a long relationship with Ranjan Balasubramanian whose family is arranging his marriage with a string of beautiful candidates from India. Her doctor’s patients are committing suicide. The detective on her case, Darcy Lynch, quits.

Elin Barnes book is peppered with characters that have problems. Darcy Lynch, fighting his own demons, is recovering from a terrible encounter with a criminal who slashes his leg and blinds him in one eye. Men and women are struggling against cancer and loss. His colleague, Detective Sorensen, still mourning the retirement of his partner from MS, refuses to work with Detective Lynch.  And this is only the start.

Elin develops a plot with unusual yet somehow credible individuals. She told me,  “I think of characters as real people…. We are all complex and multidimensional and even though you can’t put everything on the page, characters need to be their own persons. They come through as the book develops, I think because of their organic creation, they are a lot more ‘real’ because they develop with the story.”

Clearly she has done her homework with the operations of police detectives, their realistic teamwork and antagonisms, the difficulties of trying to piece disparate clues and analyzing profiles of suspects. She didn’t have to do research on the tech world; she has worked in technology in the Bay Area for over a decade.

While many think of California as laid back, Elin’s Silicon Valley characters are driven, whether in the tech industry or police. “It’s not unusual to work until early morning hours during crunch times, and we all work on the weekends at least some of the time. I’ve also interviewed a lot of cops and detectives as part of my research and honestly, they are all like that too. They care about their cases and they will pursue them until they find who did it.”

Working long and frantic hours also occurs in the novel’s medical research. A sincere hope to find a cure for cancer is perverted by the pressure of hiding medical research gone awry.

The criminals also pursue non-stop.  The mastermind is determined. “His stride was strong, determined. He’s always walked as if he knew exactly where he was going.”

The killer waits for his victims. “In complete stillness, he listened….He continued to wait. He was good at waiting.”

Lynch and Sorensen are working on very different cases that come together in an unexpected and tension filled read. Jon, a brilliant intern who can work the web to get any information needed, surprisingly adds to investigation. A computer geek turns out to be hero quality —what else in Silicon Valley?

Saffron is not the typical victim. She is smart, strong and fights back each time the killer comes after her.  “Why don’t you die?” he asks her, frustrated that his attempts fail.

Saffron and Darcy unexpectedly become a couple. Elin commented to me, “They are both a bit lost in their own way.

I’ll blame Elin for a sleepless night—couldn’t put her book down until I finished the last page!

Plum Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is easy to make and oh! so easy to eat coffee cake.  The plums added on the top make a beautiful presentation and are a bit of a surprise with the sweet and tart flavor that melt in your mouth.

Saffron and Darcy walked into a small Palo Alto restaurant on University Avenue and took a booth in the back, away from the window.

“So what do you want?” Darcy asked, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. The hair immediately came out.

“I need some serious caffeine!” Saffron said seriously.

Darcy motioned the waitress over and read her name-tag. “Two coffees. What’s good in a coffee cake, Lisa?”

Lisa smiled at the two. “The bakery just sent over a plum coffee cake to die for! Want me to bring over 2 pieces?”

Darcy nodded. “But maybe not to die for.”

 

 

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs separated

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 plums, thinly sliced

2-3 tablespoons raspberry jam, melted to drizzle

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease and flour 8” round pan or 9” square pan.
  3. Mix flour and baking powder.
  4. Cream butter and sugar and add beaten yolks. Then add milk and flour alternately, vanilla and the stiffly beaten egg whites last.
  5. Pour batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  7. When removed cake from oven, drizzle jam over cake in a decorative fashion, allowing the jam to drip down the sides.

Expand the table

Make it for diabetics:  Substitute 1/2 cup stevia for sugar and use a sugar free jam.

Dairy free is easy:  Substitute almond, soy or coconut milk for cow’s milk.

Gluten free: Use gluten free flour or try almond flour for a wonderful light taste.

Find out more about Elin Barnes and her great books at her website 

 

The comments, advice and opinions expressed here are those of authors whose books have been honored with a B.R.A.G. Medallion. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the owners, management, or employees of indieBRAG, LLC.

One response to “Murder and Plum Cake? Sounds good to me!”

  1. Maria says:

    Oh, I’m looking forward to get the recipe for the cake Sorensen takes Darcy to try when they are looking for Harper Johnson.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *