Some Enchanted Eclair is the fourth Katie Lightfoot adventure in Savannah, Georgia. She's still a relatively new witch, but in her first year since moving to the South from Akron, Ohio, she's learned a lot. Like her aunt Lucy, Katie is a hedgewitch, sometimes called a natural or green witch, whose talents lie in kitchen and garden magic. She and Lucy use their knowledge of herbs and spices to infuse the yummy pastries at the Honeybee Bakery with good intentions for love, prosperity, health, peace and more.
The other members of the spellbook club have been teaching Katie their own specialties, too: moon magic and tarot magic, flower and color magic, along with basic spell casting and divination. Katie has also learned that she's a catalyst, which adds a little kick to the others' spells, and Detective Franklin Taite also revealed to her in Bewitched, Bothered and Biscotti that she's something called a lightwitch. However, Taite seems to have disappeared, so she's still trying to find out just what a lightwitch is. In part it seems to mean that she finds more than her share of dead bodies -- specifically murder victims that have some kind of connection to the paranormal.
In Some Enchanted Eclair, Katie and Lucy are staying clear of the historical movie being filmed on Reynolds Square -- at least until the production coordinator asks them to feed the cast and crew. Sure enough, the first time Katie ventures onto the set there's a fatal stabbing. The more she looks into the circumstances surrounding the victim, the more it becomes evident that some kind of dark magic is involved.
At first she thinks the paranormal connection might involve the psychic who travels with the lead actress. Ursula Banford can contact spirits who have passed to the other side, and in the course of Katie's investigation she passes on messages from some surprising sources. But can they be trusted? Since moving to Savannah, Katie has come to believe in things she never dreamed could be real, but she's not naive enough to simply take someone at their word when they say they can talk to dead people. Whether or not Ursula is the genuine article, there are plenty of other suspects for Katie and the spellbook club to ferret out.
Researching Some Enchanted Eclair was, quite frankly, a blast. Along with the research I usually do for this series regarding Savannah, other settings, food, weather and gardening in the South, I took the chance to read up on the Revolutionary War and consulted with an independent filmmaker. Plus, for the first time in my life, I went to not one, but two psychics.
I love my job.
Another aspect of writing the Magical Bakery Mysteries is ... the baking, of course! In other books I've researched some classic Southern recipes (like Coca Cola Cake) and come up with my own version to offer in the back of the books. For Eclair, I learned how to make choux pastry, and boy am I glad I did because it's not only delicious but incredibly versatile. Eclairs can be both savory and sweet, and the pastry can be used for cream puffs and even fried into something like a donut. However, it can be a bit tricky (unlike Katie, I failed the first time I tried it), so rather than try to tell readers how to make choux, I fell back on some of my everyday favorites -- which just happen to be on the Honeybee menu. One is a gluten-free peanut butter cookie recipe that I've made for years -- fast, easy, and great for sudden cravings. The other is a carrot and apple cake recipe I've honed to my personal idea of perfection. I do so hope others love it as much as I do.
Next up is the fifth Magical Bakery Mystery. It's currently untitled, but I can tell you it involves pie, voodoo ... and a sprinkling of romance!
Blurb: When Hollywood invades Savannah’s historic district to film a Revolutionary War movie, magical baker Katie Lightfoot, and her witches’ coven, the Spellbook Club, take a break from casting spells for casting calls. One of the witches snags a part as an extra, while Katie’s firefighter boyfriend, Declan, acts as on-set security. Katie and her aunt Lucy decide to stay out of the action, but after the movie’s “fixer” fires the caterer, the Honeybee Bakery comes to the rescue, working their magic to keep the hungry crew happy.
But when someone fixes the fixer—permanently—and a spooky psychic predicts Katie will find the killer, the charming baker and her fellow conjurers step in to sift through the suspects before someone else winds up on the cutting room floor .
About the Author: New York Times bestselling author Bailey Cates believes magic is all around us if we only look for it. She studied philosophy, English and history and has held a variety of positions ranging from driver's license examiner to soap maker. She traveled the world as a localization program manager for Microsoft, but now sticks close to home where she writes two mystery series, tends to a dozen garden beds, bakes up a storm and plays the occasional round of golf.
Having apprenticed with a master herbalist for a year, she's prone to concocting teas and tinctures for family and friends from the stash of herbs stored in the corner cabinet in her office. She owns a working spinning wheel and is on a first name basis with several alpacas and two sheep with questionable dispositions.
Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Wednesday, July 9th for the chance to win a copy of Some Enchanted Eclair. (US entries only, please.)