Monday, January 9, 2017

Curried Away by Gail Oust | Blog Tour with Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway

The author of Cinnamon Toasted is back, with a new Spice Shop Mystery!

The Blurb

Piper Prescott, proprietor of Spice It Up!, has persuaded Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been dating, to demonstrate Indian cuisine at her shop. But before Doug’s presentation of classic chicken curry is completed, Ned Feeney, local handyman, bursts in with news of a murder.

Sandy Granger, the director of a local production of Steel Magnolias, was found strangled in the third-floor balcony of the Brandywine Creek Opera House. Sandy, it seems, had not endeared herself to cast or crew. Complaints about her ran the gamut from her management style to her lack of people skills. Everyone connected with the production falls under suspicion, including Piper Prescott’s BFF, Reba Mae Johnson, who made it well known how unhappy she is that she was cut from the cast.

When the spotlight for the dastardly deed shines on Reba Mae, Piper rushes to her friend’s defense. Who among Sandy’s detractors was angry enough to wrap a silk scarf around her neck — and pull tight? Will Piper succeed in solving the case before she becomes the killer’s encore performance? And will she ever learn just how to prepare the perfect curry? As delicious as it is charming, the latest entry in Gail Oust’s mouth-watering Spice Shop Mysteries is sure to delight both old fans and new.

Curried Away by Gail Oust
Series: A Spice Shop Mystery, #4
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Culinary Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books / Macmillan Publishers
Publication Date: December 13, 2016
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1250081254
e-Book File Size: 1384 KB
ASIN: B01G1J80H8
Amazon | B&NBAM! | Kobo | Google Play | iBooks

Click here for a sneak peek! You can read Chapter 1 
of Curried Away on Macmillan Publishers' website.

The Review

I just read a really good book, y'all — Curried Away by Gail Oust. Let me tell you a little about this cozy mystery.

Curried Away is the fourth book in the Spice Shop Mystery series, following Rosemary and Crime (#1), Kill 'Em With Cayenne (#2), and Cinnamon Toasted (#3, reviewed here). The three prior books in the series have all earned Four Kitties. 

Piper Prescott, the main character in Curried Away, has a habit of getting herself (and sometimes her BFF Reba Mae) into a spot of trouble, often by her willingness "to take matters into my own hands" if the police aren't finding answers fast enough. This predilection of hers frequently leads to antics worthy of Lucy Ricardo — antics which inevitably end with Police Chief Wyatt McBride demanding that she start ‘splainin’ — antics which make Author Gail Oust's Curried Away so much fun to read. 

Curried Away has many engaging characters who are realistic and likable. Most of them are returning from previous book(s). The settings — Spice It Up! and the town of Brandywine Creek — and the people are  described quite well. I am (almost) fully convinced that I can just head south to Georgia, and go visit Piper and everybody else at Piper's shop.

Curried Away is a quick read, due to a fast-moving plot with twists and turns. All of the different plot threads get tied up neatly in the end. As far as whodunit, there are red herrings in abundance, which makes solving the murder a challenge. Can you figure it out before Piper does, in the exciting climax? 

One character's decision, in the final chapter, promises to have a big impact on Piper's future. I am really looking forward to reading the next book, #5 in the series, to find out how this decision affects Piper and maybe some others in town. I can't wait until Ginger Snapped is published in December!

There are three recipes in this culinary cozy mystery:
  • Spicy Chicken Curry (for which the book was named)
  • Cranberry-Nut Mini-Muffins (I've already bought a bag of cranberries so I can bake these!)
  • Gingerbread (also tempting, but I need to buy molasses first)
I recommend Curried Away to all fans of cozy mysteries, especially to those partial to culinary mysteries. I think it will have special appeal to fans who are theatre buffs, actors, chefs, foodies, and fans of Author Gail Oust's other books.  

I really enjoyed Curried Away by Gail Oust, and grant it Four Kitties!

Four out of five kitties
 Note:  I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of Curried Away.  
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

The Guest Post


Mea culpa, mea culpa! What was I thinking? I plead guilty to the charge of no recipes in Rosemary and Crime, the first book in the Spice Shop Mysteries. Blame it on ignorance. I simply didn’t realize how many readers flip to the back of the book to view the recipes. I’ve since learned my lesson and have included them in each subsequent book.   

How are recipes selected, you might ask. Well, typically, I chose ones that my characters have referred to in the course of the book such as Melly Prescott’s go-to favorite gingersnaps. Some might be picked because they feature the spice in the title, for example cinnamon in Cinnamon Toasted or curry powder, an ingredient in Doug’s Spicy Chicken Curry in Curried Away. Still others are recipes I’ve used time and again such as the one for chicken tetrazzini in Kill ‘Em With Cayenne. By the way, this recipe was accepted for the anthology, Cozy Food:  128 Cozy Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes. I’m fortunate to have friends who are very good cooks and generous to a fault. Fran McClain’s lebkuchen appears as Piper’s contribution to an Oktoberfest celebration in Cinnamon Toasted. The spicy chicken curry, however, posed a challenge. It was a dish with which I wasn’t familiar. After finding several recipes on the internet, a friend and I turned my kitchen into a test kitchen and began experimenting. Too bland, needs more garlic, try adding cardamom, what about cinnamon? These ideas were tried and modified before coming up with what we considered a tasty version. In the meantime, however, our less adventurous husbands opted for steaks on the grill. 

I’ve yet to write a book that didn’t require research. The Spice Shop Mysteries are no exception. I frequently refer to various reference books, online sites, and spice catalogs to increase my knowledge of the spice I mention. As a lover of trivia, I’m always delighted to discover obscure facts about a particular spice. For instance, chicken curry was introduced in Savannah, Georgia by a British sea captain who had been stationed in Bengal, India. The sea captain shared his recipe with friends who then nicknamed the dish Country Captains Chicken. That was the name when Mrs. W.L. Bullard from Warm Springs, Georgia, served this dish to Franklin D. Roosevelt and General George S. Patton. One more bit of trivia, Christopher Columbus found allspice growing in the Caribbean islands and thought he’d found the pepper for which he’d been searching.
Writing the Spice Shop series had led me to experiment with different spices. I love trying out new recipes and reading cookbooks has become a fun activity. On the down side, writing requires me to spend less time in the kitchen and more time at the computer. My hope is that my stories are as satisfying to readers as a well-prepared meal.

The Author

About Gail Oust

Friends often accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement.  While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym Elizabeth Turner for Avon, Pocket, Berkley, and Kensington.  

It wasn’t until she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery.  Hearing the words “maybe it’s a dead body” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series, originally published by NAL.  In conjunction with Beyond the Page Publishing, the Bunco Babe series has  been republished in digital format as the Kate McCall Mysteries, complete with new titles and a whole new look.  

Gail is currently writing the Spice Shop Mysteries for Minotaur/St. Martin’s.  When she isn’t reading, writing, or sleeping, she can usually be found on the golf course or hanging out with friends.

Find Gail on the web at

The Giveaway

Gail will award a baking mini gift box of Penzey Spices
to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour!


January 6 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

January 6 – Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT

January 7 - A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

January 8 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

January 9 – Jane Reads – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &,Sissy, Too! – SPOTLIGHT

January 10 – Laura's Interests - SPOTLIGHT

January 11 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – COZY WEDNESDAY

January 12 – Readeropolis – REVIEW

January 12 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 13 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 14 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

January 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW  

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