Posted By Susan Bernhardt

Books took her places she would never soon forget.

Hurrah! It's Publication Day! Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Mystery Book 3) is out today and I'm so excited! -

Thanks to all who have taken this journey with me, starting out from the beginning with The Ginseng Conspiracy and going on to Murder Under the Tree or joining in along the way... taking us now to Murder by Fireworks! It's been a great far. I am so happy and grateful to all of you!

Please spread the word about Kay, Deirdre, and Elizabeth!

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

I am thrilled to announce that Murder by Fireworks (A Kay Driscoll Book 3) will be published November 24th!

An obnoxious member of Kay's book club is found dead on the beach. When Kay investigates, she discovers that the death, covered up to look like suicide, was in fact murder.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

Walking by the booths at the pumpkin festival, Andrea and her friends chatted about the Halloween party that evening. As they passed a grey haired gypsy-looking woman selling jewelry, a necklace caught Andrea's eye.

Andrea stopped in her tracks. "Look at that ornate Celtic necklace, the one the old witch is selling. It'd be perfect for my costume."

"Quiet, she'll hear you," Marla said.

"She's petting a black cat for goodness sakes. What else would you call her?" Kerry laughed.

They walked over to the old woman's velvet draped table. Racks of jewelry stood between lit candles at each end. The old woman looked up and intently watched the girls. She wore a pashmina wrap around her shoulders. Her weather-beaten, creased face contorted, revealing a toothless smile. "Would you like one of my necklaces?"

Andrea picked up the alluring pewter necklace and put it on. Then she said, "Oh look, Marla, over there, those batik dresses." She started walking away.

"Young lady, young lady," the old woman cackled, "You forgot to pay for the necklace. Twenty dollars, please."

"Andrea, get back here," Marla called out.

"For this old piece of junk. I thought you were giving them away." She looked over at Kerry and smirked. "You asked if I would like one." Andrea threw the necklace down on the table.

The old woman looked hard at Andrea. Reaching under the table, she brought out a glass case that contained a stunning, crystal necklace. "This necklace shines like the stars in the sky. It has much magic and brings its owner, everything they deserve."

Andrea picked up the necklace. It was beautiful and had a great sparkle. She put it on. How much?"

"For you, five dollars."

Andrea nudged Kerry and they took off running into the crowds, laughing.

Marla pulled a five dollar bill out of her purse and plunked it down. "Sorry." She ran to catch up with her friends. "You swiped it," she said. "I can't believe you, Andrea."

Kerry and Andrea rolled their eyes. "Oh, grow up," Andrea said. She and Kerry continued talking about who would all be at the party. Marla lagged behind. They came up to a caramel apple stand. Andrea grabbed one as she walked by.

That evening Andrea stood at the mirror admiring her new crystal necklace. The moonlight shown through her bedroom window, making it sparkle. She remembered what the old woman had said about the necklace being magical. She deserved to have it.

At the party, Andrea started flirting with Kerry's boyfriend. When Kerry went into the kitchen to get a drink, Andrea and Todd decided to take it upstairs to an empty bedroom. Suddenly Andrea started screaming, a bloodcurdling scream. She felt a tightness constrict her neck. Her screams stopped abruptly. Todd glanced down and saw the crystals of the necklace glowing, reflecting moonlight around the room, burning his eyes. He got up, made it to the door, and stumbled downstairs blinded. "Call 9-1-1!"

When the police arrived the crystal necklace lay loose around Andrea's red swollen neck. Todd was taken into custody on suspicion of murder. Still unable to see, he was led away.

A few weeks after Andrea's funeral, Kerry came over to visit with Andrea's mom. They were both having a hard time with the death. They went up to Andrea's room and sat for a while trying to find some level of solace. When the phone rang and Andrea's mom left to answer it, Kerry spotted the crystal necklace lying on the dresser and slipped it into her purse.

A week later Kerry was found strangled in a park. She had been returning home, on a moonlit evening, from a friend's home. Her body was taken to the morgue, her clothing and personal articles sent to lockup in the police station for evidence.

A young police officer checking in the articles in the evidence log, saw the beautiful, dazzling necklace. He looked around and quickly put it in his pocket. His first anniversary was coming up in about a month. It would make a lovely gift for his wife.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

“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.



12 oz. 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.

Posted By Susan Bernhardt

“Books are the mirrors of the soul.” ~ Virginia Woolf

Many authors insist they are not their characters or the characters are not them. Not so for me.

Writing for me is quite like fantasizing. I imagine myself as the protagonist in my novels. I identify with my main character or is it the other way around? I was Kay Driscoll in the Kay Driscoll Mystery series, i.e. The Ginseng Conspiracy, Murder Under the Tree, and Murder by Fireworks. Like an actor who "becomes" that person and lives the part while filming, I am the protagonist in my WIP. When writing, I live the part.

I'm currently writing a Manhattan murder mystery. The protagonist, Irina, is a retired ballet dancer who teaches young children to dance at her studio. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I immensely enjoy writing this mystery because I describe the brownstone I would want to live in. I "go to" the restaurants and coffee shops I love. My NYC friends are relatively quirky. It's great fun to view the world through Irina's eyes.

Of course in order to do this, a lot of research is involved because the setting is NYC and the protagonist's profession is ballet. Here I chose two topics I'm interested in, which adds to the pleasure of my art. I get to experience NYC, visit art museums, enjoy the culture. This vicarious experience is similar to readers' reports of actually gaining weight just from the pastry descriptions in The Ginseng Conspiracy .

A lot of love is being poured into this book, even though it is a murder I'm currently in the revision stage. Hopefully A Manhattan Murder Mystery will be completed and out in 2016.

“Every book has a soul, the soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and dream about it.” ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafón




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