M.V. Byrne Serves Up an Intriguing Tale with Isabel Puddles Investigates

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M.V. Byrne’s Isabel Puddles Investigates is sure to enchant mystery lovers. The second Mitten State Mystery by the veteran television writer finds senior sleuth and Jill-of-all-trades Isabel Puddles investigating a deadly mystery among Rust Belt royalty in the cozy town of Gull Harbor, Michigan. Savor the new Cozy Corner selection with your favorite holiday tea and a sweet treat!

Tea and Scones with Isabel Puddles

Isabel Puddles is a woman known around her hometown of Gull Harbor, Michigan, as a very fine home cook. Her bread-and-butter pickles and berry pies have won blue ribbons at the county fair more than once, and invitations to Sunday dinners when her famous pot roast is on the menu are coveted by family and friends. And although she can manage pretty well with cookies, any baking beyond that is hit or miss. And there probably hasn’t been a bigger miss than Isabel’s adventure, or misadventure, the day she decided to bake scones. 

Isabel’s great-grandfather, Chester, came to Michigan from England in 1900, so there had always been a strong British influence in her family. His wife, Zelda, had a scone recipe that had been passed down to her from Chester’s mother, which she then passed down to Isabel’s grandmother, Hazel. One of Isabel’s fondest childhood memories was sitting in her grandmother’s kitchen and drinking chamomile tea, just the two of them, while they waited for Nana’s raisin scones to come out of the oven. And when they did, and after waiting a torturous fifteen minutes for them to cool, her grandmother would take a jar of her homemade clotted cream out of the fridge, along with a jar of strawberry jam, also homemade of course, and the ritual of high tea with Grandmother Hazel would begin. In the spring and summer they would have their tea parties in her grandmother’s rose garden, and in the fall and winter, the oven would keep them toasty warm in the kitchen. 

Unlike most of the old family recipes, Great-Grandmother Zelda’s mother-in-law’s scone recipe had never been written down, or if it had, it had been lost long ago. But because drinking tea – Earl Grey in the afternoons, and chamomile in the evenings—was a daily ritual for Isabel, she had never stopped longing for Nana’s sweet, fluffy, buttery raisin scones to enjoy with her tea. So one rainy day she threw caution to the wind and decided to try to replicate the recipe. It didn’t go well. Whether she had overmixed or overbaked was unclear, but the end result was a scone that looked like, and had the texture of, a hockey puck. It also tasted a lot like she imagined a hockey puck might taste if it was slathered in clotted cream and jam. They were, in a word, inedible. She broke one in half and set it down in front her dogs—Jackpot, her Jack Russell, and Corky, her cocker spaniel—neither of whom were known for their sophisticated palates, given that eating grass and bark chips were two of their favorite snacks. They had a sniff at their halves of this dense looking foreign object on the floor in front of them, and each took a nibble. They looked up at Isabel then with what she interpreted as utter disappointment. She could have sworn she saw them shaking their heads as they left her alone in the kitchen and left the scone on the kitchen floor.  

After her epic scone fail, Isabel washed up, put away her mixing bowls and the rest of her baking supplies, and made a pact with the dogs to never speak of her scone debacle again. Maybe one day Great-Grandmother’s scone recipe would be uncovered among all the other old family recipe boxes and books, but until or unless that time came, those raisin scones would have to remain a delicious memory of all those tea parties with Grandmother Hazel, but thankfully, it was a memory as sweet as any scone. 

Get Your Copy of Isabel Puddles Investigates by M.V. Byrne Here! 


M.V. Byrne was born in East Lansing, Michigan and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, although he spent his summers on Lake Michigan with family. He later returned to East Lansing to attend Michigan State University. After years of living in both NYC and LA, he has settled in LA full time where he continues to work as a writer/producer in unscripted TV, though he can now add the job title of “Author” to his resume. He’s currently working on the next Isabel Puddles Mystery.


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