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Laura Bishop’s new home staging business is growing in popularity, though not with her nemesis. Laura has long suspected established interior designer Monica Heller of sabotaging her fledgling company—and having an affair with her late husband.
When the ultra-chic Monica is caught at the scene of a murder, Laura is plenty happy to imagine her languishing in a prison cell with bedsheets far from her normal 600-thread Egyptian cotton. But her delight is short-lived.
When Laura’s friends land on the police’s radar, Laura must overcome her dislike of Monica to help solve the crime. Not an easy task since Laura and Monica have been at war since the second grade.
Laura Bishop doesn’t ply sources with liquor to loosen their lips. Instead, she knows the value of questioning them in a place conducive to sharing secrets—a cozy English-style teashop. Who wouldn’t open up while enjoying sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, and fruit tarts, all washed down with fragrant tea? It worked for Laura, and she was able to get good leads that helped her unmask a murderer.
Next time you want to coerce someone into spilling their secrets, serve an English-style tea and include scones like the ones served at the Orangery, the teashop frequented by Laura and her sources.
English Butterscotch Tea Scones
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup granulated sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter (4 ounces) cut into small pieces
1 cup butterscotch chips (or substitute 1 cup cinnamon chips, currants, or raisins)
1 ½ cups buttermilk (or substitute 1 ½ cups milk with 2 tablespoons white vinegar. Allow to sit for ten minutes.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture is the size of small pebbles. Add butterscotch chips (or currants or raisins) to dry mixture and stir to coat well. Set aside.
Beat egg and buttermilk together and add to dry ingredients. Stir to combine all ingredients. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Roll dough until it is 1 inch thick or press with floured fingertips.
Cut rounds with a lightly floured cutter or a juice glass and place on a greased baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Brush lightly with milk or cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until scones are lightly browned.
Allow to cool. Slice in half and spread with butter or whipped cream and jam. Enjoy!
About the Author
Grace Topping is a recovering technical writer and IT project manager, accustomed to writing lean, boring documents. Let loose to write fiction, she is now creating murder mysteries and killing off characters who remind her of some of the people she dealt with during her career. Fictional revenge is sweet. She’s using her experience helping friends stage their homes for sale as inspiration for her Laura Bishop mystery series. The series is about a woman starting a new career midlife as a home stager. The first book in the series, Staging is Murder, is a 2019 Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. Grace is the former vice president of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the SINC Guppies and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia.
Website – https://www.gracetopping.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/gtoppingauthor
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GraceToppingAuthor
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomgracetopping