Irish Soda Bread Murder

Coming in spring of 2025 . . .

It’s almost time for the delicious warmth of Irish soda bread, but be careful where you bite–some of these recipes call for murder in this delicious collection of cozy mystery novellas featuring the popular St. Paddy’s Day treat.

There’s very little time left before her wedding, but nonetheless Tara Meehan is helping out at her Uncle Johnny’s salvage yard for the day. Aunt Rose set up a convention for local psychics, including a bake sale to raise money for charity, but now she’s sick and available only via an iPad Johnny is carrying. The event promises to deliver a real pot of gold until Rose’s biggest rival shows up. Before Tara can utter a simple “top o’ the morning” to the man, he drops dead—with Johnny’s soda bread in his hands. It’s up to Tara to identify the deadly baker before another victim ends up chasing the rainbow straight into a grave . . .

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, the Arborville, New Jersey, Advocate is sponsoring a soda bread–baking competition. Bettina Fraser is excited—her bake-off idea was the one to get the green light! But when a town councilman acting as a judge keels over after sampling an entry, the party atmosphere dies just as quickly. Now it’s up to Bettina and her Knit and Nibble knitting club bestie, Pamela Paterson, to find the killer responsible for the murderous morsel.

When April Claus arrives in Cloudberry Bay, Oregon, to check on her flooded inn, her biggest worry is to keep everyone from realizing her three companions—Jingles, Juniper, and Butterbean—are elves. But soon enough she has more serious worries—it looks like her hapless caretaker Ernie has been storing stolen goods at the inn! Then one of Ernie’s shady pals is found dead, and the murder weapon turns up in a decorative loaf of soda bread at April’s craft fair booth. It’s up to April to uncover the killer before she spends St. Patrick’s Day in the county jail!

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Knitted Glasses Case

A knitted glasses case is a quick and easy project that makes a fun gift. It’s also practical. It can be used for reading glasses, driving glasses, sunglasses or whatever, and the double layer has a nice cushioning effect. It doesn’t take much yarn and is a great way to use odds and ends left from other projects.

Directions for the Knitted Glasses Case appear in Irish Soda Bread Murder at the end of my novella, An Irish Recipe for Murder.

This skein of ombre yarn was a garage-sale find. The green seemed perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day project, and ombre is always fun.

Here are the two rectangles completed: lining and outer layer. You can see that the lining, on the left, is slightly narrower.

The lining and the outer layer have been stitched together at the end that will be the opening for the glasses case.

The lining has been pinned to the outer layer, wrong sides together and lining on top. The lining will be anchored to the outer layer using sewing thread.

The rectangles–lining inside, outer layer outside–have been folded in half, ready to be stitched.

Hiding a tail: going, going, gone. In this case, the yarn ran out midway and the needle will need to be threaded again to finish the seam.

Here’s another version of the glasses case, with the lining and outer layer knitted in contrasting colors.


Irish Whiskey Bars

As Pamela explains to Bettina and the other Knit and Nibblers when she hosts the group at her house, she wanted to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, though belatedly, by serving an Irish-themed goody. Inspired by the popularity of treacle tarts in the British Isles and my fondness for classic lemon bars, I invented this hybrid, which pairs a shortbread crust with a treacle topping to which I added a bit of Irish whiskey. The alcohol in the whiskey evaporates in the baking, but a hint of the flavor remains. I add Irish whiskey to the sweetened whipped cream I top them with as well. That alcohol doesn’t evaporate and can be omitted if you wish.

The recipe for Irish Whiskey Bars appears in Irish Soda Bread Murder at the end of my novella, An Irish Recipe for Murder.

Key ingredients.

Dough for shortbread crust patted into baking pan.

Shortbread crust baked.

Topping added. (It will be soupy.)

Topping baked.

Four bars. (The recipe makes eight altogether.)

Looks yummy!


Peggy’s Irish Soda Bread

I’ve been making soda bread on St. Patrick’s Day for ages. My original recipe came from our local paper and was the classic version that calls for buttermilk. The buttermilk is acidic and the acid reacts with the baking soda and the soda in the baking powder to form the bubbles that act as a leavening agent. Buttermilk seems to be available only in quart-sized cartons and the recipe called for a cup, so I ended up with a lot of leftover buttermilk. One year I realized that I could get the same leavening effect with yogurt and I’ve been making my soda bread with yogurt ever since. I also discovered that kneading, which resulted in very sticky, dough-covered hands, is unnecessary.

The recipe for Peggy’s Irish Soda Bread appears in Irish Soda Bread Murder at the end of my novella, An Irish Recipe for Murder.

Here’s the dough in the mixing bowl. Looks sticky!

Here it is turned out onto the baking pan. I used a pizza pan (rather battered), but a square or rectangular cookie sheet is fine if that’s what you have.

Here it’s been patted into shape with floured hands.

The crisscross in the top is traditional, and it serves as a guide when the time comes to cut and serve the soda bread.

The soda bread bakes up to a nice golden brown.

Have a piece!

PeggyIrish Soda Bread Murder