(left to right) Eileen Watkins, Roberta Rogow, Kristina Rienzi, me, Linda Rawlins, and Debbie Buchanan
This past rain-soaked Saturday was a lovely day for a tea party at Sisters in Crime-Central Jersey. Besides the spring-inspired garden party outfits and the various teas and nibbles, the panel did a good job explaining what led each author to pursue a life of crime, at least fictionally. I learned how much mystery writers have in common — strange childhoods, the love of a good murder from a very young age, strange reading and television viewing habits, etc. We all had so much fun and were amazed by the culinary skills of the dessert volunteers.
Sue Ortiz (above) did a masterful job of baking mini-cupcakes from scratch and decorating each one piping (is that the term for frosting stuff using tips and pastry bags?) delicate flowers, a task that took several hours to accomplish (but with amazing results).
I even wrote a little poisoning hand-out for the event in honor of Another Man’s Poison:
Tea and No Sympathy (a layperson’s guide to poisoning)
by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa
Spring has sprung. Proper gents in seersucker blazers and ladies in pretty frocks gather for a garden tea, complete with dainties and polite conversation. For a would-be killer, the setting presents the perfect opportunity to do away with a disappointing loved one, an old foe, or a potential rival.
How, exactly, is this mission accomplished? With tainted tea and toxic biscuits, of course! Tea gives us an ideal medium to deliver the fatal blow. With its visual appeal and pleasant aroma (not to mention the enticing sweetness courtesy of a sugar bowl or a drop of honey), the irresistible deadliness of the brew is nearly undetectable. But what poison shall I use? And where can I get hold of a bit of the lethal stuff?
Good poisons for tea:
Cyanide – the almond scent of this nifty poison is a natural for coffee (and tea) creamers such as hazelnut, almond mocha crème, and vanilla nut. This lethal toxin can be concocted using old pesticides, or it can be ordered legally on the internet.
Arsenic – delivered as a sugar or a sugar substitute, sweetens the pot. It worked well in movies such as Leave Her to Heaven. For a lovely additive on cakes or cookies, this powdered sugar double is very effective. Remember Flowers in the Attic? This, too, is available on the net. Just remember to pay with a pre-paid credit card and have the deadly stuff delivered to a P.O. Box rented by using a fake identity (keep a sharp eye out for those pesky post office cameras).
Oleander – this pretty little gem (with alluring blooms and toxic leaves) can be steeped as an herbal tea, and oh what a kick it provides! It’s economical too. Just snip some flowers and leaves from your own or your neighbor’s garden. Sadly, in the book and the movie White Oleander, fingering the poisoner was simple for investigators to figure out.
Rest assured, Sisters in Crime – Central Jersey, is not in the habit of poisoning those who attend our afternoon teas. We do enjoy discussions about the best way, the proper way, to eliminate our enemies though.
And we love a good murder, but not enough to kill you!
So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the pics. Next post will hopefully be the exact release date of Another Man’s Poison. Meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend everybody.