HATTIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
I want to say a very big thank you to everyone who has read my new book, Hattie Goes To Hollywood – the reviews are fabulous and make all the hard work worthwhile.
Hattie seems to have hit a popular note as a private investigator and I am writing the next book in the stand-alone series, which will be titled Hattie & the Heirloom. Hattie Goes to Hollywood is available at the special publication day price of £1.99 / $2.99 for a short while only and you can download a copy here:
It is also available in paperback from all retail outlets and the audiobook is coming soon.
As an extra thank you to you all, for the next five days, you can download my book:
For several years I worked as an agent representing many celebrity chefs. These were wonderful times, being amongst talented and entertaining individuals, as I helped them carve out their media careers in the world of hospitality. The book is a fictitious novel that reflects that era of my life and I do hope you enjoy it. There’s an excerpt at the end of this newsletter.
On the subject of chefs and food, here is my favourite chocolate brownie recipe, this is rich and delicious and very easy to make:
CAROLINE’S BEST EVER CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
350g dark chocolate / 250g butter / 100g plain flour / 1 teaspoon baking powder / 3 eggs / 250g dark muscovado sugar
Heat oven to gas 3 or 170c / Grease and line a tin 22cm square (or a small ‘tray bake’ tin)
Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk eggs and sugar together until smooth, pale and fluffy. Fold chocolate and butter into mixture (use a metal spoon and ‘fold’ in a figure of 8 motion – this keeps as much air in the mix as possible, don’t ‘beat’ it.) Sieve flour and baking powder into mixture. Fold till blended then pour into the tin
Middle shelf of oven for 35 mins until surface is just set (will look slightly cracked on top). Remove and cool completely in the tin. Slice into squares. Store in a tin or container in the fridge.
Spring is in the air at last, after the wettest of winters. My garden has been awash for months and Fred (our Westie dog) almost needs wellies and a life jacket each time he goes out.
We had a wild weekend in Brighton (literally) during a Force Ten Storm called Storm Dennis. The seafront was deluged with huge waves and lashing wind and rain. Despite this, a visit to the Brighton Pavilion (a palace) was a real joy and a pleasure to wander around such opulent surroundings. Don’t miss it, if you ever find yourself in Brighton with time to spare.
There’s a competition on my Facebook page for a Boomerville Bertie, the travelling bear from The Best Boomerville Hotel. Why not enter and be in with a chance to win Bertie in his own travelling bag and a signed copy of The Best Boomerville Hotel.
Until next time,
Stay safe and keep well,
With lots of love
Coffee Tea The Chef & Me – Excerpt
The foyer of Hargreaves Promotions was deserted, and Hilary cursed as she swept past Lottie’s cluttered desk. The girl was nowhere to be seen and the switchboard lights flickered like traffic lights as they remained unanswered. A curious sound emanated from Bob’s office, the drone was low-pitched and sounded painful. Hilary peered through the frosted glass on the panel door then thrust the door open.
“Good grief, Bob, have you been tangoed?” Hilary stared at her assistant in his vivid orange outfit. He was all beads, bangles and Buddha since he’d come back from Tibet and Hilary’s patience was wearing thin. “Where in God’s name did you get that suit?” she asked. “You look like a space hopper.”
Bob ignored his boss. He kept his eyes closed and fondled the prayer beads. “Go away, Hilary,” he said quietly. “It’s my lunch break.”
“No, it isn’t,” Hilary said. “It’s three o’clock in the afternoon and this place is like the Marie Celeste. Where’s Lottie?”
Bob tucked himself under the worn leather top of his mahogany desk and folded his arms. “She’s gone to get a panini,” he replied, “we’ve never stopped all day and I shall faint if I don’t get some carbs.”
Hilary stared at a book on Bob’s desk, My Spiritual Journey by the Dalai Lama, as Bob leaned forward and stroked the cover protectively.
“Goolanga,” Hilary muttered, “aren’t you a little old for all this Hari Krishna nonsense?”
“Don’t knock something you know nothing about,” Bob said and gazed fondly at his hero’s image.
“I know that my office has ground to a complete standstill the moment I step out for a quick meeting.” Hilary tapped her elegant 1950s suede shoe. “Go and answer the phones please, then make us both an espresso. I want to hear all about the literary festival in the Cotswolds’.” She turned to leave but called over her shoulder, “When you’re quite sure that your chakras are where they should be and you’re ready to do some work.”
Bob screwed his eyes up and let out a hiss between clenched teeth as he watched Hilary retreat. He glanced at the clock on the wall. Hilary’s quick meeting had been the best part of four hours. Bob stroked his beads and breathed through his nose and filled his lungs with air, then exhaled slowly. He’d give Hilary five minutes then brace himself for her interrogation.
He closed his eyes again and thought about the weekend. It had been awash with literary luvvies who’d flocked to the annual festival. Hilary had insisted that he chaperone one of their clients, Prunella Gray, who was appearing at the festival to talk about her recently published, best-selling, autobiography. The festival was held in Chipping Hodbury; a quintessentially English town in the heart of affluent middle England, where pretty limestone buildings, adorned with flowering window boxes, lined the high street. Prunella had Hilary to thank for her success, but thanks was a swear word to Prunella Gray and she’d been ruthless in her climb to the top. With a rampant appetite for vodka and known as the Poison Dwarf in culinary circles, Prunella was, in Bob’s opinion, an absolute bitch. He’d seen chefs freeze like snared prey and jack-knife away to avoid her at restaurant openings and media events. Her sweet little face peered out from a heavy dark fringe and reminded Bob of Bette Davis in the film, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane.
But Baby Jane was alive and well and lived in a townhouse in Queen’s Park, London.