Callie Costas can’t believe she is finally traveling to Greece with her significant other, Detective Ian Sands. However, this isn’t your average voyage: Callie’s father has invited a slew of colorful family members to his beautiful childhood village to celebrate his recent marriage. Callie is especially delighted to be reunited with her Greek “Aunt Sweetie” Glykeria.
The Costas family’s Greek getaway turns to Greek tragedy when murder turns up on the menu at the seaside restaurant of her father’s friend, Dimitrios. A restaurant employee has been killed and Dimitrios is a prime suspect.
With a hodge-podge group of tourists and villagers to round out the suspect list, can Callie help her father clear his friend’s name, before the killer skewers her?
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A New Release: Callie’s Kitchen Goes to Greece!
When I decided to set my latest Callie’s Kitchen Mystery, SLAYED BY SOULAKI, in Greece, it felt natural for the characters to take this exotic trip. For one thing, I had already set the scene in my previous book, The Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries Cookbook, which includes new scenes including the marriage of Callie’s father who has long been widowed. Spoiler alert: Callie’s father announces a family trip to his childhood village in celebration of his recent wedding. Callie and her significant other, Detective Ian Sands, had been discussing the possibility of a trip together. However, I’m not sure they had planned on Callie’s family joining them! Still, the trip is a go, and everyone is excited to visit the homeland of Callie’s father, George.
For those of you familiar with the series, the setting in my latest book, Slayed By Souvlaki, also provides a wonderful way to reconnect Callie and her crew with a beloved character, Glykeria, aka “Aunt Sweetie.” Adventurous Aunt Sweetie is George’s very removed cousin but Callie refers to as her “aunt” in the complicated ways of large but close Greek families. Sweetie is there to welcome the Costas family with open arms and of course, she becomes involved in the murder mystery. Aunt Sweetie first appeared in the second Callie’s Kitchen Mystery, Spiced and Iced, where she and Callie’s Grandma Viv proved to be quite the sleuthing duo!
Instead of referring to an actual Greek island, I set the Slayed By Souvlaki on a fictional island called “Kalos.” Kalos is a combination of several locations in the beautiful Cyclades Islands. The Cyclades include some iconic destinations including Santorini, Milos, and Paros. I envisioned a stunning backdrop for the drama that occurs in my cozy mystery, and through description and plot lines, I want readers to feel like they are right there with Callie every step of the way.
As with Crystal Bay, Wisconsin, the setting of Callie’s Kitchen, I chose to be inspired by a location and creating a fictional place based in reality. This allows a lot more creative freedom and hopefully, more fun for the reader.
Kalos vs. Crystal Bay
When I brought my cozy mystery cast to the exotic Greek Isles, I still wanted to capture that “cozy” feeling that you get in Crystal Bay. Luckily, small Greek islands have many similarities to the waterfront Wisconsin community in the Callie’s Kitchen Mysteries: tourism, a beautiful view, lots of restaurants, small businesses (where Callie does some major sleuthing) and specific local customs that add to the flavor of the story. Of course, I made sure there was no shortage of drama and action. Relaxation does not come easily to Callie and just like at home, she takes on more than she bargained for, but always for a worthy cause!
The island of Kalos in Slayed By Souvlaki also features an oceanside fishing village, mountains, and ancient ruins – obviously not things you will find in Callie’s hometown of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. I hope readers enjoy the new, exotic locations, along with the elements that are more familiar from previous books.
Finally, the Food!
Any Callie’s Kitchen Mystery would not be complete without delicious food mentions, and recipes included at the end of the story. As you can imagine, Callie and her family experience some tempting foods, including the souvlaki in the title (aka shish kebab), gorgeous Greek pastries featuring crispy, buttery phyllo dough, and many other culinary delights.
One of my favorite elements in Slayed By Souvlaki is the inclusion of a traditional Greek sweet shop. These are favorite spots to visit after a dinner in Greece because many Greek restaurants do not include a dessert menu. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, you need to visit one of these charming spots where you can have your fill of Greek-style pastries, Greek rice pudding, European gelato, and even fancy French-style treats. Of course, people indulge throughout the day as well.
SLAYED BY SOUVLAKI has an emphasis on traditional Greek cuisine, and the recipes at the end are some of my (and my family’s) favorites. I hope you enjoy them too!
If you are already a reader of my books, thanks so much for joining me on this journey! If you are new to my series, I hope you will give them a look! You can start at any book, as they are all standalones. Personally, I like to start at the beginning. If that’s you, here’s the order of the series:
ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK
SPICED AND ICED
SECRETS AND PIES
A STEW TO A KILLTHE CALLIE’S KITCHEN MYSTERIES COOKBOOK
SLAYED BY SOUVLAKI
You can find my books in e-book and paperback on Amazon, and all the books in the series are free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.
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