A Proper Tea Party
Since I’m celebrating the UK release of A Very Private Grave set in England, let’s do the family thing and celebrate with them by having a proper English tea party. And then we can spend the rest of the afternoon reading a ripping good murder mystery.
3 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup cold butter
1 ¼ cups milk (+ 2 tablespoons if needed to make soft dough)
1/3 cup currants or golden raisins
1 egg, beaten (for topping)
Sugar to sprinkle
Place flour, sugar and baking powder in blender, pulse to mix. With blender running, add butter in chunks until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour in milk and blend until dough forms a ball. Add raisins or currants if desired.
Turn out on floured surface and knead a few times. Pat into a thick disc, about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut into circles with biscuit cutter. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. Scones should be just light gold, not brown. They need to be still a bit moist in the center.
To serve, split in half with fork, butter, spread with strawberry jam or orange marmalade or lemon curd. Pile clotted cream or unsweetened whipped cream as high as possible.
Serve with properly brewed hot tea: Warm teapot. Pour boiling water over tea leaves (1 teaspoon leaves per person). Allow to steep 3-5 minutes. Pour into china cups through a strainer. Offer sugar and cold milk. Use a good black tea such as Twinings English Breakfast. Typhoo or Yorkshire Gold if you can get it. No fruity flavors. No bags. Who me? Fanatical? Never.
Felicity Howard, a young American woman studying for the Anglican priesthood at the College of the Transfiguration in Yorkshire, is devastated when she finds her beloved Fr. Dominic brutally murdered and Fr. Antony, her church history lecturer, soaked in his blood.
A Very Private Grave is a contemporary novel with a thoroughly modern heroine who must learn some ancient truths in order to solve the mystery and save her own life as she and Fr. Antony flee a murderer and follow clues that take them to out-of-the way sites in northern England and southern Scotland. The narrative skillfully mixes detection, intellectual puzzles, spiritual aspiration, romance, and the solving of clues ancient and modern.
“With a bludgeoned body in Chapter 1, and a pair of intrepid amateur sleuths, A Very Private Grave qualifies as a traditional mystery. But this is no mere formulaic whodunit: it is a Knickerbocker Glory of a thriller. At its centre is a sweeping, page-turning quest – in the steps of St Cuthbert – through the atmospherically-depicted North of England, served up with dollops of Church history and lashings of romance. In this novel, Donna Fletcher Crow has created her own niche within the genre of clerical mysteries.” – Kate Charles, author of Deep Waters
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 35 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning GLASTONBURY, The Novel of Christian England is her best-known work, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history. A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, book 1 in the Monastery Murders series is her reentry into publishing after a 10 year hiatus. THE SHADOW OF REALITY, a romantic intrigue will be published later this summer.
Donna and her husband have 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener and you can see pictures of her garden, watch the trailer for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, and read her international blog at www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com