Tag Archives: Christine Wenger

My Musing ~ It’s a Wonderful Knife by Christine Wenger

It’s a Wonderful Knife by Christine Wenger is the fifth book in the “Comfort Food” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, February 2016

It's A Wonderful KnifeComfort food and murder are on the holiday menu in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Macaroni and Freeze . . .

All Trixie Matkowski wants for Christmas is a break—just not the broken leg she got after slipping on some ice. With Sandy Harbor alive in the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s the busiest time of the year at Trixie’s Silver Bullet Diner. There are millions of things to do, including cater the town’s annual Christmas pageant and community dinner with some delicious holiday comfort food.

But the festivities turn into a bit of a turkey after Liz Fellows, the director of the pageant, is found with Trixie’s butcher knife in her back. Now Trixie must help the police arrest the scary gentleman—or lady—guilty of the crime if she hopes to get herself off the naughty list.

This was such a fun and enjoyable book to read. Despite a broken leg, Trixie and ACB find themselves caught in solving another murder during the Christmas holiday. I liked the pacing and the flow of this mystery as it was easy to follow and the author took great care to present this tale that embodied the holiday spirit. All the supporting characters had a role that enhanced the telling of a mystery that kept me engaged from the beginning to the magical ending. This was one of the best book thus far and I was looking forward to more adventures with Trixie, ACB and Ty in the next book, but alas, this is the last book in this endearing series.

A Conversation with Trixie Matkowski by Christine Wenger

Silver Bullet
From The Desk Of Trixie Matkowski, Owner

It's A Wonderful Knife

Hello Everyone!

I’d like to tell you about my recent visit with my friend, Dru Ann. She asked me about my day as we sat in a booth in the back of my diner. It was the middle of January, and I was having a great day in spite of the blizzard raging outside. I always have a great day because I live in little Sandy Harbor where everyone knows everyone. Where else can I experience New York’s snow belt from a front row seat?

I’m here to tell you that the snow belt was alive and well and dumping snow as Dru Ann and I caught up on the comings and goings of our respective family and friends.

I told her about last Christmas and the fact that I was the Christmas pageant director at the Community Church after the original pageant director was found dead in the church’s kitchen. I had broken my leg falling down the stairs on Thanksgiving night, but luckily my friends and relatives helped me get through all my catering commitments along with my commitment to the Sandy Harbor jail, courtesy of Deputy Sheriff Ty Brisco.

As we looked out the window, Dru commented that the snow was falling so hard and thick, it seemed as though we were looking through a gauzy curtain. We could barely see the outline of my “Big House’, which is what I call my big farmhouse. I call it that not because it’s a correctional facility, but because it’s a big house! Even though Dru Ann lives in another part of New York State, she’s never experienced “real snow.”

Dru Ann was about to fly back home, and we were worried about the drive to the airport. However, in exchange for four cherry hand pies and a jumbo cup of coffee, Karen Melott, one of our two snowplow drivers, was going to drive Dru Ann to the regional airport in the town’s brand new Snowblaster Pro 567A, a hulking yellow plow and sand spreader that sounded like a jumbo jet.

Only in Sandy Harbor could you be driven to the airport with such class!

Dru Ann wondered about my lack of sleep. “Trixie, you seem so busy. Do you have enough help here?” I explained that my diner is open 24/7/365, and I’m the chef on the graveyard shift: midnight until eight in the morning. But during most of that week, I was working a double shift since Juanita, my day chef, went to Tucson, Arizona, to see her nephew’s new baby.

I always have events to plan, too. February, of course, is loaded with Valentine parties, and with this being a leap year-I have several Sadie Hawkins events scheduled. That’s when the ladies ask the guys out, and the residents of Sandy Harbor always love that. Dances, luncheons, bowling, blind dates-most all the clubs and organizations got into Sadie Hawkins invites and fundraisers-including church bingo!

I would be sponsoring an evening where the ladies ask the men out to dinner at the Silver Bullet, and the men have to wait on the women, eat with them, and then have to pay for the meals! All tips (and my profits) were going to the library for new books.

Karen came all too early with her snowplow to pick up Dru Ann, so we quickly hugged and vowed to keep in touch.

And now you-like Dru Ann-have been updated on the happenings in Sandy Harbor and a day in the life of Trixie Matkowski—me!

It’s nothing but work, work, work!

And I love every second of it!

Have a fabulous 2016!

~~ Trixie ~~


It’s A Wonderful Knife is the fifth book in the “Comfort Food” mystery series, published by Obsidian, February 2016.

All Trixie Matkowski wants for Christmas is a break—just not the broken leg she got after slipping on some ice. With Sandy Harbor alive in the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s the busiest time of the year at Trixie’s Silver Bullet Diner. There are millions of things to do, including cater the town’s annual Christmas pageant and community dinner with some delicious holiday comfort food.

But the festivities turn into a bit of a turkey after Liz Fellows, the director of the pageant, is found with Trixie’s butcher knife in her back. Now Trixie must help the police arrest the scary gentleman—or lady—guilty of the crime if she hopes to get herself off the naughty list.

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All comments are welcomed.

About the author
Christine Wenger is the national bestselling author of the Comfort Food Mysteries, including Macaroni and Freeze and Diners, Drive-ins, and Death. She has worked in the criminal justice field and is thrilled to bring the beauty of upstate New York to life in this series. Visit Christine at christinewenger.com, and on Facebook.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of It’s A Wonderful Knife. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 12, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

More From Trixie Matkowski by Christine Wenger

trixieGreetings from Sandy Harbor, New York!

Macaroni and FreezeMoving to New York and buying the Silver Bullet Diner (circa 1950, Open 24 hours, Air-conditioned, Breakfast Served All Day) from my Aunt Stella Matkowski, who retired to Boca Raton, was a big change for me. Things proved even more difficult when the restaurant inspector turned up dead in my kitchen! My beautiful diner became a ghost town overnight!

But after three years here, I have settled in and have had many adventures with my friend, muumuu- wearing, flip-flop flipping, Antoinette Chloe Brownelli, or ACB for short.

Our latest adventure has been documented by Sandy Harbor Historian, Christine Wenger. She’s all right, but sometimes she has trouble keeping up with the two of us. Chris did do an article called Macaroni And Freeze which told about our fundraiser for a new roof for the library last winter.

Since everyone does chili cook-offs, we decided to do a macaroni and cheese cook-off instead. We asked TV chef and cookbook author Priscilla Finch-Smythe to judge the contest, and she did. Unfortunately, someone didn’t like the result, and Cilla was found half-frozen in a snowbank, choked by her own scarf-the same scarf that I was holding.

So ACB and I got to work to find the real culprit.

In spite of the bad stuff, I’ve kept busy cooking and playing with recipes at the Silver Bullet, have almost stopped reeling from my divorce (almost!), made life-long friends, never laughed so much, and still find time to polka!

Life is good at the lake. Come visit!

~~ Trixie ~~


You can read more about Trixie and ACB in Macaroni and Freeze, the fourth book in the “Comfort Food” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first book in the series is Do Or Diner.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on July 20 for the chance to win a print copy of Macaroni and Freeze. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Three lucky commenters will be randomly selected. Winners will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
Chris has worked in the criminal justice field for more years than she cares to remember. It seemed to her that she was forever going to school while she was working full time, but in the end, she received a dual master’s degree in Probation and Parole Studies as well as Sociology from Fordham University.

Unfortunately, the knowledge she gained from way too many years in night school, didn’t prepare her for what she loves to do the most – write!

To date, Chris has written nine romances for Harlequin and four cozy mysteries for Penguin/Obsidian Books.

Do Or Diner was released from Obsidian Books on August 6, 2013, and it was their first “comfort food” mystery! Her second cozy mystery is A Second Helping Of Murder, and was released in 2014. A third, Diners, Drive-Ins And Death came out in January of 2015. Macaroni And Freeze came out July 7, 2015 followed by It’s A Wonderful Knife, a Christmas story, in February of 2016. All these cozy mysteries follow the adventures of Trixie Matkowski, a diner owner in small town Sandy Harbor on the shore of Lake Ontario.

A Harlequin Special Edition romance, The Rancher’s Surprise Son, will be out in September of 2015.

For fun, Chris enjoys watching professional bull riding and rodeo with her favorite cowboy, her husband Jim. They dress in their cowboy regalia (she claims to look horrible in a cowboy hat!) and have traveled to events in Las Vegas, Florida, Connecticut, and other states.

Trixie Matkowski’s Nightly Letter by Christine Wenger

silver
Diners Drive-ins and DeathWinter, 2015

My friend, Dru, has asked me to tell you about my typical day….but as my friend, Christine Wenger, will tell you, I never have typical days. For instance, I always work the graveyard shift. The people who come into my Silver Bullet Diner on my shift are an interesting bunch.

I call them the Night Owls-original, huh?

Some doze in the booths, some are wired and want to socialize, some just sit and eat in silence. When I get a chance, I grab a coffee at the counter and talk. Lately, the talk has been about snow.

Since Sandy Harbor is on the shores of Lake Ontario, the weather is extreme. We laugh about the polar vortex that has landed here and won’t thaw until mid-August. The plow drivers stop by for the daily special, lots of black coffee and a thermos to go.

Sandy Harbor Deputy Sheriff Ty Brisco always stops by. I have to say that I always look for him. I enjoy his company, and we’ve spent a lot of time solving murders. Ty never fails to tell me to butt out-that he’s the professional investigator-but Ty doesn’t move fast enough for me, so I jump in. He goes by the book, even though he might skip a page now and then. I don’t have any such rules to follow.

I poured him a cup of coffee. “What’s up Ty? You look exhausted.”

He took a long drink. “A body was found on the side of Route 3. Looks like he was shot in the back and tossed into the snowbank. But before you have one of your crazy ideas to help me, forget it.”

Um…uh…sorry, Dru. Sorry, Chris. Sorry dear readers, I gotta go!
trixie


You can read more about Trixie in Diners, Drive-Ins and Death, the third book in the “Comfort Food” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first book in the series is Do or Diner.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on January 20 for the chance to win a copy of DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DEATH. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Meet the author
I have worked in the criminal justice field for more years than I care to remember. It seems like I was forever Cwengergoing to school while I was working full time, but in the end, I received a dual master’s degree in Probation and Parole Studies and Sociology from Fordham University. Unfortunately, the knowledge gained from way too many years in night school, didn’t prepare me for what I love to do the most – write! To date, I’ve written nine romances for Harlequin and three cozy mysteries for Penguin Obsidian Books. This trilogy of books all feature the same characters, same small town, and are set around a 1950’s diner.

For fun, I enjoy watching professional bull riding and rodeo with my favorite cowboy, my husband Jim. We put on our cowboy regalia (I look horrible in a cowboy hat!) and have traveled to events in Las Vegas, Florida, Connecticut, and other states.

Visit Christine at her website or on Facebook.

My Musing ~ Diners, Drive-Ins, and Death by Christine Wenger

Diners Drive-ins and DeathDiners, Drive-Ins, and Death by Christine Wenger is the third book in the “Comfort Food” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, January 2015

For Sandy Harbor’s tastiest comfort food, venture to the Silver Bullet Diner. But head next door to the new drive-in theater if you have an appetite for murder. . .

Trixie Matkowski has a tall order to fill this fall. Aside from dishing out delicious fare at the Silver Bullet during peak fishing season, she’s helping her friend—Antoinette Chloe Brown, or ACB for short—open a drive-in movie theater in the vacant lot beside her diner. It’s just the thing to take ACB’s mind off Nick, her missing biker beau.

But their plans are fried after Nick’s body is discovered during the groundbreaking for the drive-in. And when the police connect the murder weapon to ACB, she becomes the prime suspect in eighty-sixing Nick. With the fate of her innocent friend and her business on the line, Trixie must make the guilty party pay up before someone else gets stiffed. . .

Another great visit to Sandy Harbor where once again Trixie busyness puts her on a search for a killer. I enjoyed how the mystery was set up with a nice pace that was easy to follow and kept me engaged in figuring out who the killer was, especially with those twists and turns the author peppered this whodunit with. Boasting a quirky cast of characters, good dialogue and a comfortable atmosphere, I look forward to the next book in this pleasantly charming series.

From Office of Trixie Matkowski by Christine Wenger

trixie

A second helping of murderGreetings from Sandy Harbor, New York!

It’s summer as I write this note to you and the tourist season is in full swing! I thought that things would calm down after my first several months here, but I’m busier than ever and so is my staff.

Moving to New York and buying the Silver Bullet Diner (circa 1950, Open 24 hours, Air-conditioned, Breakfast Served All Day) from my Aunt Stella Matkowski , who retired to Boca Raton, was a big change for me. Things proved even more difficult when the restaurant inspector turned up dead in my kitchen! My beautiful diner became a ghost town overnight!

With the help of my neighbor, Deputy Sheriff Ty Brisco, a cowboy transplant from Houston, Texas, I got to the bottom of what had happened to the inspector. My friend, Christine Wenger, who loves to write and fancies herself the historian of Sandy Harbor, documented that horrible part of my life in Do or Diner (Obsidian Books, August 2013). She said that fiction was stranger than the truth, so the story just had to be told.

And Chris just finished recording the details of two more murders which occurred in town about twenty years apart in A SECOND HELPING OF MURDER (Obsidian Books, April 2014). The scene I discovered in Cottage Number Eight will be forever etched in my mind. The lovely citizens of Sandy Harbor are starting to wonder about me!

In spite of the bad stuff, I’ve kept busy cooking and playing with recipes at the Silver Bullet, have almost stopped reeling from my divorce (almost!), made life-long friends, never laughed so much, and still find time to polka!
Life is good at the lake. Come visit!

~~ Trixie ~~


You can read more about Trixie in A Second Helping of Murder, the second book in the “Comfort Food” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first book in the series is Do or Diner. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY
Comment on this post by 6pm EST on April 18, and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of A SECOND HELPING OF MURDER. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
I have worked in the criminal justice field for more years than I care to remember. It seems like I was forever Cwengergoing to school while I was working full time, but in the end, I received a dual master’s degree in Probation and Parole Studies and Sociology from Fordham University. Unfortunately, the knowledge gained from way too many years in night school, didn’t prepare me for what I love to do the most – write! To date, I’ve written nine romances for Harlequin and “almost” three cozy mysteries for Penguin Obsidian Books.

My first cozy mystery, Do or Diner, was released from Obsidian Books in August 2013, and was their first “comfort food” mystery! My second cozy mystery will be called A SECOND HELPING OF MURDER, and was released on April 1, 2014. A third is completed and will be called Diners, Drive-Ins and Death (release date unknown). This trilogy of books all feature the same characters, same small town, and are set around a 1950’s diner.

For fun, I enjoy watching professional bull riding and rodeo with my favorite cowboy, my husband Jim. We put on our cowboy regalia (I look horrible in a cowboy hat!) and have traveled to events in Las Vegas, Florida, Connecticut, and other states.


Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for book giveaways, contests, posting about discounted books and some of my reading musings.

My Musing ~ A Second Helping of Murder by Christine Wenger

A second helping of murderA Second Helping of Murder by Christine Wenger is the second book in the “Comfort Food” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, April 2014

Trixie Matkowski is warming up to running her family’s diner in the small town of Sandy Harbor in upstate New York. But the only thing more demanding than serving up piping-hot comfort food twenty-four hours a day is getting to the bottom of a double homicide.

Trixie fondly remembers summers as a child spent visiting the shores of Lake Ontario. Not much has changed—there are still vinyl booths at the Silver Bullet Diner, families eating home-cooked comfort food, and days of swimming in the lake.

But before Trixie can say “Order’s up,” someone’s summer is abruptly cut short. One of the cottage residents is found dead, and Trixie suspects the crime might be linked to an unsolved disappearance in the picturesque town’s past.

As Trixie works with Deputy Ty Brisco to solve both mysteries, their shocking discoveries will shake up the small town. And when word gets out that she’s on the case, Trixie’s in trouble—after all, the murderer won’t spare her life just because she makes a killer corned beef sandwich.

This very enjoyable whodunit was easy to follow with a delightfully charming cast of characters; engaging conversations and the comfort feeling of easy dining with family and friends. The mystery was good and hard to put down, as I had to know who was behind the murder. The author did a great job in keeping the suspense alive with plenty of suspects and it was fun narrowing down the list and waiting for the author to reveal if my choice was correct. A great read and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s cooking in the next book with Trixie and her friends.

My Musing ~ Do or Diner by Christine Wenger

DO OR DINERDo or Diner by Christine Wenger is the first book in the new “Comfort Food” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, August 2013

When Trixie Matkowski agrees to take over her aunt’s diner, she pictures lakeside views and delicious comfort food in the small town where she spent summers as a child. But the sweet scene turns sour when someone puts murder on the menu….

Trixie is in need of a fresh start away from her cheating ex-husband, but she may be biting off more than she can chew when she moves to upstate New York to run her family’s famed Silver Bullet Diner. Not only is she caught off guard by the small town’s resident heartthrob, Deputy Ty Brisco, but her first health inspection turns into a nightmare…when the inspector keels over in his Blue Plate Special.

It seems someone made a deadly addition to an old family recipe, and Trixie is determined to find out whodunit. But between serving up orders and sniffing out clues, she’d better watch her back—or her next meal might be her last.

Trixie buys her aunt’s business and home lock, stock and barrel, ready to move on with her new life and all is looking good until the health inspector dies after eating one of the diner’s meal. Knowing everyone is on the line, Trixie with a little help from the local deputy, begins her own investigation to find a killer before she is ground meat.

This was a good read that I could not put down. The author did a good job in keeping the mystery fresh with a likable cast, a comfortable atmosphere, great scenery, good conversation and a lighthearted whodunit that grabbed my attention from beginning to end. I like Trixie and her determination to keep up with what her aunt and uncle started with the diner and the other properties that she now owes. With handsome Ty protecting the town, and her new-found friends and customer helping keep the diner afloat, I look forward to more adventures with Trixie and her friends in this appetizingly appealing new series. Bonus recipes are included to whet your appetite.

Blog Tour With Trixie Matkowski by Christine Wenger

DO OR DINEROWNER OF THE SILVER BULLET DINER AND SANDY HARBOR HOUSEKEEPING COTTAGES, SANDY HARBOR, NY

I work the graveyard shift at my Silver Bullet Diner (open 24 hours, daily specials, air conditioned). My shift is midnight to eight in the morning. I’m a cook, although I prefer to be called a chef even though I’ve had no “professional” training. I trained at the side of my Uncle Porky and Aunt Stella Matkowski, the original owners of the diner.

After Uncle Porky died, Aunt Stella decided to retire. That’s where I came in. It was a perfect time in my life to move from Philly to small town Sandy Harbor, New York, and start over. I bought everything (the Silver Bullet, twelve housekeeping cottages and a big Victorian) from Aunt Stella on the “niece, easy payment plan” (NEPP).

Sometimes, I don’t go to sleep after my shift, but sometimes I do. It all depends where and when I’m needed. Most of the time, I feel like a zombie without sleep, but I love to cook diner food-comfort food.

Within shouting distance of the Silver Bullet, is the Victorian, painted white with green shutters that I call the “Big House”. As I mentioned, on the shore of Lake Ontario, are twelve housekeeping cottages that I own (also white with green shutters). It looks like the “Big House” had a litter!

The winters are harsh, so the graveyard patrons are the snowplow drivers, the cops, and an assortment of night owls. As soon as the lake thaws, the fishermen arrive. In the spring and summer, I’ll get families who have vacationed at the cottages year after year, just like my family and I did. I counted down the days to a summer at Cottage Four starting in September when school started!

I’m still feeling my way. As soon as Aunt Stella handed me the massive amount of keys and we figured out a payment plan on a Silver Bullet placemat, she headed for a cruise with her lady friends and bought a condo in Boca.

Talk about a fish out of water! I was a tour guide in Philly.

I love my staff, and they have been a great help. My pal, Juanita Holgado, is the day cook. Cindy helps her and makes the best cinnamon buns. Clyde and Max are my handymen, and are old U.S. Army pals of Uncle Porky. Waitresses are Chelsea, Bettylou and several others in varying shifts.

I try to make sure that everything is in ship shape: the grounds, the cottages, the diner, the Big House. Sometimes, I have to scout out Clyde and Max’s hiding spots, to get them working, but I’ve become a pro at it. If I could develop a decent spreadsheet, I could computerize my orders for food, but my notebook with all my innumerable lists will have to do.

Collecting recipes from family and friends is my hobby. I experiment with their various recipes at the diner. Someday, I’m going to publish a cookbook-RECIPES FROM THE SILVER BULLET DINER.

Oh sure, in my spare time!

Right now, I’m in the process of bringing back the Saturday night Dancefest on the grounds. Uncle Porky started the Dancefest back in 1950, and Aunt Stella stopped them when he became ill. But every Saturday in the summer, people would flock to the deck behind the Silver Bullet and the dance floor on the lawn and spend the night dancing, eating, and singing around a big bonfire. I’ve got my menu planned, booked the band, hung the posters, and it’s going to be a great time. Fingers crossed that there will be a big turnout.

And then there’s Deputy Sheriff Ty Brisco a transplant from Houston. He is six-foot-something-and-then-some when he wears his cowboy hat. Then there’s his drawl. Yum. Ty’s a Silver Bullet regular along with the two other members of the Sandy Harbor Sheriff’s Department, and he’s sweet, and kind, and smart and loves dogs and he’s, well, absolutely perfect.

But I’m not looking, really I’m not. I still haven’t recovered from my divorce from Deputy Doug.

No more cops for me.

So, that’s about it. My day seems totally boring, but it’s not. I keep busy, and I love it. I live on a beautiful piece of land on one of the Great Lakes. I just have to remember to take time to sit in an Adirondack chair and let the lapping waves relax me. Nice.

If you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop in for the daily special at the Silver Bullet. I make a delicious meatloaf. Or maybe mac and cheese is for you. Grilled cheese and tomato soup? Spaghetti and meatballs? Baked chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy?

And then there’s dessert….

And if you’re looking for a nice vacation, think of the Sandy Harbor Housekeeping Cottages.

We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and even holidays because everyone needs a place to go!

And remember: What happens at the lake, stays at the lake!
All my best wishes to you and yours,
Trixie Matkowski

do-or-diner-tourClick HERE for more chances to win a copy of “Do or Diner” while participating in Christina’s blog tour.


Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of DO OR DINER to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends August 12; US entries only per publisher’s request.


Meet the author
I have worked in the criminal justice field for more years than I care to remember. It seems like I was forever going to school while I was working full time, but in the end, I received a dual master’s degree in Probation and Parole Studies and Sociology from Fordham University. Unfortunately, the knowledge gained from way too many years in night school, didn’t prepare me for what I love to do the most – write!

To date, I’ve written nine romances for Harlequin and one cozy mystery-my first!-for Obsidian Books.

DO OR DINER will be released from Obsidian Books on August 6, 2013, and it’s their first “comfort food” mystery! My second cozy mystery will be called A Second Helping Of Murder, and will be released in 2014. A third is yet untitled and unscheduled.

For fun, I enjoy watching professional bull riding and rodeo with my favorite cowboy, my husband Jim. We put on our cowboy regalia (I look horrible in a cowboy hat!) and have traveled to events in Las Vegas, Florida, Connecticut, and other states.

You can visit Christine at her website and on Facebook.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.