Good morning! Today, I’m kicking off the blog tour for Murder on the Green by H.V Coombs. My thanks to Sabah Khan for the invitation to join and for providing the extract I’ll be sharing with you today. But first, here is what the book is all about.
Author : H.V. Coombs
Title : Murder on the Green
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : June 25, 2018
Midsomer Murders meets The Great British Bake Off in this foodie delight with murder at its heart.
Hampden Green has been a quiet for months, allowing Ben Hunter to concentrate on running The Old Forge Café. That is until celebrity chef Justin McCleish announces he is opening a pop-up restaurant at the local opera festival and wants Ben to help out.
Ben couldn’t prouder or more flattered, until he discovers he hasn’t been hired for his cooking abilities… Justin is being blackmailed and he needs help to crack the case. That is, until extortion turns deadly!
Now Ben must do whatever it takes to find the killer before they strike again…
I hadn’t been outside at seven p.m. on a Thursday in years, not with a full kitchen to run. But I knew that if you parked your car carefully – not by the side of the green which, as the many signs point out, is strictly forbidden – and strolled around, you’d think to yourself, ‘What a peaceful place.’ It’s what I had thought when I’d moved here.
The green, with its fenced-off play area, a couple of mothers exercising children before bed in the summer, and maybe a dog walker or two, seems like a nice place to raise a family or live a quiet life. Even the tasteful Parish information noticeboard gives details of Zumba classes and yoga in the village hall. Locals can be spotted sitting outside the local Three Bells pub having a quiet pint. And then there’s my restaurant, the Old Forge Café.
In the calm, tranquil dining room that Thursday night, there were about twenty-five people, enjoying good food (at reasonable prices!) efficiently and charmingly served by my young manager and her assistant waiter.
A peaceful place to eat in a peaceful Chiltern village. Until you get to the kitchen …
Heat from the stove, heat from the chargrill, heat from the hot plate, heat from the lights keeping the food warm on the pass, heat from the backs of the fridges, heat from the deep-fat fryers, heat and steam from the dishwasher …
‘Cheque on!’ I shouted to Francis over the kitchen fans. It was unbelievably hot. My jacket was sodden with perspiration. I wiped my forehead with the back of my sleeve.
‘Two hake, one fillet steak medium rare, peppercorn sauce … no starter …’
Francis’s large, red, sweaty face beamed at me from underneath his bandanna that he’d taken to wearing in the kitchen, and he turned away to get the vegetable accompaniments ready.
And not just heat to contend with, but noise too. The roar of the extractor fans, which in this small space were like a jet taking off, the hiss and bubble of the deep-fat fryer, the clang of the pans on the stove, the crash of fridges as we frantically opened and closed them, the crackle of the cheque machine as new orders came into the kitchen …
I added the cheque to the row of five that were already lined up in chronological order above the pass. An easy order to do.
I quickly finished plating the dish that I had just cooked, glanced at the clock, pulled a frying pan off the stove and balanced it on the side.
‘Service …’ Jess, my waitress, appeared, and I pointed at the pass. She was back from uni for the summer, thank God. Jess might be only twenty-two but she was by far the most mature person I knew, myself included. ‘Two lamb, one smoked aubergine feuilleté. Thank you, Jess.’
‘Thank you, Chef.’
Midsomer Murder meets The Great British Bake Off? If you’d like to find out more, Murder on the Green is available to buy!