BOOK REVIEW: Murder by Syllabub by Kathleen Delaney

Review By Ryder Islington, Author of ULTIMATE JUSTICE A Trey Fontaine Mystery

Syllabub? I’m from the South and I’d never heard of it. Turns out it’s sweet drink. The book, Murder By Syllabub? Far from sweet! This is a great cozy, with lots of red herrings, several suspects, and characters who can irritate you just by walking into the room…wait…onto the page. The book is so well written, the characters so well-rounded, that they have become friends, and a few have become like some of my relatives…they can be a real pain in the *&%.

Ms. Delaney has done an excellent job with this Ellen McKenzie mystery, starring a real estate broker, married to a small town sheriff, who goes with her aunt to help the older woman’s dear friend. Turns out there’s more trouble than Ellen or her aunt anticipated. Murder. Theft. Ghosts. Family secrets.

As five women try to figure out who did what, the danger and intrigue build. And yes, it is a cozy, not an international spy thriller, or a maniac-on-the-loose suspense. But for a cozy, it has its share of spying, maniacs (or at least borderline idiots) and suspense.

I’d recommend this book to lovers of the good old-fashioned mystery, as well as lovers of suspense, Southern history, and modern cozies with nosey characters who get into trouble minding business best left to the police. now I have to go back and read the first two books in the series, though I thoroughly enjoyed book three without the need to read the others. A first-rate mystery that kept me turning pages to see if I could outsmart the villan, which by the way, I didn’t.

Those who leave a comment regarding this post get their name entered for a chance to win a copy of Murder by Syllabub, and at the end of this post is a list of other sites where you can find articles, interviews, other reviews about this book, and more chances to win, so please take a few minutes to learn more about this Kathleen Delaney and her new book, Murder by Syllabub.

Murder by Syllabub

by Kathleen Delaney

on Tour September – October, 2013

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Camel Press
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 298
ISBN: 978-1-60381-957-2
Purchase Links:


A ghost in Colonial dress has been wreaking havoc at an old plantation house in Virginia. The house is owned by Elizabeth Smithwood, the best friend of Ellen McKenzie’s Aunt Mary. Mary is determined to fly to the rescue, and Ellen has no choice but to leave her real estate business and new husband to accompany her. Who else will keep the old girl out of trouble? When Ellen and Aunt Mary arrive, they find that Elizabeth’s “house” comprises three sprawling buildings containing all manner of secret entrances and passages, not to mention slave cabins. But who owns what and who owned whom? After Monty—the so-called ghost and stepson of Elizabeth’s dead husband—turns up dead in Elizabeth’s house, suspicion falls on her. Especially when the cause of death is a poisoned glass of syllabub taken from a batch of the sweet, creamy after-dinner drink sitting in Elizabeth’s refrigerator. Monty had enemies to spare. Why was he roaming the old house? What was he searching for? To find the truth, Ellen and her Aunt Mary will have to do much more than rummage through stacks of old crates; they will have to expose two hundred years of grudges and vendettas. The spirits they disturb are far deadlier than the one who brought them to Virginia. Murder by Syllabub is the fifth book of the Ellen McKenzie Mystery series.

Read an excerpt:

Mildred leaned back against the drain board, as if she needed it to prop her up. “Do you think he’ll be back?”
I set the dish on the drain board along with the other rinsed dishes. “You mean the murderer?”
Mildred nodded.
I’d wondered the same thing. “I think it was Monty prowling around upstairs, looking for something. Why he was dressed like that, I can’t imagine, but I don’t think he found whatever it was he was looking for. The only reason I can think of for both Monty and whoever slipped him the poison to be here is they were looking for the same thing. I don’t think they found it. So, yes, I think whoever it is will be back.”
Mildred nodded. “I think so, too. That crate was no accident.” She paused before going on, her voice filled with apprehension. “You know, McMann isn’t going to buy the mysterious prowler story. He’s going to take the easy way out. Elizabeth fed Monty the poison before she left for the airport and we’re protecting her.” She sighed deeply and turned to the dishwasher. “Might as well load this. Can you hand me that bowl?”
She opened the door, pulled out the top rack and froze. “How did that get in here?”
“What’s the matter? Oh no.”
We stood, frozen, staring at the immaculately clean crystal glass, sitting on the top rack in solitary splendor.
“That’s one of the old syllabub glasses.” Mildred turned around to look at the glasses on the hutch and returned her gaze to the dishwasher. She pulled the rack out all the way but the dishwasher was empty, except for the one glass.
I’d had a close enough look at the glass next to Monty to know this was from the same set. “It’s the missing syllabub glass.”
“Missing?” Mildred’s hand went out to touch it, but she quickly withdrew. “Where are the others? Cora Lee and I packed these away years ago. There were eight of them. How did this one get in here?”
“Noah didn’t tell you?”
“That boy only tells me what he wants me to know. What was it he should have told me?”
“The set of these glasses were on the sideboard in the dining room where Monty was killed. Six of them. One was beside Monty with the remains of a sticky drink in it. That made seven. One was missing. The one the murderer used.”
We stared at each other then back into the dishwasher. “That’s got to be the missing one, right there.” Mildred took a better look. “It’s clean. Someone’s trying to frame Elizabeth.”

Author Bio:

Kathleen Delaney has written four previous Ellen McKenzie Real Estate mysteries, but has never before transported her characters out of California. A number of years ago she visited Colonial Williamsburg and fell in love. Long fascinated with our country’s history, especially the formation years, she knew she wanted to set a story there. Another trip with her brother and sister-in-law solidified the idea that had been rolling around in her head but she needed more information. A phone call to the nice people at Colonial Williamsburg provided her with appointments to visit the kitchen at the Payton Randolph house, where she got her first lesson in hearth cooking and a meeting with the people who manage the almost extinct animal breeds the foundation is working to preserve. A number of books purchased at the wonderful bookstore at the visitor’s center gave her the additional information she needed and the story that was to become Murder by Syllabub came into being. Kathleen lived most of her life in California but now resides in Georgia. She is close to many historical sites, which she has eagerly visited, not only as research for this book but because the east is rich in monuments to the history of our country. Luckily, her grandchildren are more than willing to accompany her on their tours of exploration. You can find Kathleen on the Web at

Catch Up With the Author:

Tour Participants

1. 09/02 ~ Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads
2. 09/03 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Kaisy Daisys Corner
3. 09/04 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Savingfor6
4. 09/04 ~ Review @ The Book Connection
5. 09/06 ~ Review @ Vics Media Room
6. 09/07 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Caroles Book Corner
7. 09/09 ~ Interview @ Lauries Thoughts
8. 09/10 ~ Review @ Hotchpotch
9. 09/11 ~ Interview @ ?The Pen & Muse
10. 09/12 ~ Showcase @ I Read a Book Once
11. 09/13 ~ Showcase & Interview @ CMash Reads
12. 09/16 ~ Review @ Ginas Library
13. 09/17 ~ Review by Carol
14. 09/18 ~ Review @ Wall-to-wall books
15. 09/19 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Read 2 Review
16. 09/20 ~ Review & Giveaway @ bless their hearts mom
17. 09/23 ~ Review @ Buried Under Books
18. 09/24 ~ Guest Post @ Buried Under Books
19. 09/24 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Deal Sharing Aunt
20. 09/25 ~ Review @ Views from the Countryside
21. 09/26 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Mochas, Mysteries and More
22. 09/27 ~ Review @ Hezzi-Ds Books and Cooks
23. 09/30 ~ Review & Giveaway @ THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK
24. 10/01 ~ Review @ Brooke Blogs
25. 10/02 ~ Review @ Book Dilettante
26. 10/03 ~ Guest Post @ Omnimystery, A Family of Mystery Websites
27. 10/05 ~ Showcase @ The Stuff of Success
28. 10/07 ~ Review @ Mama Knows Books
29. 10/08 ~ Interview, Review & Giveaway @ Words by Webb
30. 10/09 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Deco My Heart
31. 10/10 ~ Review @ B&M Review Gazette
32. 10/11 ~ Review & Giveaway @ By The Book
33. 10/14 ~ Showcase @ Rose & Beps Blog
34. 10/15 ~ Interview & Review @ Melinas Book Blog
35. 10/16 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Marys Cup of Tea
36. 10/17 ~ Review @ WV Stitcher
37. 10/18 ~ Review & Giveaway @ Ryder Islingtons Blog
38. 10/21 ~ Review @ My Devotional Thoughts
39. 10/30 Showcase @ A Room Without Books is Empty


One comment on “BOOK REVIEW: Murder by Syllabub by Kathleen Delaney

  1. Lance Wright says:

    What an entertaining review! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

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