To any authors/publishers/ tour companies that are looking for the reviews that I signed up for please know this is very hard to do. I will be stopping reviews temporarily. My husband passed away February 1st and my new normal is a bit scary right now and I am unable to concentrate on a book to do justice to the book and authors. I will still do spotlight posts if you wish it is just the reviews at this time. I apologize for this, but it isn't fair to you if I signed up to do a review and haven't been able to because I can't concentrate on any books. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. I appreciate all of you. Kathleen Kelly April 2nd 2024

06 May 2024

A Match Made in Murder (The Clover City Files) by Barbara Howard Virtual Book Tour! Includes Recipe for Miniature Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecakes with Edible Flowers!

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Description automatically generatedAbout A Match Made in Murder

A Match Made in Murder (The Clover City Files)

Cozy Mystery

3rd in Series


Fictional small town, Clover City (Mid-West, USA)

Publisher ‏

‎ Independently Published (February 14, 2024)

Paperback ‏ ‎

134 pages

ISBN-13 ‏

‎ 979-8224039555

Digital ASIN ‏


"In the heart of Clover City, love is a grand affair orchestrated by matchmaker extraordinaire, Fiona Murphy. But this Valentine's Day, her twelve perfect weddings become a chilling mystery. As the Boat House restaurant transforms from a haven of romance to a crime scene, 'A Match Made in Murder' unveils a tale where love and betrayal intermingle, and uncovering the truth becomes the ultimate act of love."

In the heart of the charming town of Clover City, matchmaker extraordinaire, Fiona Murphy, is renowned for orchestrating love stories that culminate in dreamy weddings. This Valentine's Day, she's outdone herself by arranging twelve weddings in a grand celebration at the upscale Boat House restaurant, where love is on the menu and bliss is in the air.

Among the attendees is Fiona’s efficient and loyal assistant, eager to ensure everything runs smoothly. There's also an unexpected guest—Fiona’s charismatic yet enigmatic ex-husband, whose presence adds a layer of complexity to the festivities.

However, as the festivities kick off, a hushed realization sweeps through the gathering—someone is conspicuously absent. The joyous occasion takes a dark turn when a lifeless body is discovered, casting a shadow over the day meant for love and celebration. Suddenly, the Boat House transforms from a haven of romance to a crime scene, and everyone present becomes a suspect.

With the victim silenced forever, secrets, grudges, and long-buried emotions rise to the surface. The task of unraveling the twisted threads of this romantic tragedy falls into the hands of the local patrons, as the Boat House becomes a stage for a mystery where the appetizer is suspicion, the main course is intrigue, and the dessert is justice.


The afternoon sun cast a cool, silvery light over Briarwood College campus as Amira approached the townhouse of her friend, the esteemed Claire Stewart. The air was crisp, and a faint hint of snow lingered in the breeze. The wrought-iron gate leading to Claire's side garden creaked open with a soft protest as Amira ventured inside. Her garden, normally a burst of colors in spring, lay dormant under the winter chill, patiently awaiting the touch of warmer days. Amira meandered along the frost-kissed path, her footsteps leaving faint imprints on the icy ground. 

As the frigid January wind nipped at her heels, Amira approached the French doors at the side of the townhouse that stood ajar, welcoming her into the warmth within. Shaking off the chill, she carefully unwound her coat, revealing a stylish denim ensemble that blended vintage charm with contemporary flair. In the foyer adorned with antique furnishings, Amira caught her reflection in an ornate mirror and took a moment to appraise herself before addressing her host. Her complexion, a warm almond hue, and long, flowing locs cascaded like silken strands, each twist gathered into a silk tie, and expressive eyes framed by elegant lashes.

Upon entering the living room, the scent of antique wood and the gentle warmth of a crackling fireplace comforted her. Claire was seated in a plush armchair, engrossed in a news report unfolding on the television.

"Ah, Amira, my dear. Right on time," Claire greeted with a smile, gesturing for her to take a seat. She was adorned in a finely tailored gray knit sweater paired with stylish leggings and black velvet loafers, her silver hair cascading in waves along her slender shoulders.

 The news anchor's voice filled the room as the television screen displayed a scene of romance amidst the winter landscape. 

"Good afternoon, Clover City. In a heartwarming twist, twelve couples have decided to embark on the journey of a lifetime—marrying on the most romantic day of the year, Valentine's Day."

Amira settled into a chair, drawn into the story on the screen. The camera panned to the entrance to City Hall decorated with red cupid banners, evergreen wreaths and twinkling white lights. The couples described their first dates and now dream of exchanging vows on the special day. The Justice of the Peace, his breath visible in the winter air, spoke about the love and commitment shared by each couple.

A tender warmth lit up Claire's eyes. "Valentine's Day weddings, how enchanting! Love seems to blossom even in the coldest of months."

Amira nodded, captivated by the vision of the twelve happy couples before them. The news report continued, sharing snippets of the couples' stories and the joyous anticipation of their Valentine's Day nuptials.

"Oh no, turn it off." Claire rose, her eyes ablaze and jaw tight.

Amira swiftly found the remote and muted the sound. "What's wrong?" She approached her friend and gently placed her hand on her shoulder.

"That–that woman." Claire pointed to the screen, then turned her face away.

Amira walked over to the television and adjusted the volume just above a whisper. She wanted to understand the root of the unsettling reaction. The camera angle widened as the reporter continued.

 "The atmosphere in Clover City has been electrified with anticipation as the renowned matchmaker, Fiona Murphy, with her usual flamboyant style prepares to make a grand announcement. What can it be? Let's listen in."

"No, let's not." Claire said and stormed off into the kitchen.

Amira walked closer to get a full view as the camera panned away from the reporter. Draped in a flowing wool cape of vibrant colors, Fiona faced the cameras with an aura of self-assurance and charm. The eccentric touch of her emerald-green hair only heightened the sense of whimsy that surrounded her.

"Good afternoon, Clover City! I'm thrilled to share a bit of love and magic with all of you," Fiona declared, her words as effervescent as her personality. "Twelve wonderful couples who found their perfect match through my expertise are about to embark on the journey of a lifetime—marriage! And where else to celebrate such an occasion than the exquisite ambiance of the Boat House, that fabulous restaurant along the Crimson Collective boardwalk."

The camera zoomed in on Fiona's infectious smile as she continued to unveil the details of the grand Valentine's Day event.

"The Boat House?" Claire said as she rushed back and stood in front of the television. "Never. Dakota would never allow it."

"Our charming couples will be taking their vows surrounded by the beauty of love and the delectable delights crafted by the talented, world-renowned Chef Dakota Richardson," Fiona announced, the length of her cape swaying with every word.

"Lies." Claire huffed.

As the news reporter posed questions about the unique event, her responses were laced with humor and a touch of mystery. 

"Miss Fiona, our viewers are dying to know. What's the big announcement you've been teasing? Is it about the weddings happening on Valentine's Day?"

Fiona, with a mischievous smile playing on her lips, deftly redirected the conversation. "Ah, Diane, the joy of love is a beautiful thing, and my clients' weddings on Valentine's Day are indeed a cause for celebration. However, I'm afraid you'll have to wait for the grand event itself to unveil the big news."

"Come on! A little hint, perhaps? The town is buzzing with excitement, and we're all curious."

Fiona chuckled, her eyes gleaming with a hint of mischief. "I understand the intrigue, Diane, but patience is a virtue. Rest assured, the big announcement will be worth the wait. All in due time."

The news reporter tried a different approach. "Is it related to your matchmaking success? Are there more weddings in the future? A new matchmaking trend, maybe?"

Fiona leaned back, her gaze thoughtful. "The world of love is full of surprises, Diane. My focus has always been on bringing joy to my clients. As for the big reveal, you'll just have to attend the wedding reception on Valentine's Day to witness the magic."

The reporter, slightly frustrated by Fiona's artful evasion, reluctantly accepted the challenge. "Fine. We'll be there on Valentine's Day, waiting for the big announcement. But you have to promise to give us the scoop when the time comes!"

Fiona, with a gracious nod, assured her, "You'll be among the first to know, my dear. Until then, let the anticipation build to crescendo like the suspenseful notes of a melody waiting to be unveiled."

"Ugh, she's disgusting." Claire took the remote from Amira's hand, pressed the power off button, and tossed it across the room. "Everywhere you turn lately, there she is with that ridiculous green hair." She walked over to a side table and picked up a newspaper. "See here." She said and slapped the paper back on the table.

Amira looked at the front-page feature of Fiona Murphy, the owner of Sparkz Matchmaking Agency. With her distinctive hair slicked back on one side, ruby-red lipstick outlined a radiant smile that adorned her face as she struck a pose in front of her upscale brownstone home office in the posh Garden Vista neighborhood. Although Fiona and Claire were the same age, it was hard for Amira to imagine them ever interacting with each other. They were polar opposites in their taste for fashion and lifestyle. She examined the photo more closely, noting the elongated earlobe, a tale-tale sign of a recent face lift. Then she noticed something else.

"Miss Claire, since when did you start reading the Crimson Call-Out?"

"Oh, that." Claire said, a tiny flutter in her voice. "I get it on occasion for the crossword."

Amira walked over and confronted her. "The Call-Out doesn't have a crossword. It's a gossip paper and you know it." She giggled.

"Oh, is it?" Claire shrugged, walked back into the kitchen, and said over her shoulder. "Tea?"

Amira glanced over the headlines, tucked the paper under her arm, and joined Claire in the kitchen.

"Amira, my dear, it's always a pleasure to have you here. Would you care for a cup of Darjeeling?" Claire said with a kind smile, gesturing towards a set of delicate porcelain teacups on a nearby table. "Let's forget about that awful woman and enjoy our time together." Claire said. Her eyes seemed to look through her young guest, sharp and discerning.

Amira watched with gratitude for the respite as Claire's delicate hands, adorned in heirloom jewelry, added the aromatic leaves into the most exquisite china teapot. "That sounds wonderful, thank you," Amira said, took a seat and stashed the paper out of sight. 

Claire poured the tea with precision, the amber liquid swirling in tiny hypnotic waves. As they settled into their places, the conversation turned to the upcoming holiday.

"Valentine's Day always brings a touch of romance, doesn't it?" Claire said, a twinkle in her eye. "Do you have any special plans, my dear?"

Amira's gaze drifted towards the window, where the winter sun cast a silver hue on the snow-covered trees and thought of the plans for Darius' next business trip to Lake Tahoe, Nevada. "Not this year, but I've always dreamed of having someone special to share it with. You know, a romantic dinner, maybe cuddled up under a blanket on a carriage ride under the stars..."

Claire nodded. "Ah, the allure of love. It's a beautiful thing. Have you ever thought about what kind of love story you'd like to have? And with whom?"

Amira's eyes shifted into a dreamy gaze. "I imagine it would be something out of a classic novel—a slow-burning romance, filled with laughter, sharing our dreams, and kisses that take my breath away." She let out a long, dramatic sigh and giggled.

Claire gave a knowing look. "Your desire sounds lovely. But it doesn't sound like something Darius would entertain." Her teacup poised an inch from her mouth. "Or I could be wrong."

"No," Amira let out a deep sigh. She added a drop of cream to her tea and fixated on stirring it in a slow figure eight. "You're not wrong. Actually, Miss Claire, I've switched my office hours so that we're never in the same room together. I keep the office running, but we only communicate through text and email. It doesn't seem to matter, as long as the business is successful. It's all he really cares about, it seems." She lifted her spoon and looked into Claire's face, holding back tears. "We both know that it's over, but we can't seem to end it."

"Well, you must," Claire said, her gaze unwavering and voice resolute. "It's time to move on." A slight curve inched along the edge of her lips. "To Lionel, I think."

"Oh, I–" Amira gasped. "I don't–

"Don't what?" Claire lowered her cup and patted Amira's cheek. "You don't like him?"

"No," Amira wiped her face with the monogrammed linen napkin, hoping to cool the heat of embarrassment. "I do like him, Miss Claire. I mean, he's–"

"Your ideal match." Claire said, her face beaming. 

"He's a friend of Darius." Amira returned to her teacup and inhaled. "So, he's out of bounds."

"You young people will be the death of me. Why do you make everything so complicated? Oh, I forgot the biscuits." Claire tossed up her hands and walked into the pantry. "There's a brand-new tin in here somewhere."

Amira watched with a smirk on her face. She knew Claire was trying to "fix" her life, but she was right. Sometimes things are more complicated than they should be. If she were honest, her curiosity regarding Claire's relationship with Chef Dak was far more interesting. Since they reunited, the couple had kept a low profile, and everyone respected their privacy. However, she had so many questions bubbling inside that she could almost burst.

"I was thinking about trying a dating service." Amira called out as she unfolded the newspaper. "If I could afford it, I would hire a Sparkz matchmaker. People say it's worth the price because Miss Fiona's got a perfect record." She chuckled. "I guess that's why she's so rich."

A commotion echoed from the pantry, followed by a resonant crash. Claire emerged and walked over to Amira. Bending down, she peered into her eyes.

"Don't ever go near that woman. I can't have you–Just stay away from her."

Bonus: Recipes included.

In A Match Made in Murder, where romance intertwines with mystery, Chef Parera takes center stage, crafting a culinary masterpiece fit for a wedding celebration. Today, I’m thrilled to share one of his coveted recipes, straight from the pages of the book, allowing you to recreate the magic of his cuisine in your own kitchen.

Barbara Howard

Miniature Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecakes with Edible Flowers

These miniature raspberry and white chocolate cheesecakes, adorned with edible flowers, are sure to impress your guests with their charming appearance and irresistible flavor!


For the Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted

For the Raspberry Swirl:

  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For Garnish:

  • Edible flowers (such as pansies, violas, or rose petals)


Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease the cavities with non-stick cooking spray.

Assemble the Cheesecakes:

  1. Spoon a small amount of the cheesecake filling into each crust-lined cavity of the mini muffin tin, filling each cavity about two-thirds full.

  2. Drizzle a small amount of the raspberry puree over the top of each cheesecake, then use a toothpick or skewer to gently swirl the raspberry into the cheesecake filling, creating a marbled effect.

Bake the Cheesecakes:

  1. Place the mini muffin tin in the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cheesecakes are set and the edges are just beginning to turn golden brown.

  2. Remove the cheesecakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completel

Garnish the Cheesecakes:

  1. Once the cheesecakes are completely cooled, garnish each one with an edible flower, gently pressing it into the top of the cheesecake.

  2. Refrigerate the cheesecakes for at least 2 hours, or until fully chilled and set.

Serve and Enjoy:

  1. Carefully remove the paper liners from the cheesecakes before serving.

  2. Arrange the miniature raspberry and white chocolate cheesecakes on a serving platter and enjoy them as a delightful and elegant dessert for any occasion.

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Barbara Howard is an author of mystery stories featuring a female amateur sleuth, diverse characters, and a dash of romance. Barbara Howard is the author of two cozy mystery series; Finding Home and The Clover City Files. Her stories feature a female amateur sleuth, diverse characters, and a dash of romance. She is a first-generation tech geek turned master gardener. Ms. Howard returned to her Midwestern hometown after an extensive career as a Department of Defense Project Manager at the Pentagon, KPMG Eastern Region Project Leader, and Corporate Sales Representative for Borders Books & Music. She now spends most of her time treasure hunting, spoiling her fur-babies, growing veggies, and plotting whodunits.

Author Social Media Links






Blue Sky Social


Purchase Link - Amazon 


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April 25 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT

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April 29 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT

April 30 – Christy's Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST

May 1 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 2 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT


May 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – AUTHOR GUEST POST

May 5 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

May 6 – Celticlady's Reviews – RECIPE POST

May 7 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT

An epub format bundle of the first two books of the series (The Clover City Files)

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