Murder By Syllabub - Kathleen Delaney

4 Stars! 

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.

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

Really cute little mystery with a great cast of characters. Mystery is not my favorite genre so it has to have a cute storyline and loveable characters and be interesting enough to hook me in... and this one was. 
"Ghosts in the upstairs hall, dead men in the dinning room, people coming and going through locked doors. None of this made sense."

I loved this group of women! Great character development. Each one was so different with totally different personalities. They were all developed so well you really got to know each one.
"Is cream the strongest stuff we've got to put in this?"
"At this time in the morning, yes"
"Its five o'clock somewhere and after the night we've had I need something to get me going."

The whole time I was reading this I kept wondering what is a syllabub?? Finally on page 45 someone asked that question. I was about to google it, so they saved me the time. 
"It's a drink, a sweet dessert drink. The Colonials loved it."

What I really loved about this book was the bits of Colonial history. It was all really very interesting. I love the way she stuck it in there as part of the story.
"If you wanted soup or stew or anything else we commonly eat today with the aid of a spoon, you had a problem. Rich men carried one with them, but spoons were hard to make; the castings they used were difficult to handle, and poor men couldn't afford them."
"What did they use? Anyone know?"
"A sippet, sir. What else would a poor man use?"
"A sippet is a piece of stale bread... you could use it to dip into your bowl and scoop up the liquid and - what did you do? You sipped it. Ergo - the sippet."

I thought I had this mystery figured out but I was wrong! Good little mystery!

Thank you "Partners in Crime" virtual book tours for sending me this book to read and review!

Get your copy from Amazon - HERE
or from B&N - HERE


  1. Awesome review. So glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your insight on this title.

  2. One of the things I enjoyed the most, while writing this mystery, was putting in the little bits about life in Colonial Williamsburg. Amazing how similar, yet how different, our lives are. So glad you liked the book and especially my group of "ladies of a certain age."

    1. Thank you so much for visiting my little blog! And I loved those "ladies of a certain age." LOL

  3. Sounds right up my alley.

    How cute is the authoress too!


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