5 Apr 2015

Killer Kung Pao (Health Nut Mysteries, Book 1) by Patrice Lyle

Killer Kung Pao
Patrice Lyle
Health Nut Mysteries Book #1
Gemma Halliday Publishing
Humorous Cozy Mystery, 63k

Dr. Piper Meadows heads to the Body, Mind & Spirit Expo expecting to solve health problems, not murder. But her first day starts off wrong when famous psychic Mystic Ming compares her hair to a "dung beetle's nest" and tries to get her kicked out of the show. But Piper's bad-hair day gets worse when her Aunt Alfa gets in a public scuffle with Mystic Ming, where he accuses her of trying to poison him with her peanut oil-based essential oils. When Mystic Ming drops dead from his serving of killer kung pao laced with peanut oil, it's no surprise that Aunt Alfa is fingered as the prime suspect.
Unwilling to let her auntie squander her golden years in prison, Piper orders a set of How To Be a PI flashcards and sets out to find the real killer. Secrets and suspects sprout up faster than wheat grass, including a handsome tattoo artist, Tattoo Tex, who intrigues Piper more than she'd like to admit. But can she trust him? Piper had better solve the case of the killer kung pao before the murderer turns his sights on victim number two...one sleuthing doctor!
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Hi Patrice! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
KILLER KUNG PAO is the first book in the Health Nut Mystery series about a naturopathic doctor named Dr. Piper who solves mysteries at health expos with her 91-year-old great Aunt Alfa and her potbellied pig named Brownie.

What inspired you to write it?
An experience my husband and I had at a wellness expo a couple of years ago was the catalyst for KILLER KUNG PAO. What we thought was a holistic health expo turned out to be a psychic fair! Not that I don’t believe in the possibility of otherworldly things, but the expo just wasn’t what we’d expected. The other vendors were arguing amongst themselves, and I said to my husband, “This would be a great setting for a murder mystery!” Then my passion for holistic health merged with my passion for cozy mysteries, and KILLER KUNG PAO was born.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
I love the cover, but I can’t take credit for it. That’s the work of Janet Holmes, a fab cover designer!

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
Kate Hudson would a fabulous Dr. Piper! Betty White would be the perfect Aunt Alfa! Ben Affleck would be a great Tattoo Tex! And as for Brownie, the piglet, I’m not sure.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
My father was a policeman and homicide detective, so I’ve always loved mysteries. But I especially love cozy mysteries because they are fun and light. In real life police work, that’s not the case. And I love that the bad guy, or girl, always gets caught in a cozy mystery.

What made you want to become an author?
I’ve been writing novels since I was ten year old. I just love to write.

How do you come up with character names?
I have two awesome baby name books that I bought at least twenty years ago, and I use them all the time for naming characters. One is called “A World of Baby Names” and the other one is “20,001 Names for Baby.”

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
I absolutely love Laura Levine! My favorite one of her books is KILLER CRUISE. It’s a really fun read, and a great mystery!

Who, or what, inspires you?
The beach is my greatest inspiration. The sun, sand, and oodles of negative ions gets my creative juices flowing.

Where is your favourite place to write?
No question here…the beach! I get into my best writing zone on a sandy shore with the waves rolling in.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Hhmm…I don’t often like the movie version of books. I saw the movie version of One for the Money. It was cute, but definitely wasn’t as good as the book.
PS, in case you’re wondering…I’m on Team Morelli!

Name two of your favourite authors.
Laura Levine and Dorothy Howell.

If you could have a dinner party with any authors from any time in history, who would you choose and why?
I’d pick British novelist Daphne Du Maurier (1907-1989). She was born in London, educated in Paris, and lived in Cornwall (all places I’ve visited) and her books are incredible. Plus there’s an RWA award named after her!

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I was a nanny in Amsterdam many moons ago.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Since I’m still writing my life story every day, I guess I’d have to play myself! Maybe I better sign up for an acting class!

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
We live in Orlando, and there are actually some cool things to do here aside from Disney. Such as Jungle Adventures in Christmas, Florida, home of the world’s largest alligator named Swampy. In reality, Swampy is an alligator-shaped building but he’s really cute. We also love the Econ River Wilderness Area. It’s got a beautiful mix of pines and palms, and we call it the “jungle walk.”

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I’m working on the second Health Nut Mystery, KILLER KARAT CREAM. In this story, Dr. Piper hosts a spa night for a new exfoliating Karat Cream… and someone drops dead after using it! Gemma Halliday Publishing will release KILLER KARAT CREAM later this year.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
A trip to the Bailey’s factory in Ireland. That’s my favorite all time drink!

Favourite myth / fairytale?
Cinderella. Who doesn’t love a cute prince and a gorgeous glass slipper!

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
A mystery novelist.

My aunt was the most adorable health nut ever. Clad in her size-two teal velour pantsuit, matching foam rollers, and red, patent-leather Mary Jane pumps, she strutted across the beige carpet pulling a neon green duffel roller bag and munching on a gluten-free Cosmic Cupcake (her favorite). She hadn't changed at all—including her hennaed hair—in the last three decades. And I hoped she never would.
"Hey, Pipe." She planted a kiss on my cheek. "You'll never guess what happened on our walk. It was the craziest thing."
Even though it had only been a couple hours since I'd last seen her, I gave her a quick hug. "I was wondering where you—"
And that was when I noticed the suspicious pink snout sticking out of the side zipper of Aunt Alfa's bag. Oh, holy chocolate babka to the nth degree.
"You heard that yoga girl at registration," I said quietly. "Animals aren't allowed in here, and we have to follow the rules."
She pursed her lips as if she were sucking a lemon, which she did every day because lemons are great for the liver, and pointed at a woman nearby who was accompanied by a guide dog. "Check out that dog. Studies have shown pigs are fourth on the intelligence roll, behind humans, primates, and dolphins."
I was familiar with the study because she talked about it all the time.
"It's rude to point." I gently lowered my auntie's arm before someone noticed her. "That woman is blind, Aunt Alfa. Guide dogs are always allowed."
"I know." Aunt Alfa crumpled up her Cosmic Cake wrapper and tossed it into a nearby trashcan, making the shot like a basketball star. "Our piglet should be allowed too because he's smart enough to be a guide pig. Besides, I'm ninety-one years old. I defy anyone to stop me."
A nonagenarian with a 'tude was what her dead ex-boyfriend had called Aunt Alfa during the nightmare séance. I feared he might have been on to something.
"I don't like it either, Aunt Alfa, but you have to take Brownie to our room."
"You know how depressed he gets alone. He'll pig out." She jutted out her crepe-paper jaw. "I can't believe I forgot Charlotte's Web. That's the only movie he likes."
Finally, progress. "Actually, he loves Babe, and I brought the DVD with me."
"Yeah. We watched it last weekend, and he sniffled at all the sad parts." I'd been in major Floyd-avoid-mode so I'd spent my Friday night curled up with a movie, a bag of dark chocolate chip cookies, and a piglet.
Aunt Alfa shot me her pity grin. "He was just being polite, Pipe."
That figured. Guys were all the same. Even the potbelly breeds.
Aunt Alfa rose on her toes and glanced around the room. "I'm going to find the manager and force him to see things my way."
Oh, no. Had I made a mistake insisting she come? I'd worried about her starting a riot at my condo complex while I was gone, but I hadn't considered the consequences at the expo.
"You have to take Brownie to our hotel room," I said. "Seriously."
Brownie must have recognized his name because just then a high-pitched, someone's-murdering-me piglet squeal erupted from her bag.
Weee. Weee. Weeeeeeeeeeee.
Several people turned in response. One woman having a tarot card reading by the yellow-turbaned psychic looked perturbed and asked, "Was that… a pig?"
Then a sneeze louder than a New York City firework festival rang out. Followed by a coughing attack.
"Mystic Ming allergic to pig," a familiar voice choked out. "Ming berry berry allergic to many things."
I turned to see Mystic Ming wobbling in the aisle across from me. Then his skinny legs buckled, and his face lightened to the shade of a marshmallow.
Right before he collapsed onto the expo floor. 

Patrice Lyle loves green smoothies, dark chocolate, mysteries, and humor. She wove these elements together when she created the Health Nut Mysteries, a cozy series about a naturopathic doctor who solves mysteries at health expos. Patrice also writes paranormal young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as holistic medical suspense. She has an MA in Writing Popular Fiction and a PhD in Holistic Nutrition. She's also a Certified Traditional Naturopath. She now lives in Florida with her husband and two kitties, and is a firm believer in the theory that laughter is the best medicine.

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  1. Hi Suzy. Thanks so much for hosting me. Have a FAB & healthy day! And... Happy Easter:)

  2. My pleasure, Patrice! Happy Easter to you too :D


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