Mission Impastable: Book Club Kit

 Table of Contents

Book Club Kit for: Mission Impastable

By Sharon Arthur Moore

Published 2014 by Oak Tree Press, California

Summary of Mission Impastable

What Do Reviewers Say?

Author Biography

Excerpted Interviews with the Author

Do You Want to Skype with Sharon Arthur Moore?

Pasta Recipe from the Culinary Mystery, Mission Impastable

Reader’s Guide to Discussing Mission Impastable

DVD with Mission Impastable Book Trailer and Alli and Gina’s Cooking School Video for “Hermosillo Salsa”

How to Contact Sharon Arthur Moore and Find Her On-line

Books in the “Dinner is Served” Series

Other Culinary Mystery Authors You Might Like

Did You Wonder about …?

Tips: How to Run a Book Club Discussion


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Summary of Mission Impastable

Gina and Alli, best friends since 2nd grade, have a rocky start-up to their personal chef business when their first customer, Gina’s boss at her day job, ends up poisoned. Since they are the prime suspects, Alli sets out to clear their names. She finds there are many who wanted the dreaded “Dragon Lady”, her nickname at the hospital, out of the way.

Perhaps she was murdered by her abused administrative assistant, or the former CEO ousted when she was hired, or the antique dealer who sold her a jade dragon, or maybe by her husband who might have a gambling problem.

Along the way to solving the mystery, Alli confronts abandonment pain from her past. When she unmasks who killed the hospital CEO, she also deals with a threat to Gina’s family. Alli does what she must to get the murderer in jail despite the angst she suffers from the revelation.

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What Do Reviewers Say?

Mission Impastable is the ultimate cozy cooking mystery. The heroine Alli is a modern version of Lucy Ricardo from the old I Love Lucy TV series. She and her sensible best friend Gina Smithson become entrapped in a robbery and murder as they try to start a business as personal chefs. The action is constant as Alli tumbles from one escapade to another, and the cast of characters is large enough that the villain is not obvious. A great, fun read.
 Alli’s recipes look innovative and good. Who wouldn’t want to try Chocolate Chocolate Kick Cookies with ground coffee beans, cocoa, and chocolate chips? 
--J.L. Greger, author of Coming Flu and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight

A delightful cozy mystery featuring lots of yummy-sounding recipes. Friends, Alli and Gina, are trying to start their home catering business. However, until they are established, Gina needs to continue her job at the local hospital. The plan changes when the Dragon Lady, Gina's boss, is poisoned. The cooks become suspects because they have been preparing the lady's meals. Lots of twists and turns lead the girls--and the reader--down an ever-changing path to the solution.
--Lorna Lund Collins, author of Murder . . . They Wrote and Ghost Writer 

Mission Impastable’s delightful heroine, Alli, and her equally delightful friend and business partner, begin a personal chef service, Dinner is Served, but a murder complicates everything. Besides the clever premise, the description of great meals, intriguing characters, and the quest to solve the mystery, at the back of the book are some recipes to die for. (Pun intended.)
--F. M. Meredith, author of Murder in the Worst Degree

Gina and Alli are the kind of friends you want in the kitchen or at your side in the event of a murder! “Mission Impastable” has great characters, an intriguing mystery, and lots of great recipes. I look forward to more of Gina and Alli’s adventures in and out of the kitchen!
--Amy M. Bennett, author of End of the Road

Mix together two life-long friends and their newly formed business partnership as personal chefs; stir in a stolen jade dragon, adultery, family dysfunction, a nasty and very dead client, and a large helping of suspects; add a dash of an eccentric mother and a pinch of a couple of potential love interests; don’t forget the red herrings; move all the ingredients from the back burner to the front; let simmer until they begin to boil; skim off the guilty party after it bobs to the surface; and you have a no fail, delicious recipe for a culinary mystery series. For extra seasoning, check out the recipes at the end. Mission Impastable is the first in what I hope will be a long-running series. Kudos to Sharon Arthur Moore for a fun and engrossing mystery. I’m hungry for more.
-- Ilene Schneider, author of the award-winning Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries, Chanukah Guilt and Unleavened Dead.

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Author Biography

Growing up in Ohio farm country, one of Sharon’s earliest memories is at age four standing on a kitchen chair stirring scrambled eggs. That was just the beginning. This early interest in cooking delighted her mother who could cook, but who clearly didn’t love it as much as Sharon did.
At age 12, her favorite aunt gave her a spice rack filled with exotic spices like basil and tarragon. To that point, the only spices in her home had been cinnamon, pepper, and salt, which her mother used like a spice. Seeing the unwrapped spice rack, her mother turned to her aunt, horrified, and asked, “What have you done?”
Even as a child, she was always trying to create a better version of something she had eaten. It is no surprise that she didn’t always succeed, but she kept trying. Today she continues that derring do and is always trying to figure out how to create a new taste adventure in quick and easy ways.
A reader and writer from a young age as well, she gravitated naturally to reading and then writing culinary mysteries. “Writing mysteries is the hardest writing I have ever done,” she claims. “Not only do you have to write the main story line whodunit, but you have to create multiple other plausible story lines for the other suspects. I love it!”
Sharon is happily married to a man who will eat anything, bless his heart. They have three sons, a daughter, daughter-in-law, and grandson. She writes in a variety of genres from plays to short stories to paranormal to historical fiction to women’s fiction to naughty. She believes jumping around in multiple manuscripts keeps writer’s block at bay.

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Excerpted Interviews with the Author


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Do You Want to Skype with Sharon Arthur Moore?

What is Skypeing?
Skype is a free download (for basic service) allowing you to have a video and audio chat with people around the world. Other features allow text chats or phone conversations.

How does it work?
1.    You need a webcam, an Internet connection, and a computer with microphone and speakers. (Also tablet, cell phone, TV, or home phone)
2.    Download Skype for free for the basic program at www.skype.com
3.    Open Skype from your desktop or start menu.
4.    Create your account name and the name others will see.
5.    There is a small charge for the calls.
6.    Create contacts by clicking on the + (for Mac) or head and + sign (for PC)
7.    “Add New Contact” click and follow directions
8.    The contact you added has to accept the connection, too. Skype will notify you when they are added.
9.    Tell your contact when you want to Skype (e-mail, phone, etc.)
10.Check if your contact is online. A green checkmark means yes; gray is no.
11.You’ll see in the bottom, right hand side when your contact logs on. If they have, the name will be in a list on the left side. Click on the name.
12.You can chat (text box at bottom) or talk.
13.Say good-bye, click on the red phone button at the bottom of the screen
How do we connect?
The contact information for Sharon Arthur Moore to put into Skype is authorsam.
Request permission to add her to your contacts at authorsam@gmail.com                                   
Read more about Skype:

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Pasta Recipe from the Culinary Mystery, Mission Impastable

Lasagna Roll-Ups (serves 4-6)
This is the second of the book’s pasta recipes. The book titles in this series will signal what the focus is for recipes in each book.

9 lasagna noodles
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1½ cups ricotta cheese
1½ cups shredded Asiago cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried basil (or 2 teaspoons fresh basil)
2 cups Sorta-Skinny Alfredo Sauce (recipe follows)

1) Heat oven to 350°. Cook noodles to al dente in boiling salted water. Drain and cool to handling  temperature.
2) Mix ricotta cheese, 1 cup of Asiago, and basil in food processor until slightly lumpy. 3) Pour into medium bowl and blend in spinach.
4) Put one cup of Sorta-Skinny Alfredo sauce in bottom of 9”x13” pan sprayed with Pam.
5) Put spinach-cheese mixture down the middle of a noodle and roll-up from the short end to make a pinwheel.
4) Place pinwheels in the pan. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on remaining Asiago.
5) Bake for ~35-45 minutes or until bubbly.

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Reader’s Guide to Discussing Mission Impastable

As you read, which character(s) did you think killed Clarice Franklin and why? Did you figure out the culprit before the end? How?

How would you describe the author’s writing style? Describe a favorite scene.

Besides the main characters, what stood out to you in the story (setting, dialogue, another character, premise) ?

Which clues helped you think along with the mystery to solve it?

How effectively did the author use plot twists and red herrings?

Could you “hang out” with Alli or Gina? Why? What would you do together?

Why is Alli torn about Cal’s revelations about their relationship? What is their future relationship going to be?

Do you buy Craig/Cal’s explanation for Clarice’s death? Why?

Does Mission Impastable rely or major or minor coincidences? In what way? Are they plausible? Necessary?

In what ways was the ending satisfying? What do you think happens next?

Which, if any, recipes did you try or plan to try? Why?

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DVD with Mission Impastable Book Trailer and the Cooking School Video for “Hermosillo Salsa” made by Gina and Alli

You can view the videos at “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time”   www.sharonarthurmoore.blogspot.com


On YouTube at:
Mission Impastable Book Trailer      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7seuB_oFFC8 

         “Hermosillo Salsa”        

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How to Contact Sharon Arthur Moore and Find Her On-line

“Like” Sharon Arthur Moore on Facebook at:

“Follow” her on Twitter at:

“Follow” her on Pinterest at”

“Comment” on Sharon’s blogs at:
“Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time”: www.sharonarthurmoore.blogspot.com
“Write Away”: www.samwriteaway.blogspot.com

View her YouTube videos at:
Mission Impastable Book Trailer      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7seuB_oFFC8 

         “Hermosillo Salsa”        

E-mail her at:

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Books in the “Dinner is Served” Series

Mission Impastable, Oak Tree Press, 2014

Prime Rib and Punishment, Oak Tree Press, 2014

Potluck, Oak Tree Press, 2015

Ancient Grease, An Anthology of Five Short Mysteries, Oak Tree Press, 2015

Cooks in the Can, Oak Tree Press, 2016

The Taming of the Stew

Much Ado about Noshing

Fried and Prejudice

Glazed and Infused

Roux the Day

Under Lox and Quiche

Bone Appétit

Doughmestic Tranquility


Loave’s Labors Lost

Wok and Roll

Fowl Play

The Grill Next Door

Tequila Mockingbird

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Other Culinary Mystery Authors You Might Like

If you enjoyed Mission Impastable, odds are good you would like other books in this cozy mystery sub-genre. This is not an exhaustive list, merely a start for you. Though she did not create the culinary mystery sub-genre, Dianne Mott Davidson is credited with popularizing it.

Here are some authors to check out and get another two-fer: a tasty mystery with a cookbook!

Allen, Robin                                                                Kilpak, Josi
King, Peter
Beck, Jessica
Bishop, Claudia                                                       Lamalle, Cecile
Brady, Jacklyn                                                      
                                                                        McKevett, G.A.
Cates, Bailey                                                               McKinlay, Jean
Coyle, Cleo                                                                Myers, Tamar
Culver, Carol                                                               
                                                                        Page, Katherine Hall
Davidson, Dianne Mott                                              Pence, Joanne
Davis, Krista                                                                Pickard, Nancy
Dennis, Pat                                                                Pollard-Johnson, Lori and 
DuMond, Pamela                                                                Jeffrey LeCompte
Fairbanks, Nancy                                                       Rich, Virginia                  
Farmer, Jerrilyn                                                       Richman, Phyllis
Fluke, Joanne
Scott, Michele
Girdner, Jacqueline                                                       Shelton, Connie
Grogan, S.P.                                                                Shelton, Paige
                                                                        Swanson, Denise
Hart, Ellen                                                               
Hemlin, Tim                                                               Temple, Lou Jane
Hughey, Carolyn                                                      
Hyzy, Julie                                                                Washburn, Livia
Weber, S. Kay
Johnson, Claire M.                                                       Wells, Melinda

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Did You Wonder about …?

Authors do a lot of research for each book they write. Sometimes the research is on clothing or cultural/historical events. Sometimes it is on locales in the book.

I thought you might be especially interested in two of the areas I researched for this book: poisoning from plant extracts and how the personal chef business works. Here is some of what I found:

Hubby is worried the NSA is suspicious of my computer searches. He may have a point. What normal person would scour the Internet for undetectable poisons? How to die an agonizing death? Where to buy poison? I told him not to kill anyone, and we’re good!

One thing you learn is that there is no such thing as an undetectable poison. Some are harder to find than others. Some don’t show up in normal tox screens, but if they search with the right search parameters, they’ll find it. Thus, the poisoner should be very careful to keep the trail he/she follows as clear as possible. Craig/Cal did not. He left clues all over the place. Maybe that is the most compelling evidence for his argument the death was inadvertent.

I have files and dozens of pages on various poisons, their side effects, and toxicity levels. I landed on the rosary pea for my poison-du-jour because it is highly toxic, has debilitating side effects, and could masquerade as part of the tropical plant hobby of my killer.

I almost chose using zinc to overdose on since the body already has zinc in it, and it is not a normal poison to use. But the overdosing has to occur over a longer time period than I had. It has some great side effects however so the victim may not suspect poisoning.

Selenium is another drug I considered. Its most interesting side effect is neurological problems. Think what a writer could do with that! I’m not discarding this for future use. There are only so many ways to kill people!

Read more at:
http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/z/zinc_overdose/intro.htm?kcplink=1 http://www.easy-immune-health.com/selenium-overdose.html#ixzz11hAwZ7WY

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Personal Chef

This is one of the fastest areas of growth in the food industry. Have you noticed how crowded restaurants are ANY night. Eating out is no longer an event for weekends only. People apparently have more money than time, and they are willing to pay others for their nourishment.

The personal chef business is a wonderful niche. Mom or Dad can throw a home-cooked meal on the table fast without all the attendant time and mess issues around grocery shopping, measuring, dirtying pans, and so on. Singles can avoid the fast food or cereal supper.

My protagonist and her partner itch to become independent of bosses. They want choice in how to spend their working days. But they are not so good with business sense. A real personal chef (author Carolyn Hughey) met with me and set me straight. So I have my PCs making mistakes they need to fix later.

Things are not going well with the PC biz in book two, Prime Rib and Punishment, so they take on a teaching job at the local culinary institute. While there, they teach a couple of courses on how to run a PC business. Doing the research for that (and meeting a PC in the region) helps them figure out what they need to do to fix the reasons they aren’t successful. They acknowledge what they did wrong and then rectify their mistakes. They get pickier with clientele, learn business basics, and business picks up. Life looks good!

Another thing they learned was how important it was to bring their own tools since they couldn’t relay on clients having them and it was just plain easier. In their supply box they have: an assortment of plastic color-coded cutting boards, citrus zester, paring knife, chef’s knife, peeler, large sauté pan, bamboo spoons, measuring cups and spoons, nesting stainless steel bowls, storage bags and bowls, cookie sheets, large pot, mini-food processor, colander, and spatulas. Sounds like good basics for any kitchen.

Authors need resources. But in the end, the mistakes are those of the author, not the experts they called on.

In case you are interested in how personal chef-ing works, try these resources:

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Tips: How to Run a Book Club Discussion

Book clubs vary in organizational structures. Perhaps your book club has everyone reading the same book and then you gather to discuss your reactions. Or it might be that each month, each member brings a recommendation for a book to read and spends a few minutes summarizing the book and fielding questions about it. Sometimes the discussion prompts are given in advance of the meeting to allow focused reflection while reading.

No matter what structure you use, discussions are enhanced when deep reading of the text leads to insightful comments. One should exit a book club meeting feeling smarter!

Odds are you made the following decisions early on:

          When, where, for how long, and how often to meet
         If there will be food served and what kind
         If you have a leader for the year or one who rotates with meetings
         What the leader’s role is
         What types of books the group will read/discuss and who picks them
         Whether you will read books with movie tie-ins
         Who develops the discussion questions/topics

Perhaps these issues will never raise their heads in your book club, but if so you’ll be more successful if you address what are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors before your first meeting. You might have people who:

Possible Fix:
Dominates the conversation
Set a timer; everyone must share before one can share again
Bullies others to get them to agree
Leader intervenes to say each opinion is to be valued whether or not you share it
Always hates the book chosen
Rotate who selects books or put person on the selection committee; rotate genres
Never reads the book
Decide before it happens how you will handle this for members whose lives get complicated. Participating in discussions is okay.
Gets off topic during discussion
Leader intervenes to bring the discussion back in focus

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I provided discussion topics for Mission Impastable on page 9. However, you may want to develop your own. Avoid Yes-No questions as that short circuits discussion. Either ask a substantive question or raise a topic for an issue to discuss. What follows are prompts you can adapt to any novel. This is certainly not an exhaustive list.

Generic Discussion Prompts:
What personal meaning does this book hold for you? What connections did you
How does the author deal with broader social issues? How are
subcultures/belief systems/political systems dealt with?
How did the author use symbolism? How do characters interact with the
What is the structure of the novel? (alternating points of view, flashback, linear)
         How well does the structure match the novel?
What is the author’s theme? How well does it work for this book?
Authors often revisit themes. Does this book develop a theme in another book
you’ve read by this author or others?
How does the author connect the theme to the setting?  
In what ways do you identify with one or more characters? Why?
What are the strengths and limitations of the major characters?
What is driving the characters to act as they do?
What growth/lesson learned do you see in characters?
Describe the interactions among characters. How are the interactions believable?
Are the characters believable? What is an example?
How does the author use language? Dialect? Unfamiliar words? Creating new
Identify some memorable phrasing--good or bad--and explain why.
Were the main and subplot lines clearly developed and engaging? Why?
In what ways were the plot lines believable?
Is the ending satisfying? If you were writing the sequel, where would the book
go next?
If the author were with you, what question(s) would you ask?

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