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Mise en Death

Mise en Death (Bittersweet Mystery, Book 1): A delicious steampunk mystery

by Nikki Woolfolk

Mise en Death - Nikki Woolfolk
Part of the Bittersweet Mystery series:
  • Mise en Death
Editions:ePub: $ 3.99
ISBN: 9780692943526
Pages: 268
A gourmet airship banquet takes dinner—and murder—to the next level.


For Alex LeBeau, everything is finally mise en place—falling into place.

She’s ready to put her clandestine part in the Insurrection of 1856—and a romantic entanglement that broke her heart—behind her and just be herself. A simple, unassuming chocolatier.

When an opportunity to teach at a friend’s struggling cooking school lands in her lap, Alex moves with her almost-grown son, Pierre, back to her sleepy hometown of Honfleur, Louisiana. And she’s determined not to ruin it by falling for the first beautiful woman who crosses her path.

Naturally, as she rushes to prepare for a catered airship banquet that will save the school, she does exactly that. Literally sprawling at the feet of Josephine Campbell, a bundle of warm-eyed, kilted good humor with a baffling accent that melts Alex’s heart into a puddle of ganache.

But when a mishap with the banquet’s engineering-marvel centerpiece leaves the hostess dead and Pierre charged with murder, Alex, with Josephine at her side, must risk everything—including exposing her past—to save her son. And stop the real killer from striking again.


Note: This alternate-history steampunk mystery contains lesbian and transgender characters, a multicultural romance, mechanical wonders, mouth-watering dishes, horny old ladies, sweet kisses, bitter memories, and murder-by-popcorn. Bon appetit!

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Chapter 1



Honfleur, Louisiana

Summer Solstice eve, 1881


If it had not been for the ice cream, Alex LeBeau would not have found herself in jail.

On the last leg of their journey from up north, Alex’s young son, Pierre, drove them along the outer road of her childhood parish of Honfleur in their steam-powered automobile. The brass and steel bonnet of the contraption gleamed in the June morning sunlight and caught stares from the many town patrons enjoying their mid-afternoon constitutional.

In the passenger’s seat, with a hand firmly grasped on her almond wafer cone, Alex used her free hand to adjust her goggle strap against the back of her humidity dampened Eembuvi-style auburn plaits.


Despite the speed of the automobile, the breeze was stifling and caught at the back of her throat. Or was it a bug? Grimacing at the thought, she licked at the frozen concoction. The sticky caramel and sea salt blended together in her mouth, and she let out a euphoric sigh, then took another lick.

Pierre pulled the handkerchief from his breast pocket. “Here, you’ve dropped some ice cream on your skirt,” he offered, slowing the car as he waited for a pedestrian to cross. “Maman,” Pierre playfully chided, as he adjusted his own goggles.

She gave a soft Merci before taking his handkerchief and used it to swat at the two bees hovering at the hem of her skirts.

Bon Dieu!” Alex hopped out of the mobile.

Holding her ice cream in one hand, Alex fanned her skirts with the other. She did not notice the sound of the car stopping or the quick footsteps behind her. Her focus was on the angry bee up her skirts.

Alex gathered up a fist full of material and flung her hand upward with such force her fist connected with Pierre’s jaw. He fell to the grass like a stone. Alex stopped and gasped at her unconscious son as the two bees flew from underneath her skirts. She glanced up to notice the two police officers staring at the scene with humorless eyes.

She dropped her skirts.


A gourmet airship banquet takes dinner—and murder—to the next level.

A simple chocolatier with a complicated past. A woman who turns her heart into a puddle of ganache. A killer that could destroy everything…

About the Author

A latchkey kid of film noir, cozy mysteries, and gritty detective novels, Nikki Woolfolk writes humorous mysteries with a bite.

Proud Blerd and self-proclaimed Kween of the Side-Eye, award-winning author Nikki Woolfolk sculpts decadent desserts and fantastical fiction with equal skill and flair.

When she’s not playing a never-ending game of “what if” in a writing space that’s part DieselPunk, part Willy Wonka, she’s drawing on her former STEM career and collection of quirky experiences to work up new recipes in her kitchen (tasting encouraged), designing her Goth-inspired garden (tasting decidedly DISCOURAGED), and mashing up real and fictional worlds on social media (virtual kitchen table is always open).

Join her cogged-and-geared world at