FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — United States, 2021-November 18—/PR Free/ — Multi-genre fiction author Patricia M. Muhammad publishes Sweet As Murder, a mystery/detective romance novel.
The 1950s was an era characterized by economic growth that benefitted that average American family. This decade was defined by its traditionalist values and with financial flexibility, was able to maintain societal expectations that the wife was to remain home to care for the children and house. This included being able to prepare wholesome meals as well as baking dessert. However, finances alone could never satisfy some. Power has always been a lure to the dubious, an elixir with a sweet taste, but so often a bitter end. Men did not just vie for higher positions on the job, women, both black and white competed for advancement in the social hierarchy. Granted, segregation was common, so for the Negro, the only person they could directly compete against was another coloured. The 1950s dictated courtesy and social graces, but conniving and downright backhanded ferocious behaviour was no surprise among these women. It has always been the need for those without skill or talent to undermine those who are naturally capable to elevate their inordinate sense of self-worth. Easily considered foolish, these conspirators take the matter seriously and even the death of another to promote their nonsensical ideology would be considered a typical pathway to accomplish their devious ends. So what would be the most likely scenario of such competition of housewives? The casual reader could easily find out from the local society pages, even in the Negro community. This is where even the smallest visit from one townsperson to another reached the fine print of the society pages, alerting others to their activities. Some would consider this the 'gossip pages' where minor activity is written to appear grandiose, a subtle prelude to what exaggerated press could produce decades later.
For most Negroes, anonymity beyond the confines of their neighbourhoods was welcomed. Most had heard if not experienced racial discrimination by the American society at large. Any of the reasonable did not wish to easily avail themselves to being present on the wrong side of town or even encountering their white counterpart on a bad day. Yet most would not speak with candor is the discrimination they often experienced among other coloureds. Socio-economics and colourism was a staple within the Negro community's pantry. It was that special ingredient that subtly allowed some to feel superior than others though they possessed no talent, skill or wherewithal to improve themselves or genuine concern to uplift 'their own race'. They hid it on the back shelf with no label and would only pull it out in heaps when they believed no one else was watching. Yet, there was always someone watching, whether black or white, someone knew, and in this one small town those who thought they could deceive within the hierarchy were readily dealt with.
It was the 1950s in one town in Georgia. The Society's annual baking competition became the backdrop of this social contest. The Society was no ordinary organization. It prided itself on philanthropic endeavours to uplift the 'Negro race'. The Society had long-term goals beyond alleviating societal pressure, its sought to intelligently increase its rank with the best. This became known as the search for 'the chosen one'. The baking competition was a vetting process and ruthlessness among the Negro women was ferocious. There was already a murder at the preliminaries. The Society believed that the annual competition must proceed forward. It was not as if this was the first time someone was killed vying for the chance to be declared the winner. However, the baking contest had implications beyond mere boasting of best cake or pie. The Society performed its annual search for one person to become a member. This meant a prosperous future for a good-hearted, talented one who sought not self-aggrandizement or to harm innocents in order to progress in their daily lives. The façade of the 1950s dress and 'good manners' would make their search daunting. Some would falsely accuse others of un-American activities at the height of the McCarthy era. They assumed they furthered the endeavours of the Society. Yet their misdeeds countered the very mission they claimed to uphold. Their false and devious attacks of a black innocent in the vein of uplifting the whole of the Negro race was nothing but a social tarnish that the Society could not be associated with. Nonetheless, the baking competition was a social arena where observers could discern who was ripe in the making to become a member. To not succeed in one round of the baking contest did not translate into automatic elimination from the Society's vetting. Most of the contestants were not aware of this caveat. During its preliminaries, someone is murdered. The local precinct assigns two detectives, Wilhemina Dankworth and Arthur Dobson to the case. Wilhemina, using her maiden name Harris, transforms into one of the baking contestants while Harris is now the third tasting judge. As the baking competition is underway, a vagrant who has lied on the pavement for years is stabbed. This is the first tragedy since the contest begins. Nevertheless, the Society proceeds with the competition. This man, Arnold, is taken to the hospital and becomes pivotal in the Society's search for 'the chosen one'. The baking competition and its participants is not at all as what it seems. Participants and members of civilian life are able to harness and wield light. Many are oblivious as to what is hidden right before their eyes. Others are confounded by it. Some use it for survival. The Society has its own purpose for it. Perhaps 'the chosen one' will eventually discover her gifts. Most remain until the end, hoping that their entries garner the grand prize and most importantly, the approval of the Society.
About the Author: Patricia M. Muhammad is a multi-genre fiction author who often writes characters with multi-racial heritage and interracial relationships. She has written 22 novels. Patricia enjoys international travel. Patricia is based in the United Kingdom.
Connect with Patricia:
Social Media: @pmmuhammadbooks
Press: [email protected]