You have found the site of private investigator Sally Jo Pitts whose sleuthing and other experiences in working with all kinds of people has led to writing sweet romance and private investigator mysteries. You will find my books listed under the books tab, Romance Books and Mystery Books.

I delve into a variety of topics on the website. Currently, I am investigating food used in novels found under the Investigator’s Blog. Each post is accompanied by a recipe found under Investigatin’ Recipes.

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Recent Posts

A Standoff food inspiration from author Patricia Bradley
11/9/2022 12:00:00 PM BY Sally Jo Pitts

Investigating Food Used in Novels


This month’s food scene and recipe for flatbread come from Patricia Bradley’s Standoff, book one in her Natchez Trace Park Rangers series. Note: Standoff is on sale for half off!


This novel food scene takes us to King’s Tavern in Natchez, Mississippi, where we learn about one of their mouth-watering specialties. Lead character, Brooke Danvers, is surprised when one of Natchez’s most eligible bachelors, Jeremy Steele, shows up unexpectedly at her door and invites her to dinner.


Here is the scene:

“Are you working tonight?”

“Sort of,” she said. “I was going to ride along with Dad on his patrol, but he cancelled and turned me over to another ranger. Why?”

 “I know it’s last minute, but I was hoping you’d have time to join me at King’s Tavern,” he said. “I have a hankering for one of their flatbreads.”

Her mouth watered at the thought. Brooke hadn’t eaten since lunch, and she could do last minute, at least this time. But the question of why her kept bobbing to the surface. Ignoring it, she said, “That sounds good. I’ll text Gary to pick me up later.”

“Gary?” She grinned at him, tempted to describe the aging ranger as a hunk but instead settled for the truth. “He’s the ranger I’m replacing when he retires.” 

Ten minutes later Jeremy escorted her into King’s Tavern, where the original brick walls and dark wooden beams added to the mystique of the inn that had been rumored to have a ghost. The tantalizing aroma of steak drew her gaze to the open grill, but she had her heart set on one of their wood-fired flatbreads.

“Inside or out?” Jeremy asked.

“The backyard, if you don’t think it’ll rain,” she said.

“If it does, we’ll simply come in.” He gave the waitress their drink order, sweet tea for both of them, and let her know where to find them. They had their choice of picnic tables and chose the one on the hill. Once they were seated, Jeremy reached across, taking her hand. His touch and the intensity in his brown eyes almost took her breath away. “I’m glad you came.”

 “Me too,” Brooke said, trying not to sound breathy. The question worrying around in her head wouldn’t wait any longer. “Why me?”


Jeremy’s “hankering” for wood-fired flatbreads had me wondering what this specialty was like.


The King’s Tavern is closed now but an old menu featured a variety of unique flatbread topping options from braised brisket to Brussel sprouts with smoked bacon.




Author Patricia Bradley shares this recipe for flatbreads.  Go to Investigatin’ Recipes under Investigator’s blog above or click here.


More about Standoff:

The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It's the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for park ranger Luke Fereday, lately it's being used to move drugs. Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers.

John's daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father's murder, but things are more complicated than they first appear, and Brooke soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her. Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who's going to keep him safe when he realizes he's falling--hard--for the daughter of the man he failed to save?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley introduces you to a new series set in the sultry South that will have you wiping your brow and looking over your shoulder.







10/16/2022 1:20:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Investigating Food Used in Novels


This month’s food scene and recipe are inspired by Sharon Dunn’s Wilderness Secrets.

On the run from members of a drug cartel in the mountains of Montana, the starving lead characters come up on a hermit’s camp where a pot of soup is cooking.

Here is the scene:

Her stomach growled as the aroma of some sort of soup cooking tickled her nostrils. The occupant of the camp could not have gone far if he’d left his food to cook.

Still holding his gun, Jesse leaned close to her. “Man I’m starving.”

Her mouth watered at the aroma of the soup. “We can’t just take the food. We don’t know what kind of person we’re dealing with here.” ….

A guttural voice sounded behind them. “I think the two of you better turn around real slow.”

Abigail swung around to stare into the barrel of a shotgun pointed right at Jesse’s heart.


The hungry characters in this scene, made me crave a good hearty bowl of vegetable/beef soup. Here is a moutherwatering soup recipe from my daughter-in-law’s mom to try on a cool autumn evening.

                            Hearty Vegetable Soup

For the recipe, go to Investigatin’ Recipes under Investigator’s Blog above or click here.

For More about Wilderness Secrets:

In this inspirational romantic suspense adventure, a federal agent enlists a beautiful wilderness guide to help him find the evidence to clear his name.

A downed plane holds evidence that will prove framed DEA agent Jesse Santorum is innocent—and he must reach it before a drug cartel does. But to find the plane hidden high in the mountains of Montana, he needs wilderness guide Abigail Murphy’s expertise. Can they survive the treacherous mountains and their well-armed pursuers long enough to expose the true criminals?



A Novel Food Scene with Grits
9/18/2022 4:10:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Investigating Food Used in Novels


This month’s food scene and recipe comes from a novella in Where Blooms Lovea collection of romance stories.

“Color Me Springtime” by Sally Jo Pitts takes us to a B & B in the fictional town of Hamilton Harbor, Florida, where proprietors Pete and Claudia Cullen are serving a southern favorite—grits.


The guest artist for the Spring Arts Festival is Raquel Windhelm, a local girl who has been studying and teaching in France the last ten years.


Here is the scene:


The funds raised from the festival will contribute to Feldman Park maintenance. Right? You can consider this my donation.” Raquel tore the check in half and pushed the pieces to Claudia. “My mother died while I was in college and Dad lives in New York, so I no longer have a home to return to in Hamilton Harbor. To be a part of the town’s rebuilding does my heart good.  I can remember when this house and the others around the square were rundown rentals.”

Claudia pocketed the torn check. “I thank you and I know the committee will as well.”

Pete pushed through the kitchen door. “Breakfast is served,” he said, placing a steaming platter of eggs and bacon and a bowl of grits on the table.

Raquel rubbed her hands together. “Good ol’ Southern grits. Grits is an unknown delicacy in France, at least in the parts I’ve lived.”

“Maybe the traditional breakfast staple will inspire your creativity during your stay with us. Are you okay with me praying for the food?”

“Yes, and pray for the children’s classes. All my teaching has been with young adults the past several years.”

They joined hands while Pete prayed.

Eyes closed Raquel’s shoulder’s slumped releasing all cares and tension. Pete’s words wrapped her with blessing and encouragement. If nothing else, her trip was worth it to hear his prayer.


For a tasty grits recipe, I am sharing a family favorite Grits Casserole from Donna Morris:

                               GRITS CASSEROLE

For the recipe, go to Investigatin’ Recipes under Investigator’s Blog above or click here.


More about Where Blooms Love:

Love is in bloom in this inspiring collection of romances. In these seasonal stories, meet a young Loyalist who discovers a wounded patriot hiding in her barn, forcing her to choose between turning him in or first nursing him back to health. When a king issues a one-year challenge between sisters, who will become the next queen, and who will find love? A wounded soldier attends a Star Wars marathon and finds his future. And a horse and a baby bridge the way for an unlikely couple to explore a life together.

Across cultural differences, political divisions, and historical timelines, each novella carries Spring's life-giving promise that love unites hearts because God first loved us. Hope blossoms in this fresh collection of love stories penned by these Elk Lake Publishing best-selling authors.


© 2022 Sally Jo Pitts
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