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

Spring ... a time for Cheesecake ... and Betrayal
3/15/2021 12:00:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Investigating Food Used in Novels

This month’s featured food scene comes from book #3 in my Seasons of Mystery Series, Spring Betrayal, when Investigator Jane Carson becomes the stand-in for the princess of a Caribbean monarchy. Jane amazes the palace cook with her ability to discern the ingredients in her food preparations.  

(Spring Betrayal releases April 6, 2021, ebook available for preorder now)

Here’s the scene:

Esmar brought coffee and Portia set what appeared to be custards in muffin cups on the table. “See if you can tell me what is in this.”

Jane scooped a spoonful. “It is rich and sweet with a tang.”

Portia looked at her expectantly.


Portia nodded.

“And it has blueberries and almonds, the texture of cheesecake.” Jane took another bite and rolled it on her tongue. “But I don’t think there is cheese in it.”

Portia squeezed her hands and appeared to have been bestowed a wonderful present. “No cheese. Esmar, this girl is a wonder just like our Sonia.”

“No way I can compete with Sonia. What gives this the cheesecake texture?”

“This is called blueberry cheesecake but is made with ground almonds, dates, coconut oil and honey.”

She could hang out with Esmar and Portia all day long. She relaxed in the homey atmosphere of the kitchen with wonderful food and friendly people.

Alexander stepped into the kitchen. “Excuse me.” He turned to Jane. “Miss, Hugo, the king’s secretary, says the king requests your presence before he retires.”

The spoonful of fruit and nut pudding lumped in Jane’s throat.


                   Blueberry Cheesecakes

The recipe is under Investigatin’ Recipes tab above.

More about Spring Betrayal:


It was supposed to be a routine investigation—catch the cheatin’ spouse of a client. And the perks weren’t bad either—set up shop at a luxury resort.  So yes, Robert Grey and Jane Carson from Grey Investigations are on the job.

But when they discover the suspect is a princess wrongfully accused of abdicating and her companion dies under suspicious circumstances, the investigators find themselves in the middle of a Caribbean conspiracy to overthrow a monarchy.

Suddenly Jane must take the place of the princess to secure the throne of an island nation.

Can Grey Investigations untangle a royal mess before a revolution overtakes paradise?





Love Inspired Cookie
2/19/2021 3:34:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Love Inspired Cookie


Investigating Food Used in Novels


February, the month of LOVE. This month I’m featuring the Love Inspired novel, The Detective’s Secret Daughter by Rachelle McCalla.


From the Sugar Plum Cafe in Fitzgerald Bay the author uses cookies in the story line to portray MYSTIQUE, NEIGHBORLY KINDNESS, AND  LOVING GESTURES. The book inspired me to try a new cookie recipe.


Because I have a grapefruit tree in my yard, I’m sharing a recipe for a shortbread style cookie I discovered with a soft delicate texture, made with grapefruit juice! Sound strange? It won’t after you try it!


Here’s more about The Detective’s Secret Daughter:

It's been ten years since Victoria Evans left Owen Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald Bay behind. Now she's returned, looking for a safe place for herself and her nine-year-old daughter. A daughter who bears a striking resemblance to Owen. Why would Victoria keep their child a secret? Owen wants answers, but has to focus on the murder that's rocked Fitzgerald Bay. And when Victoria is threatened, he's determined to solve the case--and keep mother and child safe. Because Owen won't lose them all over again.







A Taste of Small Town
1/13/2021 10:50:00 PM BY Sally Jo

Investigating Food Used in Novels

This month’s feature is the small town novella, A Sassy Creek Christmas, currently available for FREE.

Here, author Shelia Stovall tells us how she came up with her main character, Ovaleta Mayhew, who handles her problems with prayer and baking: 

I am not an accomplished cook, but I remember gathering apples from my family's orchard, and my mom would make fried pies.  Sadly, Mom is no longer alive, and I don't have her recipe for fried pies.

Years ago, when I first launched my website, I wanted to include fried pies on the table. A wonderful friend and church lady, Camille, offered to make them for me. This photograph was taken in her garden.  

Camille's recipe for fried apple pies includes biscuit dough, reconstructed dried applies, and Crisco. Camille said if you don't have a good biscuit recipe, you can use canned biscuits. Like all genuinely excellent cooks, Camille does not measure anything. She cooks by taste and touch.

So, I've attached the recipe card for Ovaleta Gibbs’ fried pies sent to me by the Allen County Cooperative Extension Service. Ovaleta Gibbs shared her recipe years ago with the Extension Service and gave permission for it to be shared. The homemakers in Allen County often prepared fried pies using her recipes for fundraisers in Allen County.

When I first heard the name Ovaleta, I vowed to use it in one of my stories because it's so Southern and unusual.  When I first started writing A Sassy Creek Christmas, I knew Ovaleta would be my main character. I never had the honor of meeting Ovaleta Gibbs. Still, she's the inspiration for my fictional character Ovaleta Mayhew in Sassy Creek.

I hope you'll try Ovaleta Gibbs’ recipe,  and let me know how they turn out at [email protected] One of these days, when I finish writing stories, I might find time to fry a pie or two.

Grab A Sassy Creek Christmas for FREE with this link  https://dl.bookfunnel.com/l9y1q8ne8p

AND another FREE book from Shelia you may enjoy is Weldon’s Secret Santa  https://bookhip.com/ZJXFZA

For the recipe for FRIED APPLE PIES go to Investigatin’ Recipes  under Investigator’s blog above.

And here is more about A Sassy Creek Christmas:

Welcome to Sassy Creek, Kentucky, where pretty much everything starts at the Wide Spot Country Store. There you’ll find laughter, a little gossip,  Goo Goo Clusters, and might even be invited to join in a hand of Rook with the locals . . . 

Like Ovaleta Mayhew, who plans the first-ever Sassy Creek Christmas parade to raise funds to help pay eight-year-old Ava’s medical bills. People want to help but unexpected conflict erupts—leaving Ovaleta to regret her impulsive actions.

Or Pastor Seth, who’s in love with Lila, a nurse he met at the Nashville cancer center. He wonders what she’ll think of Sassy Creek and his dwindling congregation. He can’t compete with the bright lights of Nashville, but he knows God’s called him to Sassy Creek.

The parade is set to start at the Wide Spot, but two tragedies silence everyone and the community gathers to pray. Without a miracle, it’s doubtful there will ever be a Sassy Creek Christmas parade.








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