Thursday, March 30, 2017

When the Grits Hit the Fan: A Country Store Mystery

Good Morrow!  At one time "good morrow" and "good day" were considered the proper salutations to use before noon.   Today I am featuring the author of A Country Store Mystery series.  Maddie Day is a pseudonym for Edith Maxwell.  The first two books in this series are Flipped for Murder and Grilled for Murder.

When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day is the third A Country Store Mystery series.  Robbie Jordan owns the Pans ‘N Pancakes in South Lick, Indiana.  The restaurant is full of graduate students and professors from Indiana University’s Sociology Department.  Robbie’s friend, Lou Perlman is having a heated conversation with Professor Charles Stilton.  Professor Stilton had been Lou’s advisor for her research paper, but he recently had his own paper accepted for publication on the same topic.  He claims that it was parallel research, but Lou states he stole her material.  New department head, Dr. Zenobia “Zen” Brown manages to settle the group, before it breaks up for the night.  The next day Lou and Robbie decide to get some exercise and head out on snowshoes for a walk in the woods.  They end up at Crooked Lake, and Robbie notices an ice fishing hole.  Robbie has not seen one previously and peers in to check out the fish.  Instead of fish swimming under the ice, Robbie finds Dr. Stilton swimming with the fishes (I couldn’t resist).  It turns out that Dr. Stilton had a habit of angering others which makes for a long suspect list.  Unfortunately, Lou is at the top of that list.  While business is slow (because of the winter weather), Robbie is working on remodeling the second floor of her building.  She wants to turn it into a bed and breakfast.  She has been finding a variety of objects inside the walls including newspapers and vintage shoes.  Robbie must put her remodeling plans on hold when Lou is bumped up to prime suspect.  Robbie starts delving into Charles Stilton’s life and history to find out who made him fish bait. One person is not happy with Robbie’s meddling and sets out to stop her from discovering the truth.

When the Grits Hit the Fan is an entertaining cozy mystery.  I found the book to be nicely written, easy to read, and it has a good flow.  I enjoyed the characters and the setting.  I like in the descriptions of the old kitchenware items that Robbie has on display in the restaurant (I love antiques and vintage items).  When the Grits Hit the Fan is the third book in A Country Store Mystery series, but it can easily be read alone.  The author provides background details on Robbie and her business.  I give When the Grits Hit the Fan 3.5 out of 5 stars.  There are two mysteries in the book, and I appreciated how the author tied them together.  I just wish the solution to both crimes had not been so simple.  I was hoping there would be a nice surprise twist at the end that would leave me by flummoxed.  I did find that some information was repeated a few times over the course of the novel.  This cozy mystery is a little more cozy than mystery.  It is nice, though, to revisit South Lick, Indiana and get updates on the citizens that populate this quaint town.  There are recipes at the end of the book.  The next book in A Country Store Mystery series is Biscuits and Slashed Browns!

I am off to mop floors (a dreaded chore).  I hope each of you have a remarkable Thursday.  I will be featuring Tightening the Threads by Lea Wait tomorrow.  I am currently reading The Amish Widower by Virginia Smith.  Enjoy the sunshine, take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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