Saturday, April 1, 2017

When The Grits Hit the Fan

Author:  Maddie Day (a/k/a Edith Maxwell)
Series:  A Country Store Mystery #3
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  March 28, 2016

Description:  Despite the bitter winter in South Lick, Indiana, business is still hot at Robbie Jordan’s restaurant. But when another murder rattles the small town, can Robbie defrost the motives of a cold-blooded killer?
Before she started hosting dinners for Indiana University’s Sociology Department at Pans ‘N Pancakes, Robbie never imagined scholarly meetings could be so hostile. It’s all due to Professor Charles Stilton, who seems to thrive on heated exchanges with his peers and underlings, and tensions flare one night after he disrespects Robbie’s friend, graduate student Lou. So when Robbie and Lou go snowshoeing the next morning and find the contentious academic frozen under ice, police suspect Lou might have killed him after their public tiff. To prove her friend’s innocence, Robbie is absorbing local gossip about Professor Stilton’s past and developing her own thesis on the homicide—even if that means stirring up terrible danger for herself along the way . . .

My Review

This is the third  book in the Country Story Mystery Series.  I have read and enjoyed the first two books in the series so when the opportunity came for me to read and review an advanced reader copy, I couldn't wait to return to South Lick Indiana.  One of the reasons I enjoy this series is that as a Midwesterner myself, I feel that Ms. Day has captured the feel of the local and people of the Midwest.

In this third book, I feel like this series is coming into its own. By now the characters are established and begin to feel like friends.  We have had three books now to get a chance to know both the protagonist - Robbie Jordan, and the cast of secondary characters.  I like Robbie.  She is down to earth, smart and caring.  She is settling into being a mid-westerner and I like how in this book we start to see her starting to speak like a local.  The relationship between her and Abe is progressing nicely, but it does not over-power the mystery.

The mystery in this third book is well done.  It has many layers that are peeled back as the story progresses.  I like how Ms. Day wound a cold case with the current day murder. There were plenty of twists, turns and misdirection to keep this reader guessing as to the identity of the killer.  There were plenty of suspects to choose from - the victim in this story was not well liked.  I think the mystery was resolved and the killer revealed in a very climatic ending.  

If you are looking for an entertaining cozy mystery, with a well written plot, interesting characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing, don't hesitate to try this book.  While the third in a series, I think it can be read as a stand alone.  You may miss some back story but it is still early in the series that it shouldn't distract.  I do however, recommend reading the series in order (at least that is my preference) because it is always interesting to see how the characters and the series grow.  I always like when there are recipes at the end of the book.  One day I am going to get ambitious and try one.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book provided to be by the publisher, Kensington, through Netgalley.  This did not influence my opinion and the thoughts expressed are my own.

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