Review: When the Grits Hit the Fan

When the Grits Hit the Fan
When the Grits Hit the Fan by Maddie Day
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ It was nice to be back in touch with the folks of South Lick, Indiana. And let me just say that When the Grits Hit The Fan, the third instalment in the Country Store Mystery series, is one of the best cozies I’ve ever read to date! I mean, seriously, I couldn’t wait to pick up where I’d left off each and every time! I got not just a few, but ALL of the elements that I appreciate in a good mystery; suspense, a great setting, intriguing and quirky characters, a learning experience, a little bit of romance and a climactic, edge of your seat ending. There’s no fluff in this story. It’s a solid mystery with characters that are so distinctly original and amusing it’s hard to believe they’re fictitious. My favorites are the police officers, both men and women, who are investigating the crime. One in particular, Octavia Slade, has a no-nonsense quality that I never tired of. Lieutenant Buck Bird, the tall, lanky officer with the hearty appetite and thick Indiana accent was another favorite. And Danna, the teenaged restaurant assistant with the dreadlocks, piercings, and sassy personality snagged my complete attention each time she was mentioned. I liked the diverse backgrounds and ages, along with the appropriate dialects and jargon. It’s clear that the characters were well thought out and carefully constructed, and for that reason they are not easily forgotten.

And now, what it’s about….

Robbie Jordan, proprietor of country store and restaurant, Pans ‘N Pancakes, is grateful for the increased business she receives from hosting the Indiana University group of Sociology grad students and professors that meet there on a bimonthly basis. The conversation is typically peaceful, but during one Friday session graduate student and friend, Louise “Lou” Perlman, and Lou’s professor, Charles Stilton, are engaged in a quarrel. Lou has accused him of stealing the material from her research project and presenting it as his own. He smugly dismisses her accusation and regards her as inconsequential as compared to his superior rank. Furious, she removes herself from the table and storms off to the restroom to blow off steam. Charles Stilton doesn’t seem the least bit affected by the incident and resumes his conversation with the others. But before long he insults the chair of the department, Zenobia Brown, and shortly thereafter the group disbands for the evening. The next day while Robbie and Lou are snowshoeing, Robbie discovers Charles Stilton’s body through a hole in the frozen lake, and before long many of Robbie’s acquaintances, including her good friend Lou, are on the suspect list. Further investigation reveals that almost no one cared for the arrogant man, including his mistreated wife, their son, and his mother-in-law. So who’s the culprit? Robbie might not know who murdered Charles Stilton, but she’s sure it wasn’t her friend Lou, and she’s determined to use her sleuthing skills to have her friend exonerated.

The depth of the storyline surpassed my expectations. I never felt bored, and I was impressed with how the lead character subtly transitioned into amateur sleuth in a way that was believable. I didn’t have to suspend disbelief to accept the role she played in going about finding clues to solve the murder.

This is a cozy mystery series you won’t want to miss. Very, very highly recommended.

I received an ARC of this book, and in exchange I have provided an honest review. In no way has the free book influenced my opinions of it.

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Review: Flipped for Murder

Flipped for Murder
Flipped for Murder by Maddie Day
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫  A great cozy mystery!!
Roberta “Robbie” Jordan has realized her dream of opening a restaurant and country store, Pans ‘N Pancakes, in the small town of South Lick, Indiana. Opening day proves successful, but shortly thereafter Stella Rogers, Mayoral Assistant, is found dead with one of Robbie’s biscuits shoved in her mouth.  To make matters worse Robbie is a person of interest in the murder.  Since Stella was intent on her son Roy Rogers taking over the store instead of Robbie, she delayed the permitting process making it difficult for Robbie to make the necessary renovations in time to include B&B rooms over her new restaurant. Admittedly, Robbie was perturbed by this, but local police officer Buck Bird perceives it as a motive for murder.  Robbie’s eager to clear her name, and in the process she discovers that quite a number of folks had more plausible reasons to want Stella dead.

I really enjoyed this cozy mystery for several reasons. I liked reading about the main character’s life; her love interests, relatives, long-lost father and the challenges she faced operating a new restaurant. Her daily life in and of itself was interesting and held my attention. I also appreciated that there were enough characters to suspect as guilty, but not so many that you would be hard-pressed to remember all of them.  Also, the murderer was not someone far-fetched, enabling the reader to possibly figure out who really killed Stella Rogers.

I would definitely read book two in the series, Grilled For Murder, because I like Maddie Day’s writing style. Also, I’m curious about a few loose ends relating to Robbie’s life, as well as some of the secondary characters’ lives that I presume will be addressed in the next book in the series. Overall, a very satisfying read. Recommended.

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