ISBN #: 9781617739255
$7.99; $5.84 (Amazon)
October 27, 2015
Nursing a broken heart, Robbie Jordan is trading in her life on the West Coast for the rolling hills of Southern Indiana. After paying a visit to her Aunt Adele, she fell in love with the tiny town of South Lick. And when she spots a For Sale sign on a rundown country store, she decides to snap it up and put her skills as a cook and a carpenter to use. Everyone in town shows up for the grand re-opening of Pans 'n Pancakes, but when the mayor's disagreeable assistant is found dead, Robbie realizes that not all press is good press. With all eyes on her, she'll have to summon her puzzle-solving skills to clear her name, unscramble the town's darkest secrets, and track down a cold-blooded killer -- before she's the next to die.
Robbie Jordan has just opened a restaurant, Pans 'n Pancakes, in South Lick, Indiana, that serves breakfast and lunch. On one particular day, the newly-elected mayor, Corrine Beedle, and her assistant, Stella stop in for a meal. It's no secret that Stella, a disagreeable woman, tried to stymie Robbie in her quest for the restaurant every step of the way, and that the two dislike each other. So when Stella is murdered shortly after, Buck Bird, the 'second in command' of the local police force, goes right up and asks Robbie if she did it.
Robbie, of course, denies it, but figures if she's on the suspect list, she'd better try and find out who did it before she's the one arrested. So while her customers are dining at her place, she's quietly grilling them about who might have and why.
As she talks with others in the town, she not only finds out that Stella was not nice, not at all; but that more than one person might have had a reason to do her in. She also discovers something else: one of the townspeople, Don O'Neill, hints at an old relationship with her mother that leads Robbie to try and find out who her father is, and if he's interested in meeting with her.
Robbie obviously doesn't know anything about cats (and no, I'm not going to elaborate). Another thing is that Jim, her real estate lawyer/wanna be boyfriend, seems surprised when he finds out she's a leftie and does crossword puzzles in ink. I'm a leftie (and so is my husband). I do crosswords in pen...every day...and I've never gotten ink on my hand. Why would anyone think just because someone is left-handed they must write only in pencil? Plus, she's lived there three years, does her own carpentry, and doesn't know who the owner is of the local hardware store in this small town? She only recognizes him from campaign posters around town? That, to me, just didn't make sense.
But I did like the secondary characters and would have liked to know more about them; I hope in future books we'll be able to know more about Phil, Adele, Danna, even Turner, the mayor's intern (I rather felt sorry for the poor guy). And I definitely want to know more about Robbie, her search for her father and her mother, and what happened to their relationship.
Still, as Robbie progresses in her investigation, she discovers that someone is trying very hard to put her out of business before she has a real chance to make a go of it, and that she might be putting herself in danger from being the second victim as she gets closer to finding the real killer, which must be done before she loses her restaurant. A satisfactory ending to this book, and I look forward to the next in the series. Recommended.