Thursday, May 26, 2016

Grilled for Murder (A Country Store Mystery)

Author:  Maddie Day
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback, Ebook, Audiobook
ISBN #:  9781617739279
Kensington Publishing
304 Pages
$7.99, $5.99, $24.99 Amazon
May 31, 2016

Five Stars

Robbie Jordan may have reservations about the murder victim, but she still needs to turn up the heat on a killer if she wants to keep her new restaurant open for business...

In the charming small town of South Lick, Indiana, Robbie has transformed a rundown country store into the runaway hit Pans 'N Pancakes.  But the most popular destination for miles around can also invite trouble.  Erica Shermer may be the widow of handsome local lawyer Jim Shermer's brother, but she doesn't appear to be in mourning.  At a homecoming party held in Robbie's store, Erica is alternately obnoxious and flirtatious -- even batting her eyelashes at Jim.  When Erica turns up dead in the store the next morning, apparently clobbered with cookware, the police suspect Robbie's friend Phil, who closed up after the party.  To clear Phil and calm her customers, Robbie needs to step out from behind the counter and find the real killer in short order...


It is just before Christmas, and Robbie Jordan, owner of Pans 'N Pancakes, has just finished catering a welcome home party at her restaurant for Erica Shermer, the widow of her boyfriend Jim's twin brother.  Erica has done her best to antagonize many of those attending, including Jim, who doesn't try to hide his dislike for her.  But when Robbie enters her business the next morning, she finds a surprise waiting for her:  the body of Erica, sprawled out on the floor.

With no clues and plenty of suspects, the police are baffled.  It also seems that the state police have been called in on this murder, and the head detective Octavia Slade, is all business when it comes to the murder and tells Robbie to stay out of it.  But Robbie wants to know who killed Erica and why here?  She also doesn't like the fact that the police are interested in Phil, a friend who makes the desserts for the restaurant; and most of all, she doesn't like the fact that there's a killer running around on the loose.

Unfortunately, Erica's death has even more far-reaching consequences for Robbie.  Things are not always what they seem, and even more so in this case.  Feelings are hurt, situations change; secrets are revealed.  There is even a hint of things to come.  But possibilities open, and even change can become a good thing if given the time and consideration it needs.

This is the second book in the series, following Flipped for Murder.  I will say that while the first book was good, I think this one was even better.  It was well thought-out, and when the murderer was revealed, there was barely a clue, which is a good thing (yes, it's nice to figure out the killer early on, but once in a while a surprise is welcomed).  Robbie's relationships with the residents of South Lick are starting to solidify, and even as she has some angst in this book, she deals with it like an adult, which I really liked.

The best thing an author can give to a reader is the ability to like the book's characters and enjoy sharing their lives.  This is what Ms. Day gives us in Grilled for Murder.  Robbie is a woman who doesn't act like a spoiled teenager, nor go out of her way to find trouble, or find herself in danger.  She wants to make her business work, and truly cares about those around her.  This makes her a refreshing character, and the book was a pleasure to read.   Highly recommended.

More on Maddie Day's books:

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