Biscuits and Slashed Browns (Country Store Mystery Series #4)

Biscuits and Slashed Browns (Country Store Mystery Series #4)

by Maddie Day

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Overview

Biscuits and Slashed Browns (Country Store Mystery Series #4) by Maddie Day

For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the National Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late-winter in South Lick, Indiana—until murder saps the life out of the celebration . . .
 
As Robbie arranges a breakfast-themed cook-off at Pans ‘N Pancakes, visitors pour into Brown County for the annual maple extravaganza. Unfortunately, that includes Professor Connolly, a know-it-all academic from Boston who makes enemies everywhere he goes—and this time, bad manners prove deadly. Soon after clashing with several scientists at a maple tree panel, the professor is found dead outside a sugar shack, stabbed to death by a local restaurateur’s knife. When an innocent woman gets dragged into the investigation and a biologist mysteriously disappears, Robbie drops her winning maple biscuits to search for answers. But can she help police crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky situation with a killer?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496711212
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Series: Country Store Mystery Series , #4
Sales rank: 28,552
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Maddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha-nominated and Amazon-bestselling author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America and also writes award-winning short crime fiction which has appeared in a number of juried anthologies. She lives with her beau and three cats in Massachusetts, where she's currently working on her next Country Store mystery when she isn't cooking up something delectable in the kitchen.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The banner outside Pans 'N Pancakes proclaimed "JOIN MAPLE MANIA!" The Brown County Maple Festival's logo of a grinning bottle of syrup beamed its invitation. But the look on Professor Sonia Genest's face would have frozen butter on a tall stack of hot flapjacks.

I'd hung the banner for the fifth annual festival across the wide covered porch of my country store restaurant and had stepped into the road to check the level. Instead, I watched as the voluptuous thirty-something professor glued her fists to her hips. She glared from the bottom step at a portly man in a suit with sharply creased trousers. He'd just climbed out of a black Lexus parked in the last of the ten spots angling in to the store's wide covered porch. Incongruous with his attire was a Red Sox cap perched atop his head.

"How dare you?" she snarled, not trying to keep her voice down. Sonia, a lifelong resident of our little town of South Lick, Indiana, and a regular at Pans 'N Pancakes, had just finished a full breakfast inside. She was a woman who appreciated a good meal.

The man clasped his hands in front of him and sort of smiled, but his top lip curled, making him look like he'd tasted curdled milk. "My dear, can I help it if my grant proposal was funded and yours wasn't?"

"I'm not your dear, Warren." Strictly business, she spoke each scorn-laced word distinctly. Her outfit was all business, too, a black wool coat over a gray jacket and skirt with black tights and ankle boots. "And if it weren't for the conference, I'd never have to set eyes on you."

The academic conference on maple tree science was on a parallel track with the county's Maple Festival. The festival organizers aimed to bring tourists to town in March, a normally dead time of year for local businesses. On the festival schedule this afternoon was the breakfast cook-off, with area cooks competing to produce the winning maple-favored breakfast item. And it was slated to be held right here at my restaurant. I hoped I was ready.

I abandoned my banner examination and approached the pair. They must be continuing a prior disagreement. "Good morning, sir. I'm Robbie Jordan, owner and chef here." I extended my hand.

"Ah, Ms. Jordan." The man patted his expansive stomach and talked through his smile, his tiny eyes almost disappearing in the flesh of his cheeks. "I'm Warren Connolly." He offered a puffy padded palm. "I was just coming to sample your menu. Your restaurant is quite the talk of the conference."

I shook his extended hand. I'd never really trusted people who talked and smiled simultaneously. Sonia looked like she didn't, either.

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Connolly," I said. "Are you at Indiana University or from out of town?" A truck rumbled by on the road and I had to strain to hear his response.

"It's Professor Connolly. I teach and do my research at Boston College."

"'Research.'" Sonia surrounded the word with finger quotes. "You call it research to accept money from climate-change deniers and then counter well-established facts with some environmental fantasy?" She shook her head, streaked dark blond hair flying, and turned away, her words sizzling the chilly early-March air. "Great breakfast, Robbie," she called as she headed for her car.

"Thanks," I answered, but I wasn't sure she heard me. I shivered and hugged myself. I wasn't exactly dressed for forty-degree weather in my jeans, long-sleeved T-shirt, and blue-and-white striped store apron. The sun promised to warm the day later, though. Cold nights and warm days created perfect conditions for inciting maple sap to run in the veins of trees all over Indiana's most heavily forested county. Since it was only eight o'clock, we were still in the chilly part of the cycle.

"How about that breakfast?" I said in a bright tone to the professor.

He laid a hand on the railing and nodded once up, once down. "Excellent idea," he said, but his now unsmiling gaze was on Sonia's silver sedan as it disappeared down the road toward the center of town.

* * *

Back in the store, Turner Rao gave me a frantic look as I inhaled the welcome scents of bacon and biscuits. Danna Beedle, my able assistant since I'd opened last fall, had traveled to San Diego for a volleyball tournament. Turner was the new part- time employee I'd hired and I'd apparently been outside a few minutes too long. He frantically flipped whole wheat banana walnut pancakes, turned sausages and strips of bacon, and rescued two almost-burnt slices of toast. Across the room a customer with an empty platter waved his hand in the air like he wanted his check, while another caught my eye and held up her coffee mug signaling for a refill. I pointed Professor Connolly to a table for two in the corner, mouthed, "Sorry" to Turner, and grabbed the coffeepot.

I'd restored order in a couple of minutes, grateful I'd found the slim twenty-two- year-old to help out. Danna and I had agreed we really needed a third worker. Turner was a good enough short-order cook to man the grill, and despite his recent college degree he didn't mind waiting and busing tables or doing cleanup. Danna and I also wore all hats around here, although I was the only one who did the books and paid the bills. It was my business, after all.

I'd purchased the run-down country store over a year ago, and had used the carpentry skills my late mother taught me back home in California to carry out the renovation work myself. Now I was the proud proprietor of a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant. I also sold antique cookware and a few other odds and ends in the store, including my aunt Adele's gorgeous yarn from her nearby sheep farm. I was almost finished renovating the second floor of the building into several rooms I planned to rent out as a bed and breakfast. The village of South Lick in scenic hilly Brown County had become my home — my apartment conveniently abutted the store at the back — and I couldn't be happier.

My new life would fall apart, however, if I didn't keep my customers as happy as I was. I delivered a menu to the professor and asked if he'd like coffee.

"Sure." He gave the menu a once-over glance and handed it back. "I'll have the Kitchen Sink omelet, with biscuits, plus bacon — crisp — and hash browns."

In the background buzz of diners chatting, silver clinking, sausages sizzling, I waited for the please. When it wasn't forthcoming, I said, "You got it."

"I don't suppose you serve Bloody Marys, do you?"

"Sorry, no liquor license." I decided not to mention I had an entirely legal BYOB policy in place. I didn't advertise it, but regulars knew they could bring a bottle of wine or a couple of beers to lunch to celebrate special occasions. The state restricted the practice to wine and beer only, and I wasn't allowed to pour it. Someone occasionally showed up with a bottle for Sunday brunch, but so far never for breakfast on a Friday.

"I didn't think so." Connolly's mouth pulled down in disappointment. "Where's the best bar in town?" He drummed his fingers on the table. A gold ring featuring an embedded diamond dented his right pinkie.

I glanced at the big old schoolroom clock on the wall — he wanted a bar before nine in the morning? "The Casino Tavern, on the other side of town. Actually it's the only bar in town." A casino in South Lick had flourished for a couple of decades over a hundred years ago, in the heyday of mineral springs spas. The present-day bar was a casino in name only. "The conference is in Nashville, right?" I'd lived in Brown County for four years. By now I said the name of the colorful artsy county seat like the locals did — Nashvul.

"That's correct."

"The bar's on the road out of town heading that way. You probably passed it on your way here." I saw Turner make the hand signal meaning an order was ready. "I'll go get your food started."

Apparently please wasn't the only word missing from this Bostonian's vocabulary, since he didn't thank me, either. I gave Turner the order, delivered three platters to a table of South Lick residents, and poured the professor's coffee. He didn't even look up from whatever he was doing on his phone.

Back at the grill, I asked Turner, "Want to switch?" We tried to change jobs once an hour or so to avoid boredom — and to give each other a break from rude customers.

"Sure. One second."

I watched Turner's long smooth-skinned fingers deftly wrap around the handle of the pitcher holding the pancake batter. His mother, Mona Turner-Rao, was a local girl but his father, Sajit, had been born in India. The family owned a maple tree farm in the county and Sajit was also somehow affiliated with the university over in Bloomington. After pouring six pancakes worth of batter into identically sized disks, Turner pulled off his stained apron and donned a fresh one from the box.

I was checking the status of the current orders on the lined-up slips of paper when the bell on the door jangled.

"What's he doing here?" Turner muttered under his breath.

His father hurried toward us. He wore a fleece vest over a blue Oxford button- down, and was bulky where his son was slim. "Turner, I need your help at the farm." His accent wasn't a strong one, but his son's name sounded almost like "Durner."

"Baba, I told you." Turner kept his voice low. "I have a job. I can't just leave."

"But we have much to prepare for tomorrow. You know we are hosting the sugaring off demonstration for the festival." His hands flew through the air as he talked.

The festival schedule included opportunities to learn about sugaring off — like the one at the Rao maple farm — fun events for children, a Native American maple syrup demonstration in Brown County State Park, and themed culinary cook-offs like the one this afternoon. Sugaring off, the process of slowly boiling down maple sap to remove the water, resulting in thick, sweet syrup, was particularly popular. The organizers were hoping the cook-offs would draw crowds, too.

"I can't." Turner, at six feet standing several inches taller than his father, lowered his face right in front of his father's. "Robbie would be alone here. I'm not leaving."

Mr. Rao exclaimed in whatever his native language was. I didn't understand the word but it sure sounded like he was exasperated.

"You are a smart boy." He shook his head at his son. "What are you doing cooking for your job? And cooking meat, no less! We paid for you to earn your degree. You should be using it, not doing women's work making American breakfast."

I sniffed, and tore my gaze away from the pair. Just in time I flipped the cakes before they burned, and scooted four crispy sausages to the cooler end of the grill. Turner had told me his father wasn't particularly happy about him working for me, but I hadn't realized Mr. Rao felt so strongly about it. "Women's work" indeed. What century did he live in, anyway?

"You didn't pay much for my B.A.," Turner said. "You know I got free tuition because of your IU connection, and I lived at home."

"I have sacrificed much for you. You are my only son."

"And Su is in med school. Your only daughter will be a doctor one day. That should make you happy. Me, I love to cook," Turner said, loading his forearms with four orders. "I want to be a chef. This is great experience for me. Please don't make a big fuss, Baba."

"Leave Sujita out of this. It will be on your head if a hundred people come tomorrow and we are not ready." Turner's father turned away with a huff of air.

I ladled out an omelet's worth of beaten eggs, but out of the corner of my eye I saw Mr. Rao freeze. Now what was wrong? I sprinkled sautéed green peppers, mushrooms, and onions onto the egg base, added capers and a handful of grated cheddar, and looked up to see what the problem was. Sajit stared with narrowed eyes at Warren Connolly, who shot him the curled lip under flared nostrils for a second. Then Connolly plastered on a fake grin and waved to Sajit with one pudgy hand.

"Dr. Rao. Join me, would you?" the professor called.

So it was Dr. Rao.

"Climate change denier," Turner's father muttered. This time whatever word he added after that sounded a lot more like a curse than the earlier expression of frustration, but he made his way to Connolly's table.

I exchanged a glance with Turner. He only shrugged. As he delivered the loaded plates to their destination, I turned half of the omelet over onto itself, hoping the two scholars' interaction wasn't going to turn into a display of in-store fireworks. Uproar was never good for business.

CHAPTER 2

Despite it being March, not July, fireworks was exactly what the conversation between Drs. Rao and Connolly became after Turner's dad sat at Connolly's table. Every time I glanced their way, Dr. Rao did not look happy and Professor Connolly kept a smug, self-satisfied expression on his face. Turner asked his dad if he wanted coffee or something to eat, but Dr. Rao waved him away with an impatient gesture.

After about ten minutes Dr. Rao stood so suddenly his chair clattered over sideways. "No. That is simply not acceptable. All the science is against you and you know it." If voices could kill, the deadly force of his would have.

I watched from the cooking area as Professor Connolly blinked. Turner cringed. Other customers turned to stare.

Connolly flipped open his hands. "You have your opinion, Sajit, and I have mine."

"It's not a matter of opinion," Turner's dad spat out, each word distinct. "The maple genus is suffering all over as the temperatures warm. The entire cycle is disrupted. Insects, microflora, all of it."

"My funders believe otherwise."

Dr. Rao stared at Connolly. He turned on his heel and left without saying goodbye to his son. Turner frowned but didn't seem to mind. I was just glad the exchange had ended without a Roman candle going off, not to mention an even bigger explosion. Nobody wants their delicious breakfast interrupted by someone else's fireworks. Interesting that it ran along the same theme as Sonia's objection to Connolly earlier.

The professor left a few minutes later and the next hour turned so busy I didn't have time to think. Rushes like that were exhausting but always proved great for the old bottom line. The crowd had to be due to all the folks here for the festival. I served and cooked for far fewer familiar faces than usual. Ten o'clock brought the opposite, a total lull in business.

"Sit down for a few while you can, Turner," I said. "And make yourself whatever you want to eat. If it's as busy as it was earlier, we won't have a minute for lunch until we close at one-thirty." I was still trying to ensure he felt welcome as my employee and also paced himself on rest and eating. The last thing we needed was one of us passing out from low blood sugar. I threw a slice of sharp cheese on top of an unclaimed pancake and topped it with another, making myself an ad hoc sandwich. I brought it and a glass of milk to a table and sank blissfully into a chair.

He joined me several minutes later, with a plate full of an egg-veggie scramble and a pile of overly crisp hash browns.

"I didn't realize your dad felt so strongly about you working here," I ventured after he sat. "I hope it's going to be okay at home."

He swallowed a bite of potato. "It'll be fine. But it's time for me to move out. Dad grew up in India, and the expectations for first sons — and especially only sons — are pretty different there, even now."

"But you were born here, right?"

"I sure was. At the hospital in Bloomington. A Hoosier, born and bred, even if I don't quite look like one. And I haven't gone anywhere, Robbie, except twice to visit the rels in India." He sounded wistful.

I cocked my head. "Your father seemed upset you're cooking meat, too. Do you mind cooking it? I'm sorry. I never thought to ask you."

"I don't mind. The Hindu religion discourages the eating of meat, particularly beef, because the cow is sacred. But my father knows I'm only preparing hamburgers, not consuming them." He gestured to his plate. "It's not like we live in a vegetarian country, anyway."

"Especially here in Indiana. People love their meat. Beef, pork, lamb, you name it." I wanted to ask what his mom thought of Turner's choice to train as a chef, but I didn't want him to feel that I, his boss, was prying into his personal life. His dad had brought the issue to my grill — asking about his father was fair game. Then Turner answered my unasked question anyway.

"At least Mom's got my back. She's always said Su and I could do whatever we wanted with our lives, as long as it was legal and we could support ourselves." He scarfed down his eggs while I finished my pancake sandwich. "Are you all set for this afternoon?"

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Biscuits and Slashed Browns"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Edith Maxwell.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Biscuits and Slashed Browns 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Fleshes out her characters which gives the story fun read.
Anonymous 4 months ago
This was the first time I read this book but I found a kind of interesting it was kind of slow at first but I got into it after a couple of chapters it was an exciting fast-paced pretty good novel. Looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
GratefulGrandma 9 months ago
Robbie Jordan is back in the fourth "Country Store Mystery". She is one of my favourite protaganists. She is smart, loves to solve puzzles, has some flaws, is loyal and caring and is in a burgeoning relationship. I also like how she recently found her father and is also developing a relationship with him and his family. She does not inject herself into investigations unless she has a good reason and is usually welcomed by the small town police force. This visit to South Lick, Indiana finds them celebrating Maple Syrup. It is a festival that involves a baking contest and activities out at the local maple tree farm. Robbie's newest employee, Tucker, is the son of the farm owner. When a visiting professor, Warren Connolly, ends up dead at the farm, after a public argument between him and the owner of the farm, a fellow professor as well, Robbie tries to find the real culprit and get Tucker's father released from jail. Her friend and chef, is alos being investigated as it appears it was her knife that was found with the victim. With some drug busts also going on and Robbie short handed due to Danna's soccer injury, she has her hands full. I love the townsfolk in this series. They are all supportive of one another, although gossip still reins. The sayings that both Buck, the sheriff and Robbie's Aunt Adele come up with, have me chuckling throughout the book. The Pans 'N Pancake store is a great setting for these stories. An old time country store that serves breakfast and lunch as well as selling old time and antique kitchen implements is just the thing to make these stories seem real. The relationship of Abe and Robbie is sweet and developing at a nice pace. I so hope things continue for them. Overall, this was a great story, well written, great pacing that kept me hooked until the end. I will say I pretty much figured out the murderer about halfway through, but the reasons for the murder were still a surprise. I definitely recommend this wonderful Cozy Mystery book and the series as well. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Anonymous 11 months ago
GREAT!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Gripping til the end.
JayRoberts More than 1 year ago
The fourth book in the Country Store Mystery series finds Robbie Jordan getting set to take part in the Brown County Maple Festival while dealing with the absence of her right hand woman Danna, who suffered an injury that is keeping her out of work for a bit. In her place is Turner Rao, the part time worker Robbie hired. But when a visiting college professor from Boston turns up dead, Robbie finds herself thrust once again into being an amateur sleuth. It seems Professor Connolly made enemies wherever he went. From fellow scientists who despised his fake research to people he came across in his every day life, the man was loathed by pretty much anyone who knew him. With the suspect list very long, Robbie has a lot of work ahead of her. When her fellow chef friend Christina is tied to the case, the stakes become more personal. She knows it wasn't her friend, but Robbie invariably stumbles across other potential suspects and their possible motives. This leads her into conflict with Turner's parents and other residents of South Lick as well. I liked the story and the varied plot threads in this book. I was a little worried that Professor Connolly being universally loathed was a bit too similar to the victim in the third book of the series, but the similarity ended there. The reveal of the killer was nicely done and a bit creepy. The resolution to that confrontation may have left Robbie justifiably shaken but as a reader it was a fun and exciting read. Day's weaving of the supporting cast in and out of the story is also top notch. Robbie's relationship with Abe is a nice subplot and what occurred along that line was nice. I enjoy how the author shows that Robbie is scarred by past relationship woes and understandably shaky, but doesn't have her cross over into being a pathetic caricature of a woman done wrong. I did notice that Robbie's tendency to a busybody when on the investigatory hunt is really costing her friends or at least the potential of them. I can understand what she does when she gets information but I can also see how her sharing the information with the cops would upset those that feel she betrayed their confidences. I think this is part of why I like the series so much. It's not a weepy kind of cozy mystery where you wonder how the series lead can be so competent while solving murders but absolutely unable to function as a grown adult in all other aspects of life. Robbie Jordan is a fully realized character with scars left by life and she has flaws that would upset other people. It makes her that much more of an interesting protagonist and that in turn makes the Country Store Mystery series that much more of a draw for me.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
This series continues to get better and better. Robbie Jordan is settled in South Lick, her Country Store, Pans and Pancakes is a going concern. The town takes advantage a tourism opportunity by hosting the National Maple Syrup Festival. Visitors come from all over and Robbie even hosts an event at the store. The near by university has been mentioned before, and this time, the victim has ties to the school as well as the town. A chef's knife points toward Robbie's chef friend, so she naturally does a bit of sleuthing on her own. I like many of the secondary characters. Robbie's newish boyfriend Abe and her aunt are always supportive. There were plenty of twists and many new suspects to keep me guessing until the end.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
This series continues to get better and better. Robbie Jordan is settled in South Lick, her Country Store, Pans and Pancakes is a going concern. The town takes advantage a tourism opportunity by hosting the National Maple Syrup Festival. Visitors come from all over and Robbie even hosts an event at the store. The near by university has been mentioned before, and this time, the victim has ties to the school as well as the town. A chef's knife points toward Robbie's chef friend, so she naturally does a bit of sleuthing on her own. I like many of the secondary characters. Robbie's newish boyfriend Abe and her aunt are always supportive. There were plenty of twists and many new suspects to keep me guessing until the end.
C_Fowler More than 1 year ago
Biscuits and Slashed Browns takes place during the Brown County Maple Syrup Festival in Big Lick, Indiana. Robbie Jordan and her restaurant Pans and Pancakes are taking part in the festivities, and Robbie is excited about all the business the festival is bringing to her quaint restaurant. However, when an attendee at a nearby academic conference on Maple Tree Science is found murdered at the Rao Maple Farm, the police have their hands full with plenty of suspects, as the victim was not well-liked. Robbie, a puzzle-lover at heart, cannot resist the challenge of trying to solve the mystery herself. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end -- from the down-home characters, small-town life, the rural Indiana dialects, sayings and mannerisms, and the yummy recipes at the end of the book. And, of course, there is the matter of the perplexing mystery to be solved. Even though this book is the fourth in the Country Store Mysteries, it was the first that I have read, and I found it can definitely stand on its own without any spoilers from the earlier books. Biscuits and Slashed Browns is truly a delightful book, and I highly recommend it and look forward to reading the earlier books in the series. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts We arrive in South Lick just in time for the 5th Annual National Maple Syrup Festival. The cook-off will be held at Pans ‘N Pancakes and Robbie is excited about her maple flavored entry, Maple Curry Biscuits. There is also a conference on maple tree science with many professors taking part. Some of them will also be judging the cook-off. Professor Warren Connolly from Boston is one of the judges. Robbie finds he not well liked by his fellow academics. When the man is found dead at another festival event, stabbed with a chef’s knife that happens to belong to Robbie’s friend and her employee’s father, a research biochemist disappears Robbie finds herself trying to find a missing person and a murderer. Could they both be the same person? Robbie is running her butt off quite literally in this story. One worker is searching for his dad and her assistant Danna injured herself at a volleyball tournament so she is unable to work. Visitors are pouring into town and into Pans ‘N Pancakes and most of the time Robbie is doing the cooking, the waitressing, and bussing the tables. Her plate is overflowing and she doesn’t have much time to investigate anything, but she does and gets herself into some mighty stick situations too. I have enjoyed this series from the start. Ms. Day has created wonderful characters. The dialect of the area and the dialogue including some authentic expressions make these stories so much fun to read. The pacing is swift and so much happens within these pages that is very difficult to put the book down. There was a little shakeup in the police department. The new/old investigating detective is very unique. Buck is back with his overly hearty appetite to keep Robbie in the loop of the investigation as much as he can. The suspect pool isn’t too deep but they all have a motive in one way or another so it wasn’t an easy mystery to solve. I have to mention the setting at Pans ‘N Pancakes. I have a clear picture of it in my head, not sure how truly accurate it is, but a place that serves food like Robbie does, decked out with all kinds of old kitchen gadgets sounds like my kind of place. She is also adding rooms to the place and her first guest should be arriving in the next book. It is definitely a place I would love to visit.
SewWrite More than 1 year ago
Robbie Jordan always seems to find herself in the middle of a murder mystery. This time the murdered man, Professor Connolly, was eating in her restaurant and seen arguing with several customers. When he turns up dead on the property of Robbie's new helper's farm, Turner Roa's father becomes a prime suspect. Not only was he seen arguing with the professor, he disappears. Robbie does all she can to help the family find Dr. Roa and try to find the true murderer. Turner and his family do not want Robbie's help and this causes many issues between Robbie and the helper she desperately needs during this busy maple festival. While Robbie spends much of her free time trying to locate Dr. Roa and figure out who killed Professor Connolly, she uncovers many clues and puts herself in clear view of the killer. Another great read by Maddie Day. I look forward to the next book in this series as each one is better than the one before.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Maple Festival Brings a Killer Out of the Woodwork While I love breakfast foods in general, one reason is that I love maple syrup. It fits so well with so many different breakfast foods, too. So, when I heard the premise of this book, I immediately thought a maple syrup festival makes a great setting for an entry in the Country Store Mysteries, and Biscuits and Slashed Browns proved me right. Every March, Brown County, Indiana, hosts a maple syrup festival, and this year, Robbie Jordan is jumping at the opportunity to get some added publicity for her store. Pans ‘n Pancakes is hosting a maple syrup cooking competition, and Robbie is hoping her maple syrup biscuits will be a hit. However, there is drama with one of the judges. Warren Connolly is in town for the parallel academic conference, but despite his knowledge of maple syrup, he is anything but sweet. In fact, he has made multiple enemies. The morning after the contest, Dr. Connolly turns up dead. As the investigation beings, the police begin to question a chef friend of Robbie’s. Then a local maple syrup farmer goes missing. What is happening? Can Robbie find the truth before something else happens? I must say, this book got off to a bit of a rocky start. When we are first introduced to the victim, it quickly comes up that Dr. Connolly is a climate change denier. Honestly, I was afraid that might mean we’d be up for lectures on global warming. While it was mentioned again a time or two and we get a mini lecture, that was dropped after the first couple of chapters. In fact, even the suspects who brought that up quickly developed into characters with other motives for wanting Dr. Connolly dead. He wasn’t a nice guy at all, so there are plenty of suspects. There’s so much going on that there was never a dull moment, and I was kept guessing until we reached the logical and suspenseful climax. I love this series because I love the setting and the cast of characters. They were in fine form here, although one of my favorites was sidelined. Still, I hardly missed her since the rest entertained like always. As I mention, the suspects are strong, and I have a feeling we might have met a new series regular or two here. And the book would not be complete without recipes. We get five here, everything from maple curry biscuits to chocolate biscotti and roasted garlic hummus. If your mouth isn’t already watering from reading the book, these will definitely put you over the edge. This series continues to give us puzzling mysteries filled with delightful characters and a charming setting – exactly what a cozy mystery should have. Pick up Biscuits and Slashed Browns today and get lost in the fun. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
I feel like a broken record. Once again Maddie Day has written a very nice, well-rounded, cozy mystery. Biscuits and Slashed Browns finds Robbie Jordan and her country store and restaurant Pans 'N Pancakes hosting a breakfast-themed cook-off, featuring maple, to tie in with the annual Brown County Maple Festival. On the day of the event, out of town Professor Warren Connolly clashes with two local professors, Sonia Genest and Sajit Rao. Sajit happens to be the father of Robbie’s newest hire, Turner. In less than twenty minutes, Professor Connolly seems to get on everyone he encounters bad side, including Robbie. Later in the day, Connolly returns to the restaurant for the judging event. When he chokes on one of Robbie’s biscuits, she immediately starts to wonder if someone is trying to kill the man. Robbie is proved right when Connolly’s body is later discovered at the Rao farm and Sajit goes missing. Once again, Robbie takes it upon herself to find a killer. There is no shortage in the number of people who had an issue with Warren Connolly. While it’s true he didn’t believe in climate change and may or may not have falsified information to steal grant money, is that really a reason to kill him? As Robbie starts to investigate, she learns more than she bargained for. It seems Professor Connolly was worse than she ever imagined. With twists and turns and various forks in the road, Biscuits and Slashed Browns takes readers on a wild journey. In the process of looking for a killer, Robbie comes the closest she’s ever been to losing her life. With courage and determination, Robbie will single handedly peel away the layers of the mystery to make sure justice is served. **Received a copy from Kensington and reviewed voluntarily.**
Missisue4 More than 1 year ago
How do they do it ?? Authors I mean..... It amazes me when I read a book what imagination the author has....such a talent !! Take Maddie Day for instance .... one line in her Biscuits and Slashed Browns is going to stay with me forever. A river dirt cheap. Whatever does that mean ?? Well it means a word that it sounds exactly like....arrivederci. ( I betcha you'll never say it that way ever again ) And the Country Store Mystery series is full of quirky sayings and words just like that. One thing that I always do when I read a book is I read everything. I read the dedication, the acknowledgements and the authors notes. You learn a lot by reading those. You read the author's recognition to people that have helped them in their research, you read about their family and friends who support their writing, and you realize that there is so much more that goes into writing a book than you ever imagined !!! It makes you appreciate the story even more. Maddie Day goes above and beyond with her Country Store Mystery series with each book drawing you deeper and deeper into South Lick Indiana and Robbie Jordan's life. You will fall instantly in love with Robbie, her Pans 'N Pancakes restaurant/store, her little town, her friends and family and especially the grub !!! Even the murders that occur will help draw you in !! And in Biscuits and Slashed Browns with a Professor being murdered during a Maple Syrup Festival right next to a sugar shack how can you not want to dive right in ?? Robbie always does.... Robbie has this love for solving puzzles and her love and devotion to her community will always have her asking questions and doing whatever she can to solve any case that involves someone she knows. And well in a small town, theres a good chance she knows whoever is involved. So you might coulda want to mosey on up to a comfy seat and take a load off whilst you catch up with Robbie and her crew....believe me Maddie Day says it a lot better but I think y'all catch my drift.....
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day is the fourth book in A Country Store Mystery series. Robbie Jordan owns Pans ‘N Pancakes in South Lick, Tennessee. It is March and time for the Fifth Annual Brown County Maple Festival. Robbie has arranged for a breakfast cook off to be held at her restaurant and Robbie will be making her maple biscuits. Professor Warren Connolly is one of the judges for the contest, but several people are not happy with him. Robbie witnesses him having a disagreement with Professor Sonia Genest and Dr. Sajit Rao. The next morning Warren is found dead by the sugar shack on the Rao’s maple farm. The murder weapon turns out to be one of Christina James’ Tojiro knives. Christina is Robbie’s best friend and she has an excellent motive for wishing harm to come to Warren. Robbie knows that her friend did not kill Warren and sets out to find the culprit. The suspect list is quite long since Warren seemed to make enemies wherever he ventured. Then Robbie’s prime suspect, Sajit goes missing. While searching for Sajit, Robbie stumbles upon an illegal venture. Will Robbie find the killer, or will she end up the next victim? Biscuits and Slashed Browns is well-written and entertaining. The book was easy to read and had a good pace. The characters are well-developed, colorful and relatable (they will remind you of your family and friends). I appreciate that the author includes characters of various ages and nationalities. I enjoy the great small-town locale. While Biscuits and Slashed Browns is the fourth book in the series, it can be read alone. The author provides readers with Robbie’s history and touches on past storylines. There is a dash of romance which plays out softly in the background. I like that Abe supports Robbie in her sleuthing (though he does worry about her). The mystery was nicely woven into the story, there are several suspects and the author provided good clues to aid readers. I love the vintage implements featured in the story. The cozy elements include family, friends, the making of maple syrup, cooking, Southern colloquialisms, humor, romance and a smidgen of jealousy. There are recipes included at the end of the book. Biscuits and Slashed Browns is my favorite book in A Country Store Mystery series.
LolaReviews More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it. This is such a great cozy mystery series and I was eager to start this book and follow another adventure of Robbie Jordan and her friends. This book had a lot of the same elements I look forward to each book, the pans and pancakes store and the days Robbie spends working there, the descriptions of some delicious sounding food, a good mystery and a great group of friends and family who surround the main character. In Biscuits and Slashed Browns the mystery surrounds a professor who has been killed during the annual maple festival. There are multiple suspects, but almost everyone is hiding something. While I really enjoyed this book, for some reason the mystery didn’t grab me as much as some of the earlier books. It still was a good mystery tough. I liked how there are lots of secrets and for a while I wasn’t sure who had done it as there were so many things unclear. When the murderer was revealed, I wasn’t too surprised as it was one of the few suspects left at that point. Not a big surprise, but it was a good build up with lots of hints slowly being revealed over the course of the book. One of my favorite parts of this series is seeing the side plot lines about Robbie’s personal life continue, there is some progress with the bed and breakfast rooms she’s working on, her father will come to visit soon (I hope that’s in the next book), some developments with her employees in the store, her love life with Abe is part of the book again and I am sure I am forgetting some other things. There’s a nice amount of continuity in this series and that makes it extra fun to read in order. Robbie is a great character to read about and I liked how most of the time she makes smart decisions. There is this scene in this book were she’s going in a potential dangerous scene and actually calls for backup, which I thought was nice. She doesn’t run headlong into danger, although the danger does manage to find her. I also liked catching up with the side characters and meeting a few new ones, like Turner. The maple festival was a nice backdrop, although there’s not too much focus on it, except for a few scenes. There was a baking competition and some mentions of other events. I also liked how Robbie works in her store every day it was open, I liked how her store was her first responsibility and solving the puzzle would come in her spare time. To summarize: another great read in this series. I always like returning to this series and following Robbie as she solves another mystery. It was a good mystery with lots of suspects and everyone seemed to be hiding something. I wasn’t too surprised when we found out who the murderer was, but there was a good build up toward it. I also like the side plot lines about Robbie’s life, her friends and the store. And there is a nice amount of continuity in this series.
Storytellermary More than 1 year ago
BISCUITS AND SLASHED BROWNS by Maddie Day Warning, may cause insomnia and/or dereliction of chores. My cure for insomnia is a cup of warm milk with a smidgeon of rum and reading to a point where Robbie preps the kitchen for the next morning’s rush and goes to sleep. No cure for neglected chores; they can just wait. Despite her best intentions and her friends’ warnings, Robbie can’t help turning her puzzle-solving mind to mystery, especially when the shadow of murder falls upon friends she is SURE are innocent. It's a very engrossing book, with many little clues to intrigue. I do appreciate it when murder victims are not nice people . . . one still disapproves of murder, but it's not a tragic loss. Many twists and turns. “Since when did life ever go as planned?” I felt for Robbie when kitchen help fell through and Pans ‘N Pancakes was busy — thank goodness for helpful friends! (Reminded of why I stopped playing Diner Dash, too nerve-wracking with unhappy customers). In addition to the mystery, there are friendships and cooking and maple syrup making. These people begin to feel like real friends, so I want to tell Betsy about the combination lockbox our Ambulance Service installed to hold front door keys, so she won’t be locked out ever again. I felt sorry for the guy having oatmeal on Italian Day, could some herbs be added so he has something special? I was intrigued by the Leatherdos multi-tool (I looked it up) but fear it wouldn’t stay in my hair either. I also looked up Gruelle paintings — lovely indeed. The regional expressions were a bonus pleasure. If you don’t like this book, “I’ll eat my hat and swallow the feather whole.” “A river dirt cheap” for now.
Mama_Cat More than 1 year ago
Springtime in the Midwest is a beautiful place, with those little “big” things that make the season unique and brought to life by Maddie Day. Fourth in A Country Store series, Biscuits and Slashed Browns can be read as a standalone or within the series. The descriptions, such as the crocus growing, the (mostly) delightful characters, and a plot with just enough suspects for Robbie Jordan to ask a few questions around town to get her best friend Christina off the suspect list. Robbie owns Pans ‘N Pancakes, one of the most popular places for coffee, breakfast, or lunch in South Lick, Indiana. She is remodeling the second floor for a bed and breakfast. At 27, she is a hard-working entrepreneur, happy with her life and enjoying the people in the town where her mother had grown up. March brings the Brown County Maple Festival, with tourists and activities centered around the liquid gold from sugar maple trees. Also occurring is an academic conference on maple tree science. The first event is at Robbie’s restaurant, the Breakfast Cook-Off. Entries have been brought for tasting by the judges, who will decide the best maple-flavored breakfast item. Judges include Christina James, local top chef and Robbie’s best friend, Nick Mendes, chef at the Nashville Inn, and Warren Connolly, a professor from Boston College. When he tries Robbie’s breakfast item, he shoves half of the maple-flavored biscuit in his mouth and chokes. Were it not for the fast action of Abe, Robbie’s boyfriend and a former Army medic, he might have died before help could arrive. Connolly was nobody’s favorite professor. Sonia Genest, local professor, and Sajit Rao, a research biochemist whose son, Turner, works part time for Robbie, have words with him in the restaurant because of his “fake” research and pooh-poohing the effects of climate change. It should come as no surprise to anyone when Connolly is found dead. The surprise is where…at the Rao’s farm, behind the “sugar shack”, readied to start demos of the process that day. When discovered that Sajit Rao is missing, the bad guy/ gal could be anyone’s guess. Except for Christina, whose very expensive chef’s knife is the murder weapon. The characters are unique, an eclectic mix. All who need to be are very well defined. I like Robbie best, then Adele – who wouldn’t want this beautiful woman as an aunt? The author has carefully designed strong characters, especially the women. Robbie is a Jill of many trades, hard-working yet able to appreciate simple joys. I like how the characters speak the colloquialisms of the area, especially Buck. The plot kept me intrigued from the start. The lead-in to the crime prepares the reader with the circumstances. There are plot twists and turns that spin who the bad guy/ gal might be. I was a little disappointed to have figured out the culprit, but not the motive, early in the story, yet enjoyed watching how each of the suspects were vetted for veracity and wondered at times if I had been wrong. Overall, this is a great fourth in series, and I highly recommend it to those who enjoy “foodie” cozy mysteries that are well-written with a solid female sleuth and a down-home flair. From a grateful heart: I received a copy of this ARC from the publisher and was under no obligation to provide a review, positive or otherwise.
Samantha1020 More than 1 year ago
Summary from Goodreads: "For country-store owner Robbie Jordan, the National Maple Syrup Festival is a sweet escape from late-winter in South Lick, Indiana--until murder saps the life out of the celebration . . . As Robbie arranges a breakfast-themed cook-off at Pans 'N Pancakes, visitors pour into Brown County for the annual maple extravaganza. Unfortunately, that includes Professor Connolly, a know-it-all academic from Boston who makes enemies everywhere he goes--and this time, bad manners prove deadly. Soon after clashing with several scientists at a maple tree panel, the professor is found dead outside a sugar shack, stabbed to death by a local restaurateur's knife. When an innocent woman gets dragged into the investigation and a biologist mysteriously disappears, Robbie drops her winning maple biscuits to search for answers. But can she help police crack the case before another victim is caught in a sticky situation with a killer?" My Thoughts: This cozy mystery series is a personal favorite of mine so I've been waiting impatiently to get my hands on this book. There is just something so delightful about diving back into this series with each book. They have almost become comfort reads at this point as I know to expect mouthwatering descriptions of all sorts of food along with a mystery that keeps me guessing. In this book, Robbie gets involved in the search for a killer after her aunt comes across a body during the Maple Syrup Festival. Robbie's knack for puzzles and natural curiosity always seem to pull her into investigating which in turn leads her into trouble. I loved that with this book we got to see all of the characters that we know and love but also were introduced to a few new ones. My favorite parts of the book though are the times when Robbie is working in her restaurant. I love the little details that are included about prepping the various foods that she is going to serve. The times when she is actually working in her restaurant and interacting with her customers are just so fun to read about! Overall, I enjoyed this book and thought it was another good addition to this series. I feel like you basically know what you are getting when picking up these books but that isn't a bad thing. It is just that feeling of visiting with old friends - I look forward to these books so that I can dive into this world once again. It is going to be another long wait for the next book to be released but it will be worth the wait! I'm actually really excited because it looks like we will be getting the fifth book this year as well. You can certainly read this book as a standalone but I would recommend reading the series in order if possible. There are pieces from previous books that you will miss out on otherwise. Overall, this is a cozy series that I highly recommend! One of my favorites and one that I wait impatiently for each new book on. Bottom Line: Another great addition to one of my favorite cozy mystery series! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Biscuits And Slashed Browns is the fourth book in the A Country Store Mystery series. Robbie Jordan own Pans ‘N Pancakes, a restaurant and country store specializing in useful and collectible kitchenware items in South Lick, Indiana. Spring is on the way and the sap is beginning to run and South Lick is getting ready for Brown County’s annual Maple Festival. Robbie will also be hosting and an entrant in a contest for the best breakfast item with maple syrup as an ingredient. Also going on this weekend is an academic conference on maple sciences. On the morning when everything is to get under, Warren Connolly, a maple scientist, enters Pan ‘N Pancakes and is accosted by Sonia Genest about the value of his research work. As Connolly is having his breakfast Dr. Roa approaches him and has a similar discussion as Genest. The next day, Adele, Robbie’s aunt, finds the body of Connolly, whose throat has been cut, on Dr. Roa’s maple farm. When the police go to question Dr. Roa, they are unable to find him. Turner, Dr. Roa’s son, who has been filling at Robbie’s and she doesn’t think or at least hopes Dr. Roa was involved in the killing and starts her own little investigation. When she goes to talk with Dr. Roa’s wife she senses that the wife isn’t being forthcoming about where her husband might be. Soon she learns that her close friend, Christina, had once been physically attacked by Connolly and one of her knives was the murder weapon, so she comes up on the police radar. She soon feels that for ever step forward she is taking two back. She hopes she can find the killer before someone else meets a similar fate. I love all of Maddie Day/Edith Maxwell’s books and living in Northern Indiana that just makes this one more that much more enjoyable, along with the use of some “Hoosier” dialect. Ms. Day once again provides the reader with a well-plotted and exciting story with an interesting cast of characters. Delicious sounding recipes are also included in the book. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.
Cozyfan75 More than 1 year ago
Every time I read a new book in this series, I think it's the best one yet. This one did not disappoint! South Lick is having a maple syrup festival and one of the judges ends up murdered so of course Robbie is going to do her best to find out what happened so that none of her friends ends up being blamed. As always she has to watch her back so the murderer doesn't make her the next headline. I love how Abe and Robbie's relationship is growing. It's refreshing that he doesn't get on her case for investigating even though he gets worried about her. Danna was away for most of the book and I missed her fun, quirkiness but Adele was there so at least I feel like I got my share of favorite characters that I've grown to love. Turner is a new employee but he fits right in. I found myself missing Octavia Slade who has been detective in the last two books but this time we have a guy who is local but back from whatever leave he was on. Like all the books in this series, one of the ongoing themes is family and that it doesn't always have to be people related to you to be your family. That's one of the things I love about cozies, the warm family feeling to be had.
arkieclown More than 1 year ago
BISCUITS AND SLASHED BROWNS in the Country Store Mystery Series is a riveting cozy murder mystery that has you on the edge of your seat at times while you’re pulling for Robbie Jordan to solve the case before anyone else gets hurt, including Robbie. The characters in the book are enduring, colorful and times irritating like lots of small town folks. You will fall in love with townsfolk as well as their quaint southern sayings. If like me, a southerner, it will make you smile remembering hearing them from the time you were a small child. There’s a nice mix of nationalities, genders and ages in this book which I found really nice. The story is face paced making you to want to keep reading. I know it was very hard for me to put the book down. It has a bit of romance with the continued involvement between Robbie and Abe, but it takes a back seat to the case of the whodunit mystery. I was glad she included some of the recipes for the dishes that were mentioned in the book. Made my mouth water when they were mentioned in the book and I know I’ll definitely be trying them! Maddie Day did NOT disappoint us in BISCUITS AND SLASHED BROWNS! I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see what adventures Robbie and the town of South Like, Indiana can get into.