June’s annual Brown County Bluegrass Festival at the Bill Monroe Music Park in neighboring Beanblossom is always a hit for Robbie’s country store and café, Pans ‘N Pancakes. This year, Robbie is even more excited, because she’s launching a new bed and breakfast above her shop. A few festival musicians will be among Robbie’s first guests, along with her father, Roberto, and his wife, Maria. But the celebration is cut short when a performer is found choked to death by a banjo string. Now all the banjo players are featured in a different kind of lineup. To clear their names, Robbie must pair up with an unexpected partner to pick at the clues and find the plucky killer before he can conduct an encore performance . . .
Includes Recipes for You to Try!
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
A crow scratched out a call from a tall black maple at the edge of the music festival seating area. A shiver rippled through me, but I shook it off. I don't believe in bad omens.
The bluegrass group onstage had finished with a flourish and a bow. The applause diminished and the buzz of voices increased as the musicians packed up their instruments and left the stage. I smiled at Roberto and Maria Fracasso seated in camp chairs next to me. My father and his wife were visiting from Italy, and what was a more American event to immerse them in than the Brown County Bluegrass Festival? Especially since Roberto had confided in me that he'd grown to love the twangy energetic genre when he'd been a visiting graduate student here all those years before.
"Abe is up next." I pointed to the stage with the giant American flag as backdrop. Above it stretched a big banner reading "Back Home Again in Indiana." My boyfriend Abe had just appeared, banjo case in hand. My guests had met him last night at the dinner I'd thrown for them, my aunt, and her beau. Everyone had gotten along great. Actually, Roberto knew Abe from when he'd lived with the O'Neill family almost thirty years ago, but Abe had been so young he barely remembered the man who had been the Italian graduate student in town on a research grant.
"Roberta — no, I should call you Robbie," Roberto began.
"Either is fine." Roberta was my given name, after all, even though I hadn't known I was named for him until recently.
"Well, I am very happy." My father reached for my hand and squeezed it with his firm, smooth grip. "The weather, the music, but most of all to be with you. Giusto, Maria?"
She simply nodded and smiled. Even though Maria's English was about as bad as my Italian, the universal language of smiles went a long way. I was happy, too, getting to spend time with the father I never knew I had before last fall. And he was right about the weather. It was perfect. Early June, warm but not too hot, not yet buggy, with daylight lasting well into the evening. As crowded as the Bill Monroe Music Park grounds here in southern Indiana were, it was a good thing daytime highs weren't any warmer than the low eighties.
A petite woman in her fifties paused next to me at the end of the row of chairs. She wore a yellow festival visor on her cap of bottle-blond hair. Clipboard in hand, cell phone at the ready in a holster on her belt, she looked like she was in charge. I glanced at her face and recognized Sue Berry, a local woman who often came with her husband to my country store restaurant for breakfast.
"Hey, Sue," I said. "Are you working here?"
She looked startled, then smiled down at me. "I'm running the whole shebang this year, Robbie, if you can even believe it. Coulda knocked me dead with a flyswatter when they upped and asked." Her laugh was a peal of melodic notes that made you want to laugh right along.
"Somebody clearly made the right choice," I replied. "Everything seems to be running smoothly."
"I got a lot of helpers, but yeah, we're better organized than a marching band in the Super Bowl."
I introduced her to my father and Maria, and Sue leaned over to shake their hands.
"I don't talk no eye-talian," she said. "But you folks are surely welcome to our festival. Imagine, you came all the way from Europe to hear some of our hillbilly music."
Maria looked completely lost at Sue's local twang, and Roberto frowned.
"What is hilly billy?" he asked.
"Hillbilly means the traditional music of the people from around here, from Appalachia, from Kentucky and Tennessee," I said to the accompaniment of Sue's nod. "It's also called bluegrass, folk, or old-timey music." My Aunt Adele, who had lived her whole life a few miles from here, also used the term hillbilly music.
"Ah, I see." Roberto's frown slid away.
The amplified sound of instruments tuning up brought my attention to the stage. A fiddler with his hair in a knot on top of his head played a riff, then stopped to adjust the tuning. Pia Bianchi, a lanky woman with spiky red hair, a short denim skirt, and turquoise cowboy boots, plucked a banjo and turned the tuning pegs.
"She's got the nerve," Sue muttered under her breath.
"Pia does?" I asked. Pia and I had both joined a puzzle group a month ago, and so far she'd proved a little testy. Nothing major, but not a winner of the Miss Congeniality crown, either. I didn't know she played bluegrass, though, or I would have told Abe. Unnecessarily, as it appeared.
"The very same." Sue gestured with her chin. "Pia Bianchi. We used to be friends. Now she owes me a boatload of money and she ain't paying it back like she promised. I can't believe she's rubbing my nose in it, being onstage like she is."
Roberto gazed at Sue. "Did you say Pia Bianchi?"
"In the flesh," Sue answered.
"I know a Bianchi family back home. Their daughter Pia went to the States for college twenty years ago and never came home." He squinted at the stage. "I didn't see her since she was a girl, though. I don't know if this woman is the Pia from my town or not."
Maria tugged at his sleeve and an interchange in rapid Italian followed.
He faced Sue and me again. "My wife, she says this is the same Pia. She knows her twin sister, her ... uh ... Robbie, how do you say perfect copy twin?"
"Sì, sì, sì. That is it. Maria says the twin looks like the one on the stage."
Sue snorted. "Well, I'd like to take and drag her sorry butt off that there stage and make her pay up. That's what I'd like to do."
I'd never seen this side of Sue. Previously she'd always been a congenial diner in my restaurant or a grieving mother when one of her daughters had been murdered. Her annoyance with Pia was borderline angry.
Onstage, Abe stood facing Pia, both with banjos slung across their chests. Abe's fists were on his waist, while she held her instrument close to her body.
"No, we aren't going to do that number," Abe said, his ire clearly amplified.
"I wrote it and I want to play it." Pia's voice, also loud and clear, sounded defiant.
Did she know their mikes were live?
"We have six people in this group. You agreed to be part of it. It's not a solo act. What do I have to do to get you to understand?" His voice rose.
Abe and I had been a steady twosome since last winter, and I well knew it took a lot to push the normally easygoing, genial, caring man to the point of that kind of annoyance. So much that it almost never happened.
"Are you threatening me?" Pia asked.
"Of course not!" He turned away with a frustrated move, then twisted back to look at her.
"Hey, hang on, dude." The fiddler stepped forward and touched Abe's elbow. "I know Pia's song, man. It's totally good. She's got talent, man."
Abe shook his head. "No. We're sticking with the plan."
"Oh, for pity's sake," Sue rushed toward the sound booth, a raised platform at the back of the audience area.
A young man dressed in black hurried across the stage toward Abe and Pia.
"Come on," Abe urged Pia and the fiddler. "It's time to start. We have the playlist we agreed on."
The stagehand faced the sound booth and made a slicing motion across his throat. I could see the worry on his face.
"Fine. Have it your way," Pia said. "But don't think I won't remember this. I can't be held responsible if something happens to — "
The amplification went dead.CHAPTER 2
After things seemed like they'd calmed down onstage, I excused myself to visit the facilities. When I came out, I heard the rhythmic thudding and tapping of clogging. To the left of the restroom building was a wooden platform a couple of inches high. A banjo and a fiddle played as a man and a woman moved their feet in fast, tricky steps. The dance looked like a bluegrass meld of tap dancing and step dancing. I took a second look. The woman dancing was Beth Ferguson and the fiddler was her partner Ed Molina, a couple occupying one of my B&B rooms. Beth was a slender woman in a vintage dress, with dark anklets above lace-up black dancing shoes, her skirt swirling with her movements. The man dancing opposite her wasn't young and had a mature man's midsection in a blue sweat-stained dress shirt. But could he ever dance.
I watched mesmerized, my own feet tapping and twisting in place. Sue came up next to me.
"Aren't they amazing?" I asked. When she didn't answer, I glanced over at her. "Don't you like clogging?"
Her mouth twisted like she'd tasted a sour lemon. "I like the dance just fine. It's the dancers, or rather one dancer, I'm unhappy with."
"Why?" A ray of early evening sunlight slid through the trees behind me and illuminated Sue's smooth skin now marked by a furrow between her brows.
"Ms. Ferguson there? She snuck onto the festival grounds. Didn't pay her entrance fee. I don't know why she thinks she gets a free ride when everybody else here" — Sue gestured in a circle encompassing the grounds — "paid what they owed."
The music ended with a flourish and somehow Beth and the man seemed to know ahead of time. They ended with a dance flourish at the same moment. They joined hands and bowed to the sound of many hands clapping and even a couple of whistles and approving hoots. Beth extracted a handkerchief from her dress pocket and wiped her forehead. Sue marched toward her. I sidled up behind.
"Ms. Ferguson, I believe you owe us your entrance fee." Sue stood tall, which didn't get her very far.
Beth swigged water from a plastic bottle before answering. Ed joined her, fiddle and bow in hand.
"I told the person at the gate I forgot my purse and that I was on the program." Beth lifted her chin. "They said I could pay tomorrow."
"That's not what I was told," Sue replied. She checked something on her clipboard.
"It's true," Ed said, laying an arm on Beth's shoulders.
From the look on her face, Beth didn't seem to appreciate the gesture.
Because she was hot from dancing or because they weren't getting along? I had no idea.
"Look, we're both on the program for tomorrow night," Ed went on. "We'll bring the money then."
"See that you do." Sue set her free hand on her waist. "We have a lot of costs associated with this festival. We need participants to pull their own weight." She turned and hurried off.
Huh. Any time I'd seen Sue, she'd been totally easygoing. Tonight I'd seen her upset with two different people in a short time. The pressure of running the festival must be getting to her.
Ed and Beth murmured to each other. They didn't seem to have seen me, so I left, too, to rejoin my father and his wife. On my way back I sniffed the air. Somebody was enjoying a joint off in some corner. Good luck with that, I thought, spying a beefy security guard sniffing the air, too, his hand on his walkie-talkie.
The rest of the hour went smoothly with Abe's band playing tunes the audience recognized. People tapped their feet, clapped, and bobbed to the music in their chairs. A few couples even got up to dance on the dance floor in front of the seats. Pia apparently had recovered her equilibrium and played right along with the other musicians. Me, I had eyes mostly for Abe. I loved to watch this artistic side of him. His face was focused on the strings, sometimes glancing up at the audience and beaming his thousand-watt smile at us.
After the last number, we folded our chairs. Before we headed toward the parking area, I gave the stage one more look. Sue Berry had Pia cornered, and the conversation didn't look like a pleasant one. Sue gestured emphatically with one hand. If I hadn't known she was a Hoosier born and bred, I might have sworn she'd learned to talk in Italy. Pia crossed her arms and shook her head. I knew Sue and her husband were pretty well situated financially with Glen's thriving liquor store mini-chain. But why she would lend money to an Italian musician remained a mystery.
We made our way to the car Roberto had rented in Indianapolis two days ago, since my old van provided neither a comfortable nor a completely reliable ride, although it usually got me to where I needed to go. My father handed me the keys.
"Are you sure you don't mind going home for a bit?" I asked.
"It is no problem for us, Robbie. We will return this evening."
Which I couldn't do. I had prep to do for tomorrow, and my five-thirty alarm wouldn't ring any later because I stayed out late. "I'm glad. On the way home there's something cool I want to show you."
From the backseat Maria murmured to Roberto in Italian. He responded in kind to her, then twisted to face me in the front.
"Maria wants to know what the fight onstage was about, the one between Pia and Abraham. Can you explain? It was going too fast for me to follow."
"Pia wanted to play a tune she had written, and Abe told her they hadn't planned on it and hadn't rehearsed it." Seemed like a lot of anger from her for only one song, though. Abe would tell me what was really going on next time we talked.
Roberto thanked me and translated for Maria as I drove along the small roads of the unincorporated town, roads lined with the lush greenery of early June.
Five minutes later I turned onto Covered Bridge Road and slowed when we reached the eponymous bridge, barely wide enough for one modern car. The bridge was the picture of picturesque, with its faded red paint, a peaked roof, and two tracks of thick wooden planks to drive on. A yellow highway sign read ONE LANE BRIDGE even though anybody who attempted to drive through could tell at first glance. Above the entrance were the painted words Beanblossom Bridge 1880.
"It is safe to go across?" my father asked.
"Yes, it's safe." I crossed my fingers anyway. The sunny afternoon made the inside even darker and more mysterious as the car bumped slowly over the planks. Graffiti marred — or as some would say, decorated — the rough wooden walls. I didn't peer at it too closely in case obscenities were part of the scrawls. Once through, we could see Beanblossom Creek more clearly, full and rushing from the spring rains. I slowed to read a white laminated sign nailed to a tree trunk next to a wide gravel path.
I read aloud. "It says, 'Pastor's driveway. Keep clear for emergencies. Thank you.' A pastor is like a minister," I added, figuring my father might not know the term.
He laughed as his brown eyes lit up. "What kind of emergencies does a pastor have? An urgent lesson to the sinners in church, perhaps?"
I laughed in return but then became serious. A pastor could be called out on all kinds of sad emergencies — to comfort the victim of an accident, the family of a person who'd drowned, or to watch over any number of calamities that befell the residents of even such a beautiful place as Brown County, Indiana.CHAPTER 3
I was starting to wonder if having bed-and-breakfast rooms upstairs from Pans 'N Pancakes, my breakfast-and-lunch restaurant, was such a great plan, after all. I'd wanted to utilize the unoccupied second floor of my country store here in South Lick. Since I already cooked breakfast for the public six mornings out of seven, adding Innkeeper to Chef on my résumé seemed like an obvious moneymaking plan. I'd done all the carpentry work and painting myself, skills I'd learned from my late mom. I'd hired out only the drywall, plumbing, and electric work. The Italians, plus several musicians with gigs at the festival, were my inaugural guests.
At times like these, though, all I wanted to do at the end of the day was put my feet up and work on a crossword puzzle. Having extra people in the building was a no-brainer in the not-too-smart category. Not my father and Maria. They didn't get underfoot. Right now they sat companionably at one of the restaurant tables, Roberto reading something on his phone, Maria making her way through a magazine. But the musicians had questions, wanted information, and were kind of a bother — of course in the nicest possible way. Ed and Beth had come in shortly after we'd gotten home. They waved and strolled arm in arm into the cookware area.
A minute later voices raised in the heat of emotion floated out. I grabbed a duster and edged closer.
"It just ruined the night for me, seeing her there," Beth said. "I shouldn't have to!"
"Babe, it's a public festival. You can't keep Pia from performing or sitting in the audience."
"I want to go home. This was a stupid idea." Beth spit out the words like bitter pills.
Ed's voice lowered so I couldn't make out the words, but they sounded like murmured assurances.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Death Over Easy"
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Death Over Easy by Maddie Day is the 5th in the Country Store Mystery series. You will think are in South Lick, Indiana. This is one of my favorite Cozy Mysteries and was excited to read this installment. I was not disappointed. A Blue Grass Festival is taking place down the road in Beanblossom and Robbie has recently added a B&B over Pans and Pancakes. In addition to being a first time proprietor of a B&B, her father and his wife are in town for a visit. All seems to be going great until a performer is found murdered. Robbie is again on the hunt for the guilty person. She narrows down the possible suspects and then a second murder occurs. Are they connected or not, it does seem possible but she has her doubts. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end, a little romance, and some humor. It is an easy, enjoyable read with great flow. You will want to visit Pans and Pancakes for a visit. There are recipes included. Thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for the ARC for an honest review.
Robbie Jordan, Pans ‘n Pancakes’ proprietor, has just opened the few rooms she’s been working on as a bed and breakfast, and it’s just in time for a visit from her father from Italy as well as the Bluegrass festival being held in the area. The biggest problem at the festival seems to be Pia Bianchi, a woman that annoys just about everyone who gets to know her. Then Pia’s body is found early one morning in a covered bridge in the area. With Robbie’s guests some of the police’s suspects, she finds herself in the thick of things again. Will she figure out what is going on? This was a fun book in the series since it worked in several sub-plots that have been woven through the series – Robbie’s father and opening the bed and breakfast part of the business among others. These work themselves nicely into the mystery, providing a reason for Robbie to be involved and giving her access to gather clues. The suspects are great, and they provide us with some good twists before we reach the creative climax. The series has always featured some local (to southern Indiana) expressions to provide local color, but a couple of times, they started to annoy more than charm. Fortunately, those were rare moments that were over quickly. If you find yourself drooling over some of the food, you’ll be happy with the recipes at the end of the book.
There is so much to love about Death Over Easy, a wonderful Country Store Mystery featuring the Pans 'N Pancakes Cafe and Country Store with its just-opened upstairs Bed and Breakfast, a bluegrass festival, a great cast of characters, and murder. Robbie Jordan has her plate full with everything going on with her cafe and store, visiting family, the B & B, and the festival, but is enjoying her new business venture. However, when some of the B & B's guests become murder suspects, an uneasy Robbie decides she needs to get to the bottom of things. I felt transported to South Lick, Indiana when reading this book, with its great atmosphere, Indiana colloquialisms, and mouth-watering recipes. It was fun learning about bluegrass music, and the festival in the neighboring town of Beanblossom, Indiana makes a great backdrop for this story. This book was an enjoyable page-turner, and I highly recommend it. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
I have been enjoying this series and this one did not disappoint. Pan's and Pancakes is open for business in South Lick Indiana and the Beanblossom Blue Grass festival is in full swing. This weekend is also her first weekend open as a BB and her father and his wife are visiting from Italy. When a local musician is found dead and her father's wife and other BB guests are all suspects she sets out to solve the crime. I like it that Robbie does actually work her business. She investigates by keeping her ears open and just listening. Everything that she learns she passes along to police. Since many of the suspects are staying at her BB the police do a lot of their investigating and interviewing there. The characters and the small Indiana Town setting are fun. The mystery was good and the solution made sense. However it was easy to figure out. This series does not have to read in order. It was a quick enjoyable read and I look for word to reading more in this series. The recipes in the back sound good too.
Robbie Jordan is excited to launch the opening of her new bed and breakfast featuring the rooms she renovated above her cafe. Among the first to stay in the rooms is her father and his wife who traveled all the way from Italy. Several musicians who traveled to the area to take part in the bluegrass festival are also staying above the cafe. Unfortunately, one of the musicians ends up dead and Robbie must figure out who the killer is so she and her relatives and can sleep at night and not worry that they will be killed in their sleep. Another wonderful story by a master storyteller.
There is so much going on in Robbie Jordan's life in South Lick, Indiana. She has just opened the B&B portion of her business, her father and his wife are visiting from Italy and in nearby Beanblossom the Bill Monroe Blue Grass festival is in full swing. When one of the performers is found murdered and several of her guests are on the suspect list (including her father and his wife), she takes it upon herself to ask questions and snoop around. Shortly after she begins her sleuthing, another prominent member of the community is also killed, garrotted with a banjo string, the same as the first victim. It is great to read this series and meet up with all my favourite characters. Adele and Samuel made several appearances and Phil supplied his yummy desserts. We got to see a lot of Abe and Robbie together, and it is nice to see how their relationship is growing. Even the mayor had her part in her own bluegrass band. I found that rather humorous, as she always seemed so straight laced. Danna, Robbie's assistant not only was working, but her boyfriend was a suspect and she made several appearances. There was a bit of a reference to PTSD in the story, but it was not a focal point, just a fact. The reveal of the killer(s) was amazing. Once the mystery started to be unraveled, I couldn't wait to find out who was responsible. Not only did Robbie find herself in danger, but so did some of the others close to her. A fantastic ending and it is going to be tough to top this one in her next book. Bravo Maddie Day. The publisher, Kensington Publisher, generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Author Maddie Day won me over with the first tasty book in this series, FLIPPED FOR MURDER. With her easy, flowing style of writing, she pens a story that draws the reader in, holding them captivated until the very last word. DEATH OVER EASY is more proof of that. I enjoyed my time back in South Lick, Indiana, with protagonist Robbie Jordan, and all the great characters that make up the town. It’s been a treat watching them, and the entire Country Store Mystery series evolve. The mystery element itself was so well done. I was seriously chasing the wrong trail for quite some time. In the end, I did guess right, but that’s not something I mind. It makes me feel like I’m finally developing my sleuth senses. Who am I kidding. I had it narrowed down with a 50/50 shot of being right. I lucked out. As delicious as the first four installments, DEATH OVER EASY was a buffet of murder, mystery, and mouth-watering meals. The perfect recipe for a cozy mystery.
Quick cozy that help my attention all the way 5hrough. Didn’t hurt that it’s placed in Indiana ,where I live.
Death Over Easy by Maddie Day is the fifth novel in A Country Store Mystery series. Robbie Jordan owns Pans ‘N Pancakes in South Lick, Indiana. Robbie currently has her father and his wife visiting from Italy and they are staying in her newly refinished B&B rooms over her restaurant. It is June and time for the Brown County Bluegrass Festival that is being held in nearby Beanblossom. It will mean extra business for her restaurant plus some of the musicians are staying in her B&B. Robbie enjoys an evening at the festival despite Pia Bianchi causing some disharmony. The next morning Lt. Buck Bird stops by for breakfast and mentions that Pia was found dead at the Beanblossom covered bridge that morning. She was strangled with banjo strings (ouch). When Sue Berry ends up at the top of the suspect list, Robbie swings into action. Pia managed to antagonize a notable number of people giving Robbie a suspect list longer than an operetta. Robbie will need to compose the clues into a harmonious tune to pick out the cut-throat killer. Death Over Easy is nicely written and has a steady pace which makes for a satisfying reading experience. I like the characters in the story. Robbie is a smart, strong woman who has started a new business as well as doing construction on the upstairs rooms to expand her business. It is sweet that Robbie is finally getting to know her father, Roberto Fracasso. I wish his wife, Maria spoke better English, so we could get to know her as well. The town of South Lick is quaint small town with friendly residents. The author has created a cozy environment. It is like visiting old friends when I pick up a new A Country Store Mystery. It is neat how each book features a different theme or event and I enjoy the various vintage kitchen tools mentioned. There are many pleasing cozy moments throughout the story as Robbie cooks, attends the festival, spends time with her kitten, and interacts with her friends, co-workers, boyfriend and family. The mystery was straightforward with some misdirection, a handful of suspects, a search through the woods, and a twist at the end. I like that the local police work with Robbie and are not portrayed as dullards. While Death Over Easy can be read alone, you would be missing some of the background on Robbie Jordan. I recommend reading A Country Store Mystery series in order. There are recipes at the end for a couple of the dishes featured in the story. Death Over Easy is a charming cozy mystery that will have you eager for the next A Country Store Mystery.
Interesting story well done.
Dollycas's Thoughts It's time for the Brown County Bluegrass Festival and Robbie bed and breakfast has its first guests, including her father Roberto and his wife Maria. She is excited about all the business that the festival is bringing to her country store and café, Pans ‘N Pancakes too. But when one of the musicians is murdered things turn grim. The murder weapon is a common thing for this crowd, a banjo string. Who choked the life out of the performer and is anyone else in danger? Robbie is going to do all she can to find out. I have been almost as excited as Robbie to have her father come for a visit. His and his wife's tiny connection to the victim has them playing more of a role in the mystery than just a subplot to the main story. I enjoyed the way they traveled the area a bit on their own but still were able to spend quality time with Robbie. Robbie was busy with the cafe and her snooping too, but all the plots and subplots worked very well together. The pace is brisk and the pages seemed to fly. Again, the character development was excellent. Readers get to see the main characters move forward and get a clear picture of the new characters as well. This is something Maddie Day does so well. It is so easy to get involved in everything the characters are experiencing. I really enjoyed the music festival theme. It was a great way to introduce Robbie's new B&B. She did learn she still has a few bugs to work out before her next guests arrive, but it is a fun way to bring new characters to the series. It also gave a great backdrop for the surprising dangerous reveal of the killer. I was happy to see Robbie used some common sense instead of rushing in on her own, but there were still those nail-biting moments and the visions of the horror movie type eyes through the fingers thinking, "don't go in there". I have enjoyed this series from the start. The author always gives readers a wonderful who-dun-it and I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.
Good story . Believable plot and caracters . Nice twist in final pages.
First off I’d like to thank Netgalley, the author and of course the publisher, for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review. This reminds me of a little restaurant with a gift shop inside from my hometown. The cozy feel of the restaurant, where a lot of the locals frequent in the mornings to gather over coffee, and breakfast before heading off to work, or the fields, or where ever their day was taking them. When people have out of town guest, they bring them for a meal, where they sit and talk and catch up, they introduce them to town. Maddie Day has done just that in the fifth instalment of her Country Store series. Robbie Jordan is the owner of Pan N Pancakes, with a little country store gift shop included, in her small Indiana town. Robbie has also renovated her second floor with a small B&B, and just in time, as Beanblossom the neighboring town is having its annual Bluegrass festival. Not only are a few of her guest, some of the musicians playing at the festival, but her father, Roberto and her step-mother Maria have come for a visit from Italy. While at the festival, Roberto and Maria notice a girl, Pia, who looks like another girl, whom Maria knows from her town in Italy. While they discuss her they realize she is the twin who left Italy and hasn’t been back since. While at the festival Pia is sitting-in Robbie’s boyfriend, Abe’s band. Right before they are to go on, everyone sees Abe and Pia arguing. The band plays their set and nothing is seen or heard any more of the argument between the two. That is until the next morning Pia’s body is found…dead. As the investigation unfolds, there seem to be a lot of suspects as to who had motive to kill her. Robbie, who has “helped” solve a couple of murders, swears she doesn’t have time to get involved with the case, suddenly is pulled in when her boyfriend, friends, guests, are among the suspects. I like the characters as well as the plot, the story moves at a good pace, and it’s easy to follow along without reading the other four books in the series. The murder is pretty easy to figure out, but the story of the characters keep you intrigued as well as the motive as to what happened to Pia.
Jumping into the series at book 5, I didn't get a lot of spoilers from previous books. The most I could tell you is that in this world, a year ago, she found her father while working on a case. In this book, he comes with his wonderful new wife to visit Robbie and their visit gets a little longer and a lot more eventful than anyone expected. Summer is here and with it comes the Brown County Bluegrass Festival. This year is especially exciting since Robbie is adding an additional business to her already successful country store and restaurant. She's opening the rooms above the store as a B&B and this will be her grand opening. While juggling the boost the festival will bring to her businesses, Robbie Jordan is looking forward to spending time with her father and step-mother too. Her boyfriend Abe will be performing at the festival and spending time getting to know Robbie's family as well. These are the plans at least. Instead, Abe gets into an argument on-stage with a new edition to his group who later ends up dead. Robbie's dad and step-mom are surprised to know the recently deceased as well. Pretty soon, it seems many of the people in Robbie's life have some connection to the deceased and Robbie sets about trying to clear their names while looking into who could have committed the murder. Before she gets very far, there's another murder that takes place. Are the two connected? Robbie is determined to find out. Great story-building and wonderful characters. I did think that the romantic relationship between Abe and Robbie must have been pretty established in previous books because its development remained largely in the background despite it playing a part in the mystery and its solution. They seemed to have a very casual relationship like they'd either been together a very long time and knew what to expect from one another or like they were more good friends than deeply in love. I think I did a fairly good job of figuring out the case but I had to wait for confirmation. There are recipes such as Fried Apples, Asian Spicy Sesame Noodle Salad, Jane Carter's Sugar Cream Pie, Kahlua Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches (need the brownie recipe from a previous book to make this), and Chicken with WIne-Mushroom Sauce, Thank you to Kensington, Maddie Day, and NetGalley for allowing me the chance to read this book and share my thoughts and opinions with others.
This was my first introduction to the Country Store Mystery series and Robbie Jordan and doggone it, I’m as happy as a pig in mud! Robbie Jordan runs the local breakfast and lunch spot, Pans ’N Pancakes in town and has just begun renting out the rooms above her restaurant as part of her B&B offering. The rooms rent out quickly as the annual bluegrass festival is going on and it turns out that a murderer may be living under her roof. Are Robbie and her guests, including her father and step mother, safe or will they be next? While Robbie leads the investigation to the police, she can’t help but share some of the things she picks up along the way. After all, a restauranteur hears things in their daily day. Not that Robbie is digging into the murders. It’s a fun read and while book number five is my first read of the series, there is no gap or issues with not having read the first books in the series. This is a fun series and I enjoyed the cast of fun and interesting characters.
Welcome back to South Lick, Indiana and Robbie’s restaurant, Pans ‘N Pancakes! Fifth in the Country Store Mysteries, the one constant is that each mystery is better than the one previous. I like the characters; most are so down-to-earth and friendly. The foods Robbie and Danna prepare sound so tasty I can almost smell them cooking, and the mysteries are hard to solve. This time we enjoy a Bluegrass Festival through Robbie’s eyes. This weekend is the first time Robbie will have guests in the upstairs B & B rooms, and she finds that it isn’t what she had hoped for. She did the carpentry and painting herself, having been taught by her mother, who died suddenly 1 ½ years ago. Two rooms are taken by musicians in the Festival, and the third with her father and stepmother from Italy. Her father, Roberto, had been a student in this country and after an accident, had to return suddenly. He never knew that the woman he loved, Robbie’s mother, was pregnant when he left, or that he had a daughter, and she didn’t know who her father was. The Bluegrass Festival is in full swing, and Robbie and friends enjoy listening to the music by various bands. Her boyfriend, Abe, is part of a band that is playing. A young woman is playing with them for the first time and tries to change the playlist to include a song she wrote. It isn’t part of their agreement; she and Abe didn’t realize their mikes were live until their discussion was heard all around their stage. The group cooled down, they began to play, and all was well. The next morning, Lt. Buck Bird of SLPD came to the restaurant and questioned several people regarding the murder of Pia, the young woman who had played with Abe’s band. She was a gifted singer and musician, studying at the nearby university, but not so much a people person. Many people are questioned, from Abe to Robbie’s staff. Robbie is determined to not get involved in another mystery, but when even her father and stepmother are suspected, she has to do something. I love the “family” of staff Robbie has created at Pans ‘N Pancakes! We learn more about each person in each mystery, so there is always something new and special. Danna and her guy “Ize” Isaac are a sweet couple, but his unexplained disappearances cause challenges with the investigation, especially when a second person is found murdered, someone who has been an integral part of the community. I also enjoyed seeing Roberto and his wife Maria, and Robbie’s Aunt Adele. Death Over Easy has a fresh, unique, hard-to-solve mystery. With the influx of musicians and visitors, finding the real killer could be harder than finding a needle in a haystack. The author is very creative with plot twists and turns, as well as the effects of those twists on people being questioned. This mystery was so gripping that, at one point when I looked up from a scene, I couldn’t figure out why there was so much more light in the room than in the woods I had envisioned being amidst! I was quite surprised at the full resolution to the murders! While there were some I had thought of as guilty, my solution didn’t measure up despite some of the clues the author shared. I highly recommend Death Over Easy. From the delightful cover with the banjo and little Birdy to the mystery and relationships, it is a not-to-be-missed part of the series! From a grateful heart: I received a copy of this e-arc from the publisher and NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
The fifth book in Maddie Day's Country Store mystery series finds Robbie Jordan and her Pans 'N Pancakes restaurant enjoying the benefits of a nearby bluegrass music festival. She's finally got her place opened up as a bed & breakfast, with the rooms full of guests for the festival as well as her visiting Italian father and stepmother. Things are going along swimmingly for Robbie. That is until one of the festival performers turns up dead, murdered in a gruesome fashion. Not that she wants to be, but Robbie finds herself quickly entangled in the investigation since a number of the potential suspects are actually staying at the B&B. But when the investigation takes a turn that brings the case even closer to home, both personally and professionally, Robbie's reluctance fades and she is drawn full bore into finding out what happened. A further tragedy raises the stakes even more and Robbie doesn't just have to worry about finding the killer, but making sure she doesn't become their next victim. Five books into the series and I am such a fanboy for the Country Store Mysteries. There's the crime aspect of course, but what I particularly enjoy is how the cast of characters and local Indiana "color" is so exquisitely woven into each book. Robbie's long lost father (along with Robbie's stepmother) visiting her for the first time was great because you not only got to really see how the two interacted as a family unit but how they reacted to adversity when a dark secret from the past affects one character's reactions to dealing with the police. I really enjoy how Robbie is such a fleshed out character. She knows herself and doesn't suffer from that same kind of wishy-washiness you will find in other cozy series. This is particularly noteworthy in her relationship with boyfriend Abe. While there isn't much in the way of foul language on the pages of the book, I do like how it is clear that Robbie can actually use swear words. This may seem strange to be a positive but I appreciate that someone expresses frustration with blue language. The author generally uses sentences like, "she swore" and other turns of phrase which fit the parameters of the series but it is certainly better than a heroine who has a hard time even saying something like "Oh Phooey!" Oh, and I like the way Robbie is portrayed as both a concerned citizen and a bit of a snoop. Yes, she's slightly flawed in that way which makes her all that much more endearing. And you don't get bored with the supporting cast as they are threaded in and out of the narrative. From her work staff, to family members, local townspeople and cops like Lieutenant Buck Bird, it helps sharpen the focus on what makes the series so much fun to read. Murders aside, it is the kind of small town you want to visit. Getting to know the people of South Lick, Indiana has been a hoot and a half for me. The writing is top notch, but that shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone who has read any of the work from the author. But it takes something very special to put a cozy series into my must read category. Maddie Day has certainly done that here. She makes you want to grab a table at Pans 'N Pancakes, order one of everything on the menu and settle in for a spell. Personally, I can't get enough of this series. Highly engaging, there's heart aplenty to go along with the mayhem and I still haven't managed to pick out the right killer before the reveal. And while I generally don't have much to do with the recip
This was another fun read in this series. This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and it’s always such a comfortable feeling picking up another book in this series. The mystery in this one was pretty interesting with some nice twist and turns. The theme for this book was a bluegrass festival that took place close by. And Robbie just opened her B&B above her store, which was fun to read about and the few hurdles she runs into. I liked how Robbie got involved in the mystery, but doesn’t rush into danger. She is smart about investigating and there’s even a scene where she gets back-up which I liked. It also was fun we got to read about Robbie her father who was visiting with his wife. All in all this continues to be a great series and I am looking forward to the next book.
Death Over Easy is the fifth book in the A Country Store Mystery series. Robbie is very excited, the renovations on the second floor, turning that floor into a B&B, of her country store restaurant are complete, the Brown County Bluegrass Festival is about to begin and her father, Roberto and his wife Maria are visiting. So what could go wrong...maybe murder? Robbie, Roberto, and Marie are sitting in the audience as Abe O’Neill, Robbie’s boyfriend and his band begin to warm-up. New member Pia Bianchi and Abe, with an open mike, have a mild argument as Pia wants to play a song she has written and Abe says they will go with what had been rehearsed. And they play their set without any further discussions. The following morning Buck Bird, second in command with the local police, informs Robbie that Pia has been found on the Beanblossom Covered Bridge strangled with a guitar string. The body had been discovered be Danna’s boyfriend, Issac Rowlings. Before Buck leaves, Robbie lets Buck know that Sue Berry, who is running the BCBF, had been angry with Pia the previous evening about some money she had lent Pia and which she is behind of paying back. Also, Robbie heard one of her guests, Beth Ferguson, express quite vehemently her displeasure with Pia being at the festival. When Phil MacDonald, a student at IU like Pia and baker of wonderful desserts for Robbie, informs Robbie that he has seen Pia and another of her guests, Chase Broward, is some window-fogging embraces. Robbie’s father and his wife know of Pia, as her family lives in the same town, so she is hoping that the police won’t lean on them too much or keep them returning home when they planned. Being a Hoosier, I always enjoy reading this series. I have heard most the dialect of the area, but many are new to me. The story is well-plotted and written and follows an even pace. I love the characters in the series. They are all believable and well developed. Delicious sounding recipes are also included in the book. I will definitely be watching for the next book in this exciting series.
To begin with, I love this series not only because it’s a fun read, but also because it is based right in southern Indiana near good ole Beanblossom. Only a southern Indiana Hoosier and/or an Indiana University alumna would recognize Beanblossom or the small town she has named South Lick. Maddie Day has put Robbie’s handsome Italian dad in the book again. She had just found out who he really was in the last book and…he’s an IU alumni which we know makes him a pretty good guy anyway. Along with all of this, her country breakfast store called Pans and Pancakes has people lining up for a table. Wow. Between happy families, Italian visitors and Bluegrass music what could you possibly need in a mystery? Oh, yeah, a few bodies. They’re in here too. From the previous paragraph you can obviously already tell I think Maddie Day is great at describing scenes and people. She makes me feel like I know her characters. They are well-defined, each having a distinct personality of their own. Her characters are fun, some even become your friends, at least the good guys do. This is an easy read but well-written and it kept my interest all the way through. Death Over Easy is the 5th book in this series titled “Country Store Mystery”. All this series has great reviews. I hope Maddie’s writing Book 6 as we read. ***This book was supplied to me by NetGalley and all opinions are definitely my own.