Sugar and Spice Cookbooks' newest project is a fundraiser organized by the St. Ignatius Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club, famous for their all-you-can-eat biscuits and gravy events. But when a group member is found dead, Sugar and Spice's priorities change from raising dough to figuring out who put murder on the menu.
The return of former badboy Nick Marchant has stirred the town's gossips too. Add a few grudges and some old-fashioned greed over a land deal into the mix, and it's a recipe for mayhem. And when someone serves up a second helping of murder, Sugar and Spice need to sift the guilty from the blameless, or their next breakfast may be their last . . .
Includes delicious recipes!
Read an Excerpt
Home. Some people can't wait to leave home. Some believe you can't go home again. Some long for home.
That would be me. I believe I've been longing for home most of my life. Growing up with a series of moves after my parents' not very messy but very final divorce, I'd never felt a true sense of home until I moved to St. Ignatius, the small town that had adopted me. Or maybe I'd adopted it. I mulled over the concept as I let the sounds of the Red Hen Diner wrap around me and a warm buttermilk biscuit melt in my mouth. Comfort food.
Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway here. But you can call me Sugar, everybody does. I'm not from anywhere near St. Ignatius, but the locals had embraced this southern gal and most of the time totally ignored that I was a transplant. It helped that I was in business with life-long resident Dixie Spicer. Dixie and I had a friendship and a partnership formed when we had both needed a new start. Her roots in town gave me street cred.
Chicken and biscuits had been today's special and I'd been reading the table while I waited for my order. You heard that right, reading the table.
The Red Hen had clippings from the St. Ignatius Journal sealed under glass atop the diner's wooden tables. A Notes from Memory Lane column about a bank robbery that had happened in 1932 had captured my attention. That would have been during the time when there were a number of Depression-era gangs and I wondered if the crime had ever been solved. Could St. Ignatius have been hit by the likes of the Dillinger Gang, Pretty Boy Floyd, or Bonnie and Clyde? I'd never considered that the sleepy midwestern town I'd come to love might have been part of a history-making crime spree.
When I heard the word "bank" from the booth behind me, I whipped around, wondering if I'd been seated by a mind reader or if I'd said something out loud about the tabletop story under glass. The two women continued talking and didn't appear to notice me peering over the booth.
"Do you think he's planning to stay?" The brunette stopped midbite, a biscuit dolloped with butter and strawberry jam halfway to her mouth.
I felt I'd shown great restraint by swiping only a smidge of butter on mine, but I've got to confess that her biscuit toppings looked tasty.
"I can't believe he's back in town after all this time," a second voice responded.
I couldn't see the other woman because we were back to back, but the strong scent of her hairspray had tickled my nose when I turned. Grabbing a napkin, I held it against my face to keep from sneezing.
"Sounds like you ladies have already heard that Nick Marchant is back in town." Another voice joined the conversation. I didn't need to look to identify this one. I recognized the bubbly chirp of Tressa Hostetter. Tressa spotted me and swooped by my booth.
"Sugar, look at you!" Tressa exclaimed.
It always seemed like the redhead spoke in exclamation points.
"Hi, Tressa." I braced for the big hug I knew was coming.
I didn't mind. Who can't use a hug, right?
"Love that top!" Her long arms enveloped me in a bear hug. I appreciated the compliment but seriously, it was my gray Sugar and Spice T-shirt. "It brings out the gorgeous gray of your eyes!"
Tressa leaned back and held me at arm's length. "So jealous of you, Sugar, your porcelain skin [yes, I'm pale] and that rich sable hair! [it's brown]. What I wouldn't give for such natural beauty." She gave me a big smile, but I suspected that last comment meant any makeup I'd started the day with was long gone.
With her colorful and creative commentary, Tressa could have been a writer of ads for beauty products, but she wasn't. She was the proprietor of Tressa's Tresses, the hair salon on the town square. I know, not a very imaginative name, but what she lacked in imagination she made up in good nature. The girl was beyond sweet, though at times not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Tressa moved on and sat down with the group behind me and said something to the two women that I couldn't quite catch. I shifted in the booth so I could hear better and then told myself I needed to MYOB. That's mind your own business, according to my Aunt Cricket back home in Georgia. Aunt Cricket used a lot of acronyms, but she had a bucketload of pithy sayings so I guess it was kind of handy to have a shortened way to remember them.
Marchant, Tressa had said. The name sounded familiar.
"I hear he's driving a red Jag and that he's still a hottie," the dark-haired woman noted.
"I heard ..." I couldn't catch the rest and didn't turn around because I didn't want to risk a noseful of hairspray again.
"Sugar, do you need a box for that?" Toy George, the owner of the Red Hen, and "Head Chick" according to her apron, interrupted my eavesdropping.
"Yes, please." The chicken and biscuits special had been a generous portion, and I'd barely made a dent in the chicken. Of course, that might have been because I'd started with the warm-from-the-oven biscuits.
Toy hustled back behind the counter, pulled out a to-go box, and brought it to me. The diner had begun to hit the lunchtime rush and I felt guilty tying up a booth, so I quickly packed up my leftovers.
Standing, to-go box in hand, I headed to the register to pay. The door chimed its signature "cluck." I'm telling you, the Red Hen Diner went all out with the chicken theme. I glanced up as Nate from the bank ducked in.
"Nate, I hear your brother's back in town," one of the brood back in the booth called out to him.
Nate Marchant. That was why the name sounded familiar. The Nick who the women had been discussing must be Nate's brother. Nate not only worked at the bank, he was also a city council alderman. I knew this because he'd recently asked to put a reelection poster in our window at the shop. I hadn't even realized he had a brother.
Handing the ticket and my money to Toy, I couldn't hear his response, but I could hear the laughter from the booth. Toy handed me my change and just as I dropped it into my bag, my cell phone rang. I glanced at the display and saw it was Greer Gooder, my landlady. The eighty-something dear had decided to rent out her house and move to a retirement complex just as I'd been looking for a place to live. I'd snapped up the well-kept Victorian right away. Greer's friendship had been an added bonus.
"Hello, Greer," I answered as I nudged open the diner's door with my hip.
"Cluck," the door chime announced as I went out.
"Sugar, Bunny is missing." Greer's voice was excited.
"Bunny?" I asked and started walking back toward the office.
I ran through possibilities in my mind. Had there been a bunny statue? Greer had left a slew of boxes behind at the house and was prone to asking me to bring various items from the attic. No, I couldn't recall a bunny. Had there been a real live bunny she'd talked to me about?
"You know. My friend Bunny." She sounded out of breath. "You met her at the meeting about the breakfast club cookbook."
I searched through my memory for Bunny. I'm usually pretty good with names, but I'd met quite a few new people when we'd had our first meeting with the Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club. The group of retirees were very excited about their plan to raise money to refurbish the aging shelter house at the St. Ignatius City Park. And Dixie and I were very excited to have a paying client.
"Oh, yes, Bunny." Now I remembered the stooped white-haired Bunny because her last name was Hopper. I mean, really? Still the moniker did seem to fit her. She'd reminded me a bit of the actress in the Miss Marple series I loved to watch on PBS. "Why do you think Bunny is missing?"
"I don't think she's missing." Greer's irritation crackled through the phone. "I know she's missing. She was supposed to be at pinochle and she's not. Bunny knows we don't have enough people to play without her and she's always on time."
"Where have you looked for her?" I asked. I didn't want to rile Greer any further, but it would help to know where she might be.
"Her apartment and around the grounds," Greer replied. "As far as we old ladies could walk anyway."
"Okay, I'll come and help look. Do you think she might have fallen?" I picked up my pace as I headed across the town square. "Does Bunny have a cell phone?"
"She does but she doesn't always turn it on. Besides, it was sitting on her kitchen table when we looked in the window at her place."
"I'll be right there." I hung up as I unlocked the front door of the office and stepped inside. "Dixie, are you here?"
As I mentioned before, Dixie is the other half of the partnership in the business that brought me to St. Ignatius, Sugar and Spice Publishing. We publish community cookbooks. Dixie's the food talent part of our partnership, the best cook hands down I have ever known, and a great friend to boot. She'd passed on lunch with me at the Red Hen because she'd had some groceries to pick up and errands to run. I'd thought she might be back since I'd spent so long reading the news clippings.
I jotted a note telling Dixie I'd gone to see Greer and stuck it on the counter where she'd be sure to see it. I'd fill her in later on the missing Bunny part of the story when we met up.
Walking around the counter and through to the back door, I fished my car keys from my bag. I made sure the door was locked and then hopped in Big Blue, my Jeep Cherokee. Turning the vehicle toward the Good Life retirement center, I wondered what could have happened to Bunny. The Good Life was an independent living complex and was on the western edge of town but truly nothing in St. Ignatius is very far.
The weather was nice but fall was in the air. If Bunny had fallen at least she wasn't lying somewhere out in the elements or in drifting snow like we'd have in just a few short months. I turned the corner at Jefferson Street. Dixie's Aunt Bertie owned the Jefferson Street Bed & Breakfast a bit farther down. I slowed as a mother with two small children had just started to cross and then I looked both ways before continuing. As I did, a figure on the opposite corner caught my attention.
Walking along the sidewalk, straw hat square on her head, big decorative daisy bouncing with each step, was Bunny Hopper.
I pulled around the corner, stopped my car, and got out.
"Hello, Bunny." As I got closer, I looked her over. She seemed to be okay and didn't look like she'd taken a tumble or anything.
"What?" She didn't seem to have heard me.
"I said, hello." I spoke louder.
"Oh, hello." She nodded.
"I don't know if you remember me —"
"What?" She leaned closer, the daisy on her hat coming very close to smacking me in the face.
I tried again, this time even louder. "I don't know if you remember me or not but we met at the cookbook meeting."
"'Course I remember you. You make cookbooks with Dixie Spicer." She smiled up at me. I'm not terribly tall myself, but Bunny was so petite I suddenly felt like a moose.
"The ladies who play cards with you were worried when you didn't show up for today's pinochle game."
"Wasn't my fault." She shrugged thin shoulders. "Alma dropped me off at the post office because I had some things to mail to my daughter in Indiana. She never came back for me so eventually I started walking."
"I see." I wasn't sure I did see. There must have been some confusion about Alma coming back. I guessed the main thing was that Bunny was found. "Can I give you a ride back to the Good Life?"
"Oh, yes." She immediately headed toward my Jeep. "I was afraid I was going to have to walk the whole way. I was getting pretty worn out."
I glanced back at the post office. Bunny had only made it a block so I truly don't think she could have walked the whole way. Dialing Greer's number, I let her know that Bunny was found and that I'd explain when I got there. And then I helped Bunny into the Jeep. Big Blue was great for travel and especially good in Iowa snow, but it was not a great choice for ferrying tiny elderly people.
Once she was in, I helped Bunny get her seatbelt buckled and then headed once again toward the retirement village.
* * *
"I can't believe Alma forgot Bunny." Greer poured tea into my cup, although she'd just asked if I'd like more and I'd said no thanks. She sloshed some in her own mug and came to sit across from me at the table.
I'd taken Bunny to the community center, where the residents had various activities. The group of pinochle players had finally dispersed after determining that Bunny was okay. Bunny seemed less upset than the rest about being abandoned at the post office. She'd apologized for missing the game and then was ready to get on with her day.
Greer and I had walked back to her place, and I'd accepted her offer of tea, thinking that preparing it might give her a chance to calm down.
"Do you think Alma's dealing with some memory issues?" I asked. "Could there maybe be a problem with medication she's on or something like that?"
"The woman is normally sharp as a tack but lately she's had the attention span of a gnat." Greer added sugar to her tea and pushed the container of honey in my direction. "I asked her for her recipe for Better Than Sex cake and she said she'd email it to me as soon as she got home. I still don't have it."
"Her what?" I very nearly spat my tea across the table. "What kind of cake?"
"You know, Better Than Sex cake or some call it Better Than Robert Redford cake. I don't call it that, because I'm not so wild about him. I mean he's okay, loved him in All the President's Men and The Natural and that one where everybody is after him."
"Three Days of the Condor?" One of my favorites. I love old movies.
"Right." She took a sip from her cup. "I mean he's okay but I don't love him like I love that cake." She paused. "Or George Clooney."
I'd have to ask Dixie about this cake. I hadn't heard of it, but if Greer thought it was that good, it sounded like something we definitely should try.
But back to Alma. "I'm sure it just slipped her mind."
Greer leaned back in her chair. "You're probably right. I don't mean to be griping. I know she's a busy woman with being in charge of the cookbook and carting us old ladies around, but I'm kind of worried about her."
"I know you are." I patted her hand.
"She's been on edge. Like the other day we were going to the bakery over in Marston and she turned the wrong direction on the highway. When I said, 'Hey Alma, wrong way!' she slammed on the brakes so hard that poor Freda Watson's wig ended up in the front seat on top of Nellie's pocketbook. It's lucky we didn't all have whiplash."
Glad that I didn't have tea in my mouth this time, I tried not to snicker at the visual of Freda's wig flying through the air and landing in Nellie's lap. Stopping in the middle of the highway was serious and could have caused an accident. "Maybe when you see her, you can talk with her about what's going on."
"I'll do that." Greer set her cup down. "She's probably okay. I just hope it's not a medical thing. We ladies of a certain age worry about that kind of stuff, you know."
I could imagine they might.
"Bunny seemed to be having problems hearing when I picked her up." Standing, I carried my cup to the sink and then returned to the living room. "Is that usual or something new?"
"That's been going on for a while." Greer rolled her eyes. "We've been trying to get her to have it checked out, but she thinks she hears just fine. We'll nag her until she gets to the doctor."
It's true what they say about old age not being for sissies. These ladies, and Greer especially, were proof of that, and I loved how they took care of one another. I could see why Greer had moved to the Good Life and why she enjoyed living there.
Picking up my bag to leave, I gave Greer a hug. "I need to talk with Alma about all the recipes she's collected for the cookbook. I'll see if I notice anything peculiar when we get together."
"Thank you." She hugged me back and hung on for a bit. "You're a dear to come and help me with things."
* * *
Back at the shop, Dixie had arrived with a bunch of supplies. I talked while she put things away in their places. My cinnamon-haired, no-nonsense business partner knows exactly where she wants things and I've found it's best not to get in her way.
"Greer seemed to think Alma had been distracted lately." I handed her a large bag of pecans, wondering what tasty thing she was going to make with them. Pecan pie? Pralines? There were so many possibilities.
"I'm thinking if Alma is having problems maybe she shouldn't be driving the rest of those women around, even if it is mostly in town." Dixie pushed a red curl off her forehead, placed several cans of soup on a shelf, and then shifted a few items around.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Risky Biscuits"
Copyright © 2019 Mary Lee Ashford.
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
Dollycas’s Thoughts Biscuits and Gravy cooks from the St. Ignatius Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club have been hosting breakfast events to raise money for the park shelter where they hold their events. The decide to bind their recipes together in a cookbook put together by Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway and Dixie Spicer aka “Sugar” and “Spice”. When the de facto leader of the Breakfast Club goes missing and is later found killed, Sugar’s landlord, a member of the group begs Sugar to look into the tragic death. Sugar does have an in as she needs to attend meetings and contact members to keep the fundraising cookbook on track. Plus the gossip chain has ratcheted up with the return of Nick Marchant to town. He and “Spicy” have some kind of a past that Sugar knows nothing about but keeping her ears open and putting a little pressure on her friend she just might find out. The good sheriff is sure not thrilled the man is back in town either. After reading Game of Scones recently I could wait to sink my teeth into Risky Biscuits. Author Mary Lee Ashford sure didn’t disappoint. She has written strong characters and enveloped them in a stellar mystery. Sugar & Spice Publishing is getting more clients and Sugar is using her organizational skills while Spice refines a bunch of recipes all to make their next cookbook publication a huge success. Photographer Max Windsor wasn’t as present at the beginning of the story as I had hoped but he doesn’t let the ladies down when it is time to take the food photos needed for the book. We also meet several residents from Greer’s retirement community. While mourning their friend they are still a fun and feisty group. Ms. Ashford takes a bit of time introducing the new characters and showing readers how they fit with those we had already met. But then Sugar gets hot on the trail to find the killer. Red herrings, yes there were a few. I made the mistake of thinking I had the culprit pinned down early only to be shown the error of my ways. Twists and turns led to a shocking reveal. Aside from the murder, this little town in Iowa is a fun place to visit. I love all the friendships that are blooming. I can’t finish this review without mentioning the food. Spice is always baking up something good. Even things she considers flops are downright tasty. She always seems to have plenty of people dropping by their shop for samples too. I wish she could pass them out from the pages, especially the Better Than Robert Redford/George Clooney cake. The author does include recipes in the back of the book but I don’t have the skills Spice has. Then again the recipe of the above mentioned doesn’t look too complicated Culinary cozies readers will love this story.
Sugar Calloway and Dixie Spicer are once again mixing delicious comfort food with murder in Mary Lee Ashford's second Sugar & Spice Mystery, Risky Biscuits. The Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club is putting together a cookbook when one if its members is found run over in the park. Who killed her and why, and is there any connection to former bad boy Nick Marchant's sudden return to St. Ignatius, or the proposed real estate development happening in town?!? Yummy recipes are included at the the end of this cozy mystery, and I absolutely recommend it. I loved the first book in the series, Game of Scones, and Risky Biscuits did not disappoint! 5 stars!!!
Although RISKY BISCUITS is the second book in A Sugar & Spice Mystery series by Mary Lee Ashford, it reads just as well all on its own. Just like “Sugar” Calloway’' I felt right at home in the small community of St. Ignatius, Iowa. While the business Sugar runs with her partner, Dixie,"Spice" Spicer, is not open to the public, like other shops on the main street, the delicious smells coming from Dixie's kitchen keeps a steady stream of visitors walking in their door. And with them comes town news and gossip. Sugar is renting a house from an elderly woman. In return, they have a friendship that has extended to the other residents of the independent living retirement community in which Greer lives. That includes offering rides and a helpful hand at times. Sugar and Spice are also working on publishing a cookbook of recipes from those same elderly residents, and members of The Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club. Fortunately for us, several of the top recipes are included at the end of this book! When one of the elderly women goes missing and the police won't take it seriously for at least 48 hours, Sugar is recruited to help the other women investigate. After all, it isn't breaking and entering if you know where the key is kept, is it? Lots of small town hijinx history, high school remembered romances, and a bad boy returned home, without this leopard changing his spots, it seems, as well as colorful idioms and phrases inspired by Sugar's Aunt Cricket, make this a fun read as well as a well shrouded mystery. When you feel you have it figured out, something else comes to your attention. I can't wait for my next visit!
This is a fun cozy mystery set in an interesting community of characters. Sugar, one of the main characters, is a Southern gal living far from The South, and she adds charm to the story. The mystery was interesting and well-paced. This will be a good series to look forward to each book. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
3.5 stars This is the second in the Sugar and Spice Mystery series. I did not read the debut, but the general background was pretty well explained and I had no trouble following. A baker (Dixie Spicer) and a PR person (Sugar Calloway) have joined forces to compile and market cookbooks for various groups and businesses. The setting is small town Iowa, and there is a cast of regular characters to flesh out the group, along with some romantic possibilities for each principal. Sugar's landlady and friend Greer is a resident of a senior living home, and Sugar often pitches in to provide rides or support. When one of the other residents goes missing and is later found run over in a suspicious death, Dixie and Sugar start sniffing around the see if they can help the police. As with most small town mysteries, old stories and incidents taking back decades still exert a lot of power and provide motives for revenge. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
This is the 2nd installment in the Sugar and Spice mystery series. Sugar and her best friend Dixie run a cookbook publishing business. Sugar has a background in publishing and Dixie is an amazing cook. The current project is for the St. Ignatius Crack of Dawn Breakfast club who are trying to raise money and the point person for the project is Alma. Greer Sugar's landlady call's her all upset that her friend Bunny is missing and Sugar goes looking for her. She finds near the post office because Alma forgot to pick her up. Alma has been acting pretty distracted recently and Sugar hopes this does not stop the project from going forward. The next day Greer calls Sugar again to say that Alma is missing. Sugar goes to the retirement community and along with the Greer and some others use a key and go into Alma's apartment to see if she is okay. She is not there but the Sheriff Terry arrives and they find out Alma was found dead in the park. Also former bad boy Nick Marchant arrives in town ready to pick up where he left off in high school to stir up trouble and break hearts. He broke up Terry and Dixie in high school. Later he is found dead in the same park as Alma. Is there a connection. Don't want to give too much away. I like the way Sugar is not in your face investigating. She just seems to be at the right place at the right time and asks the right questions. Enjoyed the mystery and the pace of the story and all the supporting characters. Look forward to the next in the series.
Sugar and her business partner, Spice, are trying to get a charity cookbook published to help raise money for a local park. Unfortunately, the person organizing the recipes for the charity unexpectedly dies....and not in a natural way. Who could have wanted her dead? And why? Sugar has her suspicions until someone else dies. She going to have to do some quick thinking...or the next murder could be her own. A fun and interesting cozy mystery. I thought I knew whodunnit....but it kept me guessing until the end. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Lyrical Press via NetGalley. My thoughts and opinions are my own and without bias or remuneration.
Through NetGalley, I received a free copy of RISKY BISCUITS (Book 2 of the Sugar & Spice Mysteries) by Mary Lee Ashford in exchange for an honest review. Because the text-to-speech function was blocked in the galley provided and because I had no time to sit down and visually read through the book, I ended up purchasing the book so I could honor my obligation to submit a review before it was archived. “Sugar” Calloway and her business partner Dixie Spicer own and operate their own publishing company, Sugar and Spice Cookbooks. They test recipes and publish community cookbooks. This book involves stolen packages, the misplacement of elderly personages, a cranky neighbor, the return of a hometown hottie, lots of food, novice gardening, and murder. I enjoyed this book. I recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries, to fans of GAME OF SCONES, to fans of books featuring food, books, feisty seniors, small towns, and cats. #RiskyBiscuits #NetGalley
A good cozy mystery, well written and engrossing. I appreciated the setting, the likable and well written cast of characters, the engaging and entertaining plot. The mystery was good and it kept me guessing till the end. I look forward to reading other books in this series. Recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
“Sugar” Calloway and her business partner Dixie Spicer have taken on a new cookbook client, the St. Ignatius Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club. The group is famous for their all you can eat biscuits and gravy breakfasts, and they want their cookbook to raise money to refurbish the park where they hold their breakfasts. Alma is the de facto head of the group, and she is also a neighbor and friend of Greer, Sugar’s landlady, in the retirement community where Greer now lives. One day, Alma goes missing only for the police to report that she died under mysterious circumstances. This throws the cookbook project into chaos, but Greer is very concerned about what happened to her friend. Can Sugar uncover a few clues while making sure the cookbook makes it to print on time? Reading this book, I realize I have completely fallen in love with the setting. St. Ignatius seems like a charming small town that I would love to visit (between murders, of course), and the author’s descriptions of Iowa make it sound beautiful. The book takes a little time to focus before the plot really starts to get going. As I figured, those early wanderings did come into play as the story wound to its logical conclusion. I thought I knew where things were going early on, but it turned out I was wrong. The characters in this series are all strong and just as charming as the setting. And there’s the food. While reading, I was drooling at the descriptions of food, so I was happy for the four recipes we find at the end. This book will leave you hungry for delicious food and another trip to this charming small town.
Page Turner! Iowa Cozy Mystery This was a very enjoyable cozy mystery that I hated to put down. It was very easy to read and had me hooked by the end of the first chapter. The book is a joy to read. There are plenty of laughs throughout the book. The story involves cookbooks, good eating, seniors, yard-work and plenty of small-town gossip. At the end of the book, several recipes are included. I want to read more books by this author. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
This is a terrific second book in the series. The descriptions of the food were so good my mouth was watering, and I can’t wait to try the recipes at the end of the book! Sugar is a fabulous main character and learning more backstory of the main characters was awesome. The Who-done-it was a bit to easy for me to figure out but the story was so good I didn’t mind. I am looking forward to the third book in the series already. I was provided an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
Series: A Sugar & Spice Mystery – Book 2 Author: Mary L Ashford Genre: Cozy Mystery/Culinary/Literary Publisher: Kensington Books Page Count: 252 The second cozy book Risky Biscuits in the series, “A Sugar & Spice Mystery” by Mary Lee Ashford published by Kensington Books released July 9th. This is a fun and exciting series that is turning out to be a hit. Ms. Ashford knows her craft and her audience, and her writing never fails to entertain. Sugar is always getting herself and her business partner, Dixie into trouble of one sort or another. She seems to attract murder and mayhem for no apparent reason. Contrary to what the residents of St. Ignatius, especially the police, think, she doesn’t do it on purpose. Somehow, no matter what she is doing or not doing, Sugar finds trouble, or a body, most of the time both. She is a thoroughly likable, interesting, and generous of spirit character, who also happens to be nosey. Other characters in this book and series are people you could find in any small town across the US. Sugar’s wonderful landlady, Greer makes a return, as do other characters that make up the basis of Sugar’s new “family.” A killer and victim(s) show us that we may not know our neighbors, or even our family as well as we think we do. It isn’t possible for Sugar not to come to the aid of Greer or anyone who needs her help, and when one of Greer’s friends is murdered, it becomes personal. Unfortunately, along the way to finding the killer, Sugar manages to upset a lot of people and almost becomes a victim of a murderer who is hell-bent on eliminating anyone who gets in the way. The plot is front and center; the book is character driven. There is action, but not so much that readers lose focus on the main storyline. You will love the recipes in the back almost as much as the story. Giving recipes in this type of cozy book has become almost as important as the characters and the story, and just as delicious. I enjoyed Risky Biscuits and am looking forward to seeing where this series will go with future additions. This is a well-written and well-thought-out story that will leave readers happy and looking forward to the next book. I am pleased to recommend it to readers of the cozy book category.
Risky Biscuits by Mary Lee Ashford is a clean, easy to read cozy with plenty of twists and turns. This is book two in the A Sugar and Spice Mystery series. I have not read book one but, I was able to get caught up quickly. I love the setting and the characters. There is friendship, humor, a hint of romance, and the "who done it" . I want to go to St. Ignatius, Iowa! Warning, you may be left with a craving for biscuits and gravy! There are recipes included. I can't wait to see what happens next. Thanks to Netgalley and Kensington books for an ARC for an honest review.
Sugar Calloway and her partner Dixie Spicer are working with the local Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club on a cookbook fund raiser. Sugar is loving life and settling into her adopted hometown of St. Ignatius, where everyone knows everyone and their business. Things are going well as Sugar collects recipes and history from St. Ignatius’ locals for the cookbook, but then the club member who is heading up the cookbook efforts is murdered and Sugar and DIxie are not only looking for the recipes that Alma had collected, they’re looking for her murderer.To add more intrigue to the mix, former hottie and bad boy Nick Marchant returns home from New York City and is stirring up trouble. Sometimes knowing everyone in town and everything about them an be murderous. Yet sometimes people aren’t exactly who they seem to be. But someone in town is the murderer and Sugar and Dixie uncover some big secrets that could help the police solve the case. While this is the second book in the series, I did not read the first one and this serves fine as a standalone. Sugar’s nomadic childhood that followed her parent’s divorce makes you cheer for her having adopted St. Ignatius as her hometown and settling down. Can’t wait to see how she and Max overcome their respective challenges as they move ahead and build their relationship. Don’t miss the recipes that are included. They look yummy!
This is the second book in the Sugar and Spice Mystery series. I started reading this book first, got a couple of pages in, then went and bought the first book because I could tell just that quickly that I was going to enjoy this series. This book can be read stand-alone, but I recommend reading the series in order so you can understand how the characters developed and where it all began. Sugar Calloway and Dixie Spicer have a fairly new business which publishes community cookbooks for special groups. They are always hustling for the next job with Sugar the business end and Dixie the blue ribbon cook. Their most recent endeavor is to publish a cookbook of breakfast recipes for the Crack of the Dawn breakfast group. The group has a great all you can eat biscuits day that they use to raise money for their projects. The biscuits are described in such wonderful detail, it made me want to stop what I was doing, whip up a batch, and enjoy eating them while reading. Unfortunately, my biscuits are more like hockey pucks than light and airy biscuits, so it was just as well that I just kept reading and wishing than actually doing and eating. There is, of course, a murder (this is a murder mystery, right?) and Sugar and Dixie get involved in solving it. Along with the murder mystery, a home-grown bad boy comes back home after many years away. His arrival turns the town upside down with rival groups of those who like him and those who really can’t stand him. He seems to be trying to restart a relationship with Dixie, who falls firmly in the I can’t stand him category. There is more mysteries in this story than just the murder, which makes it all the more a fun read. The author has a knack for funny dialog and for funny situations. I really enjoy Sugar’s take on all sorts of things. Quite a tongue-in-cheek sort of gal. I’ll be looking forward to this author’s next book, whether it be in this series or not. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
This was an interesting cozy hometown mystery novel with delicious foods described throughout the book. and some lovely recipes at the end. The lead character came across as a warm caring person who sincerely cared about others. If you are interested in a light interesting read you should enjoy this book. This advance copy was provided to me by Net Galley for an honest review.
When Sugar moved to St Ignatius she expected to work on community cookbooks with her friend Dixie. She didn't expect to be investigating murders! This is the second book in the series (don't worry if you didn't read the first one- you'll be caught up quickly) and the second time Sugar has found herself dealing with death. This time, Alma, the project leader for the Breakfast Club is the victim and, as readers of the genre know, there's more to her than meets the eye. Add to this the return of Nick, a hottie from the past, and game's on. The townspeople are quirky (occasionally veering a little too far for me), the mystery isn't too complex, there's some romance, and all in all, it's a cozy. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Oh- and there are recipes!