Southern Fried (Southern Fried Mystery Series #1)

Southern Fried (Southern Fried Mystery Series #1)

by Cathy Pickens

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Avery Andres has just been downsized from her job in a law office in a North Carolina city and has returned to her small home town to lick her wounds and consider, with hesitation, trying to set up a law practice there. She quickly gets a client or two, and immediately the company building owned by one is destroyed by arson, and the body found inside was quite probably murdered. Meanwhile, an old high-school classmate has told the entire county that he is hopelessly in love with Avery and makes several attempts at spectacular suicides, each one of them carefully set up not to work. All in all, Avery finds that small-town life is not nearly so dull as she feared. And sometimes wishes it were.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312995539
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/01/2005
Series: Southern Fried Mystery Series , #1
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 4.08(w) x 6.76(h) x 0.91(d)

About the Author

Cathy Pickens is a lawyer by training and currently teaches at Queens University Business School in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is near the border with South Carolina, where her family has lived for the past three centuries.

Read an Excerpt

Southern Fried

By Pickens, Cathy

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Copyright © 2005

Pickens, Cathy

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0312995539

One Wife Gone Missing.
One Body Found
Adds Up...To Murder

My father is an eloquent man with few words.

Rather than spoil the moment by reminding him I wouldn't be staying in Dacus, I filled the silence by asking, "Tell me about Melvin Bertram." That name had danced around the edges of my brain all day.

"Whatever made you think of him?"

"I ran into Mr. Earnest this morning. He commented how interested that we'd come home at the same time, me, and Melvin Bertram."

"He's back?"

My dad's not as plugged into the town gossip as my mother, which might not bode well for his newspaper venture.

"That's what Mr. Earnest said."

"If anybody'd know, it'd be him, I reckon. 'Course, Bertram's got family in town-a brother. Might be visiting for Thanksgiving."

"Why do I know the name?"

"Don't you remember? Several years ago? His wife disappeared. Everybody figured he'd killed her."


Excerpted from Southern Fried
by Pickens, Cathy
Copyright © 2005 by Pickens, Cathy.
Excerpted by permission.
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 website.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Pickens, a lawyer and teacher with deep roots in the Carolinas, balances the dark and light aspects of the subgenre adeptly, and almost always manages to avoid corn and sentimentality."

—Chicago Tribune

"The world of Dacos, soaked in tart atmosphere, is well worth a visit." —Kirkus Reviews

"[An] assured debut, a cozy with some sharp edges...this strong start augurs well for future books in the series." -Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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Southern Fried (Southern Fried Mystery Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read for enjoyment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally, a mystery with believable Southern characters. Disgraced attorney Avery Andrews sneaks back to her hometown of Dacus, SC, where it seems it is a hobby to know everyone else's business. No sooner than she has hung out her shingle, the skeletons come out of the closet and the lake. It's an engaging read with well drawn characters. I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Attorney Avery Andrews worked for a large influential law firm in the low country of South Carolina until one day she snapped while questioning her own witness on the stand. The two got into a shouting match, the judge called a mistrial, and the firm settled out of court. Naturally Avery is fired so she returns to her hometown of Dacus in the hill country to figure out what she is going to do. She temporarily works out of the office of the town¿s only lawyers, picking up cases that nobody else wants or those the court assigns........................ The town¿s biggest employer Garnet Mills hires Avery to handle environmental inspections. She quickly picks up that they are looking for something specific and asks the inspector to come back with a warrant which he does. They are looking for illegally dumped hazardous waste but before they can get very far in their investigation, someone torches the factory and tries to burn the accounting books. A dead body is found in the wreckage and Avery loses her best paying client. She works on her own time trying to figure out who was behind the arson, never realizing that her actions will lead to an unsolved twenty year old homicide......................... This humorous regional mystery won the Malice Domestic Award for First Novel and it is easy to read why. The eccentric southern small town characters are believable while the pace is fast and the transitions smooth. Avery finds herself in some bizarre situations thanks to her unusual clients but she perseveres in spite of many setbacks. She is a very likable heroine and readers will eagerly await the next book in this refreshingly original series.......................... Harriet Klausner
Kellswitch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm really glad to have been lead to this series, even if I did start with the newest book instead of the first. I've enjoyed reading them so much that I've had to force myself to stop reading them to go to bed or work and I now regret not taking at least the next one out from the library so I could get started reading it right now.In this introduction to the series, the characters and town felt just as natural as the last installment instead of forced as many first books in a series can.Which makes it even more impressive that this is in fact her first book.With one exception the people of this town feel real and fleshed out, and she captures the feel of a small town and what it might be like to come home wonderfully. The only exception is when she tries to demonstrate one of the deputies Southern accent in typed form, it just feels force and makes him more of a caricature. At some point she stops that though, since he wasn't like that in the newest book.The actual mysteries and surrounding story lines were handled quite well, though I did find some of them a bit convenient in the end. But the endings all made such good sense and felt right that I don't even consider that a sticking point.And again as in the first one I read, I appreciated that the mysteries didn't get solved solely by our intrepid investigator but progressed naturally and made sense.
dd196406 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved the look of this book, but never really got into it. Liked the main character but didn't connect with any of the others. Plot was interesting with some fun twists.
NewsieQ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Avery Andrews, like the author of Southern Fried, is an attorney. Avery has recently been down-sized from a large Columbia SC law firm and, after ten years away, is back home in the small town of Dacus deciding what to do with her law career and life. Avery's parents are concerned, but they have lives of their own. Her dad has just purchased the town's newspaper and is embarking on a new career; her mom is busy with community projects. Avery sets up shop in shared digs with a local attorney and soon gets a few interesting clients. The owner of Garnet Mills hires Avery to advise him about an environmental agency's investigation of his company. Knowing only what she learned in a quick cram session about environmental law, the first visit by the investigator quickly spirals out of control. Then Avery gets another client, Melvin Bertram, a recently returned Dacus resident whose wife went missing fifteen years earlier. She's not sure why he needs an attorney, but it soon becomes apparent when the woman's body turns up and the husband is the primary suspect in her death. To top it off, Avery is being pursued by Donlee Griggs, a local ladies' man with a rather odd and unsuccessful approach to courtship. Often, light mysteries going for laughs have cartoon-like characters, situations and dialogue. Southern Fried's characters are more realistic, yet interesting and somewhat eccentric. The story was very well plotted, with smooth writing and a very engaging and wonderfully imperfect heroine. The only two sour notes were a very gruesome, detailed description of a corpse (definitely not for the squeamish) and one brief passage detailing an extremely violent act that was extraneous to the story and did little to develop the character about which it was being told. Both were quite jarring and, I thought, totally out of place. Still, I read Southern Fried in one afternoon, almost in one sitting.Review based on publisher- or author-provided review copy.
riverwillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wasn't expecting much from this book as I was looking for something light and fluffy to read, if you can define a murder mystery as light and fluffy that is, even so I was disappointed with this book. The opening few paragraphs implied that this might be a southern counterpart to the Stephanie Plum series, but its not to be. I found the characters to be interchangeable and very formulaically two dimensional, the mystery predictable and suspect that I won't remember this book at all in a couple of days..
BeckyMcF More than 1 year ago
There were a few bits of rough language in this cozy, but the words suited the characters. I enjoyed the mix of environmental concerns, transitions, murder mystery, kooky people, normal people, humor, and the rural South Carolina setting. I hope book 2 lets us find out what happens with Mrs. Geneva Gadsen and the war memorial.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suggestion: Incorporate some idea of a hidden friend. Someone who is always there but she doesnt really know. Someone who watches her and ends up going on the journey. Or some guy who really gets on sawyers nerves andnever stops annoying her who has to go on the trip. Just suggestions. I though this chapter was ok. Maybe some dufferent wording gould have been used. Make it a little more exiting. But other wise it was very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Okay! This time I'm going to make it longer and better. Thanks to Katniss for giving me some stuff to work on! Love when people do that! Anyways Question of the Part: Do you have best friends? If you don't tell me what you think best friends are! Advertisement: Anonymous. Starts at 'The Red Pyrimid (by rick riordan)'!) Sawyer had "bad" dreams that night. She dreamed of a girl in all black looking niether friendly or mean. She was as quiet as a wolf and had a sly grin across her face but her eyes sparkled. "So this must be the girl Brandon told me about! The girl sho volunteered to lead the quest!" She said in mock excitement. "Well, I'm glad to meet you! I'm Ayame and I'm happy to say I'm joining you on your delightful quest!" Ayame's eyes glittered as she leapt gracefully off the couch she was on and landed with two feet planted on the ground. Sawyer took a step back knowing it wouldn't be too good for her health to stay close. Ayame gave a cruel smile as she saw Sawyer's discomfort. "Let me tell you one thing about wolves, Sawyer Jones, we only do what's good for us." And with that the scene dizzolved into white smoke. When the smoke cleared she was in a tower with two guards standing at the entrance. She leaned out the window and she felt herself start to slip off from the stony sill. Sawyer screamed as she tumbled down, she tried closing her eyes but it made everything go faster. Just as she was about crash onto the ground she felt someone shaking her violently, she opened her eyes to see herself on her bed with her sheets in a tangled mess with Jaquelin standing over her. Good. She wasn't falling from a high tower or in a room with Ayame, she was in her own dorm where everything was just the same as it was before she slept. "You okay?" "Fine." Sawyer replied to Jaquelin's question. "You were kicking around like a maniac and mumbling stuff out like 'help' and 'get away from me'!" Jaquelin whispered. "Sorry," Sawyer apoligized. "It's okay but I was really worried about you!" "What time is it?" Asked Sawyer wanting to change the subject from her. She peeked out the curtains and saw the sun was high in the sky and she could hear the sound of people chatting outside on this warm sunny Saturday. Jaquelin still looked worried but answered,"Twelve." Sawyer immediently threw the twisted sheets off her and scrambled out of bed. "What are you doing?" Jaquelin shrieked. "I'm getting up! Remeber it's Twelve O' Clock!" "I know but-" "-I'm fine!" Sawyer cut across. She threw off her pajamas and pulled on a pink T-shirt and a pair of jeggins. Sawyer then grabbed her hairbrush from the small wooden nightstand by her bed and combed her as quickly as she could. "I'm going down!" And with that Sawyer ripped open the door of the bedroom and zipped down the stairs to come face to face with Ayame.