by: Maddie Day
Series: Country Store Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Despite the bitter winter in South Lick, Indiana, business is still hot at Robbie Jordan’s restaurant. But when another murder rattles the small town, can Robbie defrost the motives of a cold-blooded killer?
Before she started hosting dinners for Indiana University’s Sociology Department at Pans ‘N Pancakes, Robbie never imagined scholarly meetings could be so hostile. It’s all due to Professor Charles Stilton, who seems to thrive on heated exchanges with his peers and underlings, and tensions flare one night after he disrespects Robbie’s friend, graduate student Lou. So when Robbie and Lou go snowshoeing the next morning and find the contentious academic frozen under ice, police suspect Lou might have killed him after their public tiff. To prove her friend’s innocence, Robbie is absorbing local gossip about Professor Stilton’s past and developing her own thesis on the homicide—even if that means stirring up terrible danger for herself along the way . . .
Why This Story, Now?
Do you ever wonder why an author writes a particular story for a particular book in a series? I thought I’d share how When the Grits Hit the Fan came about.
The book is the third Country Store Mystery. This cozy foodie series begins with Flipped for Murder in early October, book time, at the grand opening of chef-carpenter Robbie’s Jordan’s new country store restaurant, Pans ‘N Pancakes. And a murder, of course. The second book, Grilled for Murder, takes place in late November. I normally leave a few months in book time between each book, which meant book three would happen in the winter.
Ooh. (Author rubs hands at the possibilities.) I’ve always wanted to use finding a body in an ice-fishing hole. I even wrote a part of a short story with that discovery method some years ago but never finished it. Also, since South Lick in Brown County, Indiana, isn’t too far from Indiana University, I thought it was time to include a few characters from the big flagship campus in Bloomington. I earned a PhD from there some decades ago and loved living in the small town with the enormous school.
Okay. So we have a season. We have a body and how it’s found. And we have some new characters who are outsiders to the town. Cool. Then I had to discover who the victim was, why he or she was murdered, and who might have a reason to do such a terrible thing. That part didn’t take me too long.
Then we need motivation for Robbie to work on solving the crime. Her good friend Lou is a grad student at IU. She’d had a public quarrel with the victim the night before, an altercation Robbie witnessed along with a dozen others. Robbie is convinced Lou is innocent, and begins to work to clear her name. Motivation accomplished.
Throw in a few more likely suspects, Robbie’s developing romance with the hunky Abe, and her building-renovation project, and you got yourself a book. But how about the ending? I’ll just say a wicked bad ice storm has something to do with the suspense!
Readers: Do you try hard to solve the murder as you’re reading a mystery, or just let it develop? How often are you successful in figuring out the killer before the protagonist does?
Purchase When the Grits Hit the Fan from:
The Country Store Mystery Series:
(Clicking the book covers will take you to Amazon.)
Flipped for Murder ~ Review
Grilled for Murder ~ Review
When the Grits Hit the Fan ~ Review
National best-selling author Maddie Day writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. As Edith Maxwell she is a 2017 double Agatha Award nominee for her historical mystery Delivering the Truth and her short story, “The Mayor and the Midwife.” She writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries. Her award-winning short crime fiction has appeared in many juried anthologies, and she is honored to serve as President of Sisters in Crime New England.
A fourth-generation Californian and former tech writer, farmer, and doula, Maxwell now writes, cooks, gardens, and wastes time as a Facebook addict north of Boston with her beau and three cats. She blogs at WickedCozyAuthors.com, Killer Characters, and with the Midnight Ink authors.
Places to find Maddie Day:
You can follow the When the Grits Hit the Fan Blog Tour here.
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