Strangled Eggs and Ham
Country Store Mysteries #6
By Maddie Day
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Robbie Jordan’s rustic country store is growing in popularity. But when a dead body appears, it turns out that Robbie’s home-style cooking attracts hungry customers—and murder!
While Robbie scrambles through breakfast orders for her expanding clientele at Pans ‘N Pancakes, tempers run as high as the sticky August heat in South Lick, Indiana. Real-estate developer Fiona Closs plans to build a towering luxury resort at one of the most scenic hilltops in Brown County, and not everyone can see the sunny side of the imposing proposition—including Robbie’s furious Aunt Adele, who doesn’t waste a minute concocting protests and road blockades. When tensions boil over and a vocal protester is silenced forever at the resort site, Robbie ditches the griddle to catch the killer. But if slashed tires are any indication, she’ll need to crack this case before her own aunt gets served something deadly next . . . (From Goodreads)
Robbie’s Pans ‘N Pancakes is the kind of place that makes me yearn for small town living, country stores, and breakfast restaurants. I enjoy being back in South Lick, Indiana and seeing how there is never a dull moment in this town. In the ten months since opening the store, there have been six murders. Robbie Jordan, breakfast chef extraordinaire, has helped solve each of them, especially when she or a loved one is the suspect or are at risk.
Pans ‘N Pancakes was formerly a country store. When it was up for sale, Robbie’s mother’s sister, Aunt Adele, talked her into purchasing it. Robbie’s dream has been realized, to have the breakfast and lunch restaurant as the heart of the town, a B&B upstairs, and retain a bit of the store with antique cooking implements, some for sale and some for display. Twenty-eight-year-old Roberta “Robbie” Jordan is content with her life, having moved from California after the sudden loss of her mother and now dating Abe, the beset guy she could ever imagine meeting.
Aunt Adele, a protester back in the 60’s, is planning to lead a non-violent protest against the proposed resort and spa that will be built on the most picturesque hill in the county. Closs Creek Resort, named after the developer, Fiona Closs, will increase the influx of strangers from all over the country, but being outside of town might not bring more business to the town. It will bring new jobs, but at the cost of loss of forest, wildlife, and increased traffic. Robbie chooses to stay out of the debate as she could see the benefits of both sides, including jobs for those who need work closer to home.
One of the guests at Robbie’s B&B, Gregory DeGraaf, came with an biking club from Indianapolis, and stayed for an extra week after they left. He and Lou, one of Robbie’s friends, have hit it off and are spending time together. Gregory is a real estate and environmental attorney who has a reputation for fighting against developers like Fiona Closs and winning. He has offered his services for Adele and those who want to fight the construction of resort to make use of while he is in town. Fiona was not happy to meet him, nor were others involved in the resort. They actually began work on the site before the planning board had done their final approval sign-off, and a cease and desist order was issued.
The following day, Gregory is found dead at the job site, murdered. Somebody strangled him. Not a good day for the local police lieutenant, Buck, to accidentally order strangled eggs when he went for breakfast at Robbie’s! She understood, as she and her mom used to call them strangled eggs. Vandalism begins to occur at Adele’s farm and to her vehicle. Afraid for Adele’s life with her high-visibility, Robbie was determined to find out who killed Gregory. After all, Gregory was a strong, fit bicyclist, not one to easily be overcome by another.
The characters are very well-defined. We learn something new about the primary characters in every novel; even so, this is like going to visit old friends rather than meeting new friends. Each of the regulars is likable, even if some are a bit odd, such as Detective Oscar Thompson. I particularly enjoy the wit and wisdom of Buck. He knows more southern sayings than several other folks put together. It would be a mistake to see think he is less intelligent based on his speech, as he knows far more than some give him credit for. It was a delight to meet Adele’s childhood friend Vera, in town to join the protest.
I liked this sixth helping of Country Store Mysteries. The characters keep getting better, the setting reminds me of the hot Midwest summers, and the mystery is challenging. This reader couldn’t help wondering who she was missing when thinking through who the killer could be. In a way, the resolution was a surprise due to how the crime actually occurred. I highly recommend this to fans of the author and series, and those who like cozy mysteries with delicious recipes included.