Shortly after her mother's death, transplanted Californian Robbie Jordan sets up shop in the small Indiana town where her Mother grew up. Part restaurant, part vintage cookware store, Pans'N'Pancakes places proprietress Robbie Jordan firmly in the tradition of other sleuthing shopkeepers and cooks after the mayor's disagreeable assistant turns up dead with one of Robbie's cheese biscuits in her mouth.
Sometimes you just want a cozy little murder mystery - and from that perspective debut novel Flipped for Murder dishes up the goods. However, the recipe could use some refining. While reiterating the information discovered is part of the formula of a cozy, Maddie Day did it frequently enough to be annoying. I also thought Robbie was trying too hard to be appealing to everyone. Not only does she cook and run a business, but she bicycles and extols the stress-reducing benefits of exercise, AND even though the adult entertainment stays off-screen her gaining the instant attentions of not one but two men strays just a bit too close to trying to create an superheroine for my taste.
Characters were so fleshed out, even the minor ones and I wanted to hug them all.The transformation Bryce and Julie went through was so realistic and adorable, just wanna gush over them both.
5/5 overall and enjoyed every minute of it! I get smiles just thinking about Bryce and Juli, now off to watch the movie adaptation.
First, thank you to Kensington Books for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Flipped For Murder is the first in a new series located in small town southern Indiana. Robbie Jordan has just opened her new country store/diner, Pans & Pancakes (why not Pots & Pancakes? hmm.) when the mayor's assistant is found murdered.
There was a lot to like about the story; the characters were charming, a picturesque locale, and I enjoyed the local lingo. I live in Indiana and hear many of these phrases daily, so it made me smile. The plot was well-paced and had a lot of twists and turns to keep me guessing. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I look forward to reading more.
However, there were a few things that detracted from the story for me. I can suspend disbelief to a certain extent, but there's a limit, and for me that limit came when, right after the murder victim was found, the cop came around to question the main character and asked her if she killed the victim, then recorded it on his tablet. No. Just no. Even someone who has only watched an hour of Law & Order: SVU could tell you that you don't ask a question like "Did you kill the victim?" to a person who hasn't been Mirandized because nothing that is said is admissible in court, so there's no reason to note it. And don't get me started on the subject of direct evidence vs circumstantial evidence. In the acknowledgements section, the author writes, "Officer Garnet Watson helped out with a few questions of police procedure, which I might not always have followed." I would rethink that.
There was also a question of the back story, which is neatly summed up in the book's description but I think more details (or starting the story a little earlier than the store's opening day) might have eased the way into the story. Also, the reader doesn't really get a sense of the victim, other than what other people said about her, so there was a disconnect there. Starting the story a little earlier would definitely help set up some of the plot points a little more subtly.
I also felt like there was too much rehashing of each event after the fact. It started to feel more like filler and I found myself flipping through pages of it after awhile.
Overall, a charming start to a promising new series, and an enjoyable read. And I darn sure will be making those cheesy biscuits in the very near future!