The prolific Paige Shelton has established herself with the launch of her second Berkley Prime Crime Mystery series as a prevailing voice in the culinary cozy genre. Shelton’s Country Cooking School Mystery is a rib-tickling read with a sturdy family core filled with amusement, hijinks and love. You know the all-in-your-biz-exasperating kind that leaves you yanking your hair at the roots…or knocking back a few bottles of Jack. Shelton brilliantly captures the family dynamics effortlessly. It is the love we yearn for because it is unconditional, uplifting and unparallel.
Law school dropout Isabelle “Betts” Winston has returned to her hometown. Betts adores cooking lip smacking country food in her birthplace of Broken Rope, Missouri – infamous for its bloodthirsty knife battles, multihued outlaws and reprehensible hangings (it’s how the town earned its name).
A fire breaks out when Betts and her Grams, Missouri “Miz” Anna Winston, are
in the middle of their evening cooking class — Chicken: Sometimes You Gotta Keep That Skin on, Baby!
Betts and Grams have to cancel helping the students create scrumptious meals for the upcoming Southern Missouri Showdown. As the duo set out to clean up the mess, they discover the body of Gram’s current sweet treat, local theater proprietor Everett Morningside, buried underneath supplies in the school’s non-food supply room. Not long after, Everett’s widow accuses Gram’s of offing him.
Betts sets out to keep Gram from taking up residence at the local hoosegow and keep preparations for the cook-off on schedule. And if that wasn’t enough excitement for Betts, there is a mystifying cowboy hovering that only she can see. When bullets are hurled her way, Betts has to burrow into Broken Rope’s bygone days to unearth a contemporary killer before Betts is fried to death.
The pulsating characters leap off the page and illustrate the story like a blockbuster shot in 3-D. Shelton writes with a Hitchcock essence that readers once found missing…until now.
Shelton simply shines like diamonds displayed on cobalt velvet in If Fried Chicken Could Fly. She definitely has found her footing with this new series. If Fried Chicken Could Fly simply warms your spirit with delicious homespun goodness.
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