Cooking up Some Delicious Irish Mysteries

Mar 8, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Food Fun, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Maddie Day aka Edith Maxwell

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon. You can find KRL’s review of Four Leaf Cleaver HERE.

Thanks so much, Lorie and KRL, for inviting me back to the magazine and for giving me the chance to offer a commenter a signed copy (US) or audiobook (elsewhere) version of Four Leaf Cleaver.

When my Kensington editor last year suggested either a St. Patrick’s Day story or a cooking competition for my next Country Store mystery, I loved both ideas so much I decided to combine them.

Edith Maxwell/Maddie Day

I’m an Irish-American by way of my mother’s father’s Flaherty heritage. My mom wasn’t a Catholic and neither am I, so celebrating a saint’s day is cultural, not religious. Sadly, I still haven’t toured Ireland nor checked out my ancestors’ roots in County Galway. My Hugh and I had a trip planned in May of … 2020. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Maybe we’ll go next year!

But I’ve always loved the idea of the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday in the United States. I don’t go for the green beer (ick – just give me a good draft IPA), but I love trying new Irish foods.

We don’t have a good Irish pub nearby here in northeastern Massachusetts. If I want to eat Irish dishes, most of the time that means also cooking the food.

I came up with several yummy recipes that I included in Four Leaf Cleaver:

• Abe’s Irish Steak and Stout Stew
• Stout and Cheese Biscuits
• Irish Whiskey Cocoa
• Raspberry Scones
• Irish Cheddar Cheese Soup

I know, I know – the job of testing and tasting is hard, but somebody’s gotta do it, right?

In the past, I’ve also made an Irish fish pie like a shepherd’s pie but with haddock and smoked salmon in a green-pea dotted cream sauce with mashed potatoes on top. It was delicious.

Soda bread is not only easy and fun to make, but it’s yummy and is a great vehicle for rich Irish butter. I have a recipe for an oatmeal soda bread that includes buttermilk. The fast-baking loaf comes out crunchy on the outside and tangy-chewy on the inside. Don’t be surprised if that’s my St. Patrick’s Day breakfast (and writing snack) this year.

Cabbage I’d rather eat raw or wilted than stewed, so I stay away from colcannon, and I’m not a big consumer of corned beef. But, sautéed Irish sausages are always a treat, as is a rich apple cake topped with whipped cream.

Are we hungry yet?

Still, you might reasonably wonder what all this cooking has to do with writing mysteries. It turns out recipe research and testing has a valid place in my books. My Country Store Mysteries and my Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries both include recipes at the back of each book. My editor expects me to turn in the recipes along with each manuscript.

I’m also part of the fabulous foodie-author Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen blog, where I post an original recipe on the second and fourth Fridays, plus I participate in our group discussions like Around the Kitchen Table on the first Sunday of each month.


Finally, I live with a tall, skinny guy who loves eating more than he loves cooking. Hugh produces occasional dinners for us (which sometimes are the product of orders for great takeout), but if presented with some recipe testing, both savory and sweet, he’s an enthusiastic participant. And if he’s happy, I’m happy, which makes it easier to get the writing done and meet the next deadline.

Readers: Do you participate in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations or let others indulge? What’s your favorite Irish food?

In Four Leaf Cleaver, there’s no mistaking Saint Patrick’s Day at Robbie Jordan’s Pans ’N Pancakes. The shelves of vintage cookware in her southern Indiana store are draped with Kelly-green garlands and the restaurant is serving shepherd’s pie and Guinness Beer brownies. The big event, however, is a televised Irish cooking competition to be filmed on site. Unfortunately, someone’s luck has run out. Before the cameras start rolling, tough-as-nails producer Tara O’Hara Moore is found upstairs in her B&B room, a heavy cleaver left by her side. Now, not only does Robbie have a store full of festive decorations, she’s got a restaurant full of suspects …

To enter to win a signed copy (US) or audiobook (elsewhere) version of Four Leaf Cleaver, simply comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 18, 2023. U.S. residents only for the signed copy, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up last week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Maddie Day pens the Country Store Mysteries, the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries, and the new Cece Barton Mysteries. As Agatha Award-winning author Edith Maxwell, she writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and award-nominated short crime fiction. Day/Maxwell lives with her beau and cat Martin north of Boston, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook. Find her at, Wicked Authors, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, and on social media: BookBub, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. The recipes sound great, must try them. This year I’m passing on the boiled corned beef, cabbage, potato dinner. Colcannon was not a hit when I made it either, so using the corned beef to make Reuben sandwiches with homemade dough. May or may not count as authentic Irish food but we’ll enjoy it! Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. This is a wonderful series

  3. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

    • When we lived in North Carolina we used to eat at an Irish restaurant called The Angry Ginger. I loved their shepherd’s pie. At a restaurant I used to work at they’d use to dye their breadsticks green on the holiday. I’m not sure yet how we will celebrate this year,

  4. Sounds so fun I like to make Corned Beef and Cabbage with potatoes and carrots and a hearty Rye Bread and Irish Soda Bread with raisins for dessert

  5. Our husband’s would have gotten along fine.
    Bob loved to eat (he was on the chubby side)
    but he would cook and produced some
    delicious meals. Can’t wait to read the
    print copy of the book. thanks

  6. Oh, please give colcannon a second chance! It’s my favorite way of making mashed potatoes. I never made it with cabbage, but it tastes great with kale or chard. I love Irish-themed stories, cozy mysteries, and tasty recipes, so I am adding it to my TBR list. Congratulations to the author on the new release!

  7. Yes, I do participate in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations! I like corned beef and cabbage, potato and leek soup, colcannon, and Irish butter on soda bread.

    • My husband is interested in, and would probably make, the Guinness brownies (or perhaps my son might beat him to it), while I’d like to bake Irish soda bread, new to me! Above all, I’d love to read The Four Leaf Cleaver!

  8. I’m definitely Irish, but not a huge fan of corned beef and cabbage. I prefer shepherd’s pie or a tasty Irish stew and a yummy loaf of soda bread to celebrate the day. I have to agree with Anna, colcannon with chard is much better than with cabbage. Thanks for all the wonderful hours of reading you have provided!!

  9. Love the country store series ?

  10. My favorite “Irish” food is fish and chips which is seen in all the British Iles I think. I also love a full Irish breakfast, without the beans and with brown bread.

    • You can’t go wrong with either Gram, even though I’ll take your serving of beans!

    • Yes, I’m Irish and I definitely celebrate St. Patrick’s day. I love corn beef and cabbage.

  11. Hi Edith!
    I love cooked cabbage and celebrating St. Patrick Day. Have to wear green. Lol! I’d love to go to Ireland someday too.
    Thank you for your giveaway!
    Sherry Brown?

  12. I live in the Chicago area and the die the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day. Always cook corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. Looking forward to reading “Four Leaf Cleaver”.

  13. I enjoy a Jiggs dinner!

  14. I love St. Patrick’s Day. As a young girl growing up, my parents had the most wonderful St. Patrick Day parties. Yes, they involved good food, beer and of course singing. During my Dad’d eulogy the priest said: Ed probably quickly acknowledged St. Peter and then asked where he could find St.Patrick and the Irish corner. My late husband and I continued the party tradition. Since his death it’s a rather bittersweet day, yet I treasure the memories. Thank you for the opportunity to win Four Leaf Clover.

  15. I’m Irish and I definitely celebrate St. Patrick’s day. I love corned beef and cabbage. Thank you for the opportunity.

  16. We have a winner!


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