Finding Fatal Fungi

Aug 25, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Maddie Day
aka Edith Maxwell

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a signed copy of No Grater Crime, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Thanks so much to Kings River Life Magazine for inviting me to stop by today! I am beyond thrilled that No Grater Crime, my twenty-fifth novel, released on August 24. It’s also the ninth Country Store Mystery. For regular readers, rest assured the series continues after this book.

We had a very rainy July last month, and August hasn’t been totally dry, either. I was listening to a local NPR story last week about what a bumper crop of mushrooms our woods are growing this summer because of all the moisture. My ears perked up because mushrooms – edible and otherwise – play a big role in No Grater Crime.

I love eating mushrooms, especially slow-sauteed in butter. I’ve never picked them and am not interested in doing so. My daughter-in-law and her friend picked morels in Maryland, but her friend knew what she was doing, and morels are apparently easy to identify.


If you haven’t seen the movie Phantom Thread, which came out in 2017, I highly recommend it. This might be a small spoiler, but part of the plot includes a woman cooking poisonous mushrooms for her lover. The harvest, prep, and cooking scenes are fabulous. I’ll let you watch the film to find out the reason and the outcome. Another beautifully filmed mushroom movie is the recent Truffle Hunters documentary about the old men who hunt truffles in Italy.

But I was writing a cozy mystery in which I wanted someone to die from eating toxic mushrooms. To study up for writing my book, I went on a medicinal mushroom walk about an hour north of me in New Hampshire. Ann, the woman who led it, knows everything about mushrooms, edible and otherwise.


I loved meandering through the woods with her and our small group (most were masked, despite being distanced outdoors, because it was June, 2020 in full pandemic, but vaccines weren’t available yet).

Near the end of the walk, Ann led us by a log with emperor mushrooms on it. OMG! They looked plastic and like something out of Disneyland.

Emperor mushrooms

Of course, I picked Ann’s brain about non-medicinal mushrooms when we emerged from the woods – after telling her why I was interested.

I’m not going to give you a spoiler about my plot. Suffice it to say, I learned enough about toxic fungi from her and through my research to scare me away from ever foraging without an expert at my side.

Readers: Do you forage for the fruit of mycelia? What’s your favorite farm-grown mushroom?

No Grater Crime blurb:

Robbie Jordan’s Pans ’N Pancakes boasts delicious eats and the best vintage cookware finds in South Lick, Indiana. And now, for a limited time, there’s a new special featured on the menu—murder!

Ever since meeting the wary owners of an antique shop opening across the street, Robbie has been scrambling to manage weird incidences plaguing her café and country store. Pricey items vanish from shelves without explanation, a fully equipped breakfast food truck starts lingering around the area each morning, and loyal diners mysteriously fall ill. When an elderly man dies after devouring an omelet packed with poisonous mushrooms, Robbie must temporarily close down Pans ’N Pancakes and search for the killer with a real zest for running her out of business—or else.

To enter to win an a signed copy No Grater Crime, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “grater,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 28, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. 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. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up last week.

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

Maddie Day pens the bestselling Country Store Mysteries and Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. As Edith Maxwell, she writes the Agatha Award-winning Quaker Midwife Mysteries and short crime fiction. She’s a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime and lives north of Boston with her beau and teenage cat, Ganesh. Find her (and Maddie) at

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. I don’t forage, I leave that up to the grocery store. My favorite mushrooms are Button mushrooms. They are good on anything.

    • Good choice, Brenda!

  2. Your Country Store mystery series is among my favorites as well as any type of non-lethal mushroom. My family’s favorite is a morning meal of mushrooms (whatever is available) sauteed in a little bacon grease with of course a side of bacon. Maybe not the healthiest way to eat them but very delicious.

    • You can’t go wrong with bacon and mushrooms, Robin!

  3. I’ve been keeping up with this
    series. Would love to read
    about mushrooms and their
    good/bad features. thanks

  4. I don’t know much about mushrooms but I like them on pizza. This series sounds really good.

  5. Thanks so much, Mary.

  6. The Emperor Mushrooms look astounding! I’d fall out if I saw some near our farm area woodlands! I don’t forage for wild mushrooms because I don’t have enough knowledge of them to keep me from picking poisonous ones. I have heard of the Death Angel Mushroom in Midsommer Murders TV series episode titled Destroying Angel 2001. It’s on IMDb TV free to watch. Very scary mushroom! I have bought button mushrooms, Shitake, and portabella mushrooms in local stores and I would love to try more… nonpoisonous varieties of course! *LOL* Congratulations again on your 25th book and I love your Country Series and finally have them all except this one. Glad to hear it will be continuing!

  7. Enjoy this author, count me in! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  8. Live mushrooms, but am also in the “don’t know enough about them to safely pick them”. Love this series!! Thanks for the chance.

    • Glad you’re staying safe, Marcia!

    • Glad you’re playing it safe, Marcia!

  9. I love mushrooms on pizza too, Carol.

    Sharon, you are wise not to forage. Those Emperor mushrooms did not even look natural, and they were enormous!

    Thank you, Teresa!

  10. I don’t know that much about mushrooms. I just know I like them in pizza and fried.?
    Thank you for the chance to win your wonderful book giveaway!!!

  11. I don’t know that much about mushrooms. I just know I like them on pizza and fried.?
    Thank you for the chance to win your wonderful book giveaway!!!

  12. Great series. Would love to read “No Grater Crime”.

  13. Thanks so much, Sherry!

  14. We have a winner!


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