by Cynthia Chow
& Maddie Day
This week we have a review of another fun food mystery by Maddie Day aka Edith Maxwell and a fun recipe. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a signed copy of Death Over Easy along with a link to purchase the book from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Death Over Easy: A Country Story Mystery by Maddie Day
Review by Cynthia Chow
Now that she has her Pans ‘N Pancakes business up and running, Robbie Jordan is taking the next step of adding the “bed” to her breakfast-and-lunch restaurant. Her first guests at the bed-and-breakfast are her newly discovered father and stepmother from Italy, Robert and Maria Fracasso. Their visit will have them in South Lick, Indiana, for the annual Brown County Bluegrass Festival, guaranteed to immerse them in the unique country music culture. Too bad it also has them witnessing an argument between Robbie’s boyfriend Abe O’Neill and the featured singer, Pia Bianchi. It seems that changing the music set isn’t her only crime, and Pia’s failure to pay back loans and frequent affairs may be what lead to her being found in the historical Beanblossom Bridge, strangled to death with a banjo string.
A banjo being Abe’s musical instrument of choice is only one reason for Robbie to become invested in the investigation, as her stepmother also recognized the young woman from Italy years ago. Having a large share of the suspects residing as her B&B guests gives Maddie ample opportunities to snoop into their rooms for clues, while the restaurant serves as the perfect gathering place for overhearing gossip. As one very hostile witness comments, allowing the Pans ‘N Pancakes restaurant to become a satellite police interrogation center is probably not the best for business, but it does allow her to eavesdrop and make an alibi-checking list of her own.
As more and more suspects pop up to serve as red-herrings, readers will be served up a multitude of surprises before the final reveal. A thrilling conclusion will have Robbie coming to the rescue, but this is refreshingly after she has contacted authorities and done her best to stay out of trouble. Families coming together – and possibly falling apart – are the central themes of this enjoyable novel, one that also joyfully depicts the very unique world of bluegrass music. The Pan ‘N Pancake daily specials will have readers hankerin’ for fried apples and sugar cream pies, and included recipes can ensure that those wishes can be fulfilled. This is satisfying novel full of enough twists and turns to deceive even the most jaded of mystery readers, but the real reward is seeing the spunky Robbie beat the police to the solutions despite her best intentions to stay uninvolved. Also writing under the name Edith Maxwell, the prolific and always reliable author presents yet another fun novel full of humor, quirky country sayings, and descriptions of tantalizing comfort food meals.
Recipe from Death Over Easy
By Maddie Day aka Edith Maxwell
Robbie Jordan’s stepmother Maria Fracasso enjoys this dish at the Hoosier Hollow restaurant when she and Robbie’s father visit from Italy in Death Over Easy. Robbie’s friend Christina is the chef, so you know the meal had to be tasty.
I made it again recently and used only 3/4 cup of half and half, so if you want it a little less rich, give it a try. I also sautéed the chicken in olive oil, not butter, this time, and used basil instead of parsley, because that was what I had in the garden. I chose to serve the dish over buttered local new potatoes, and it was an excellent choice. I hope you enjoy your dinner – and the book!
Chicken with Wine-Mushroom Sauce
2 tbsp butter
1 lb. boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
12 oz white mushrooms sliced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/4 cup minced parsley
Add the butter to a large skillet and melt over medium high heat.
Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place chicken breasts in skillet and cook on both sides, about 5 mins. per side or until no longer pink inside. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium. Add onion to skillet and cook for a couple minutes until onion is translucent and soft. Add mushrooms and stir. Season mushrooms generously with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, onions, and garlic and stir. Add wine and cook off the wine for a couple more minutes.
Add half and half and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally or until sauce reduces a bit and thickens. Return chicken to the skillet and integrate with the sauce.
Garnish with parsley and serve hot over rice, pasta, or buttered potatoes.
To enter to win a signed copy of Death Over Easy, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “easy,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 15, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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