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If Fried Chicken Could Fly
A Country Cooking School Mystery, No 1
Paige Shelton

Berkley Prime Crime
Jan 2012/ ISBN: 978-0-425-24585-9

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Betts Winston lives and works in Broken Rope, Missouri where she helps her grandmother at Gram's Country Cooking School. Broken Rope is a town steeped in history and lore, having seen its fair share of thieves and hooligans as well as old west justice.

The book begins with this sentence: ·If the items in the cast-iron skillet hadn't burst into flames just as Gram was dunking the coated chicken breast into the hot bubbling grease, we might not have found the dead body so soon.· With an opener like that, how could a reader not be intrigued?

Author Paige Shelton is no newcomer to writing mysteries (her other series is the Farmers· Market Series) and her skill certainly shines in this debut of A Country Cooking School Mystery series.

Once the dead body has been found and identified, it seems that Gram is a suspect; so naturally, Betts has to clear her name and risk danger to her own person to find the real killer. She turns to her good friend Jake, who is a member of the local Historical Society for help. Yet soon there is another man in the picture; the kicker is that this guy is a ghost!

Between the ghost, the historian, and Betts, they should be able to solve the murder at the cooking school, right? It's an interesting path down the roads of past and present to discover what is really going on in Broken Rope.

I found this to be a very enjoyable read, with its own style and humor and charming old west motif. The characters were true to life, including the ghost. This is a cozy mystery to be sure, but with a historic and western flair all its own.

Perhaps it is even worthy of its own genre. Mystery/Cozy/Western/Paranormal.

If you are a fan of Paige's previous works, you are bound to enjoy this as well. If you like Casey Daniels Wild Wild Death or Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell, this new series should appeal to you too.

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2012
© 2012