Risky Biscuits

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Another fun cozy mystery in the Sugar & Spice series! I enjoyed getting to know the characters Sugar and Dixie better. Their profession of a cookbook publishing business is unique and interesting. I love how everything comes together from the recipes to the pictures. This cozy contained a well planned mystery that kept me guessing to the very end. I am looking forward to the next book in this series!
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This was a quick, fun read. I enjoy cozies very much and this did not disappoint. I am looking forward to reading more by this author. I would recommend.
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I have no idea how I had missed this author and series, but I am glad to be catching up and I hope there will be a lot more to come with this wonderful couple of female sleuths.

Sugar and Spice are helping set out a fundraiser cookbook for a local breakfast club, there are a couple of hiccups but they don't expect the largest hiccup of all to be the death of the organiser, Alma, and when it turns out that her death wasn't the accident that everyone thought Sugar in particular starts to look more closely at people around St Ignatius, one of which appears to be the prodigal son, who is trying to smarm his way back into people's good books. Does he know more about the death than he is letting on, does Alma's grandson? and can the Sheriff sort it out quickly!
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Risky Biscuits by Mary Lee Ashford
Book #2: Sugar and Spice Mystery Series
Source: NetGalley and Lyrical Underground
Rating: 4½/5 stars

The girls are back with a new project, the prospect of several future projects, and another dead body or two 😊 

Following the success of their first cookbook and crime solving foray, Sugar and Dixie are back in business with a small but significant project.  The morning breakfast group at the senior center is intent on refurbishing one of the building in the park and to raise funds, they intend to sell a cookbook full of nothing but yummy breakfast foods.  Trouble is, just as the project is getting off the ground, the senior charge is found dead, run over by her own car.  

With only one case behind them, Sugar and Dixie have no intention of becoming involved in this newest St. Ignatius crime.  Unfortunately, because of their involvement with the cookbook, they’re smack dab in the middle of the mess.  If the cookbook is going to move forward and be completed, Sugar and Dixie are going to have to do some poking and prodding.  Poking and prodding usually means discomfort, especially for the person responsible for the crime.  

Poking around into this new murder has Dixie and Sugar digging up secrets at least two local families would much rather stay buried!  From an illegitimate birth to a set of twins with clear and present issues, the murder of one little lady has stirred up a hornet’s nest of trouble.  With each new revelation, Dixie and Sugar discover some people/families will go to any lengths necessary to preserve the status quo.  To Dixie and Sugar’s dismay they dig deep enough, accidentally discover just enough, and ask just enough questions to trigger a second death.  With a load of guilt and great sense of responsibility, the ladies work harder than ever to uncover the truth behind all the awful.  

The Bottom Line:  In case y’all didn’t know, I LOVE breakfast foods which makes this the perfect book for me 😊 Dixie and Sugar are a bit more experienced with the crime solving and because they were involved by default have a vested interest in solving the crime.  What I liked most about this installment of the series, beyond the food, of course, is the subtle little ways the author is setting up story lines for future installments of the series.  For example, Sugar is interviewing with another group for a future cookbook project, Max the photographer is more committed than ever to staying in town, Sugar’s neighbor is pesky as ever and not going anywhere, and Dixie’s love life is slowly making a comeback following the death of her husband.  All of these bits and pieces play out as the girls work on their current project and solve yet another crime.  All is blended together seamlessly to create yet another totally yummy cozy mystery.
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Who would murder Alma? And where are those recipes?
Risky Biscuits by Mary Lee Ashford is a marvelous mystery, filled with small-town life, lots of humor and plenty of baked goods.

Sugar Calloway is our main character and point of view. She and Dixie Spicer run the Sugar & Spice Publishing Company, where they publish cookbooks. They also dabble in the investigation of local murders. Even though the local Sheriff, Terry doesn’t like or appreciate their assistance.

I like Sugar and Dixie. They make a good partnership. The problem they have is that they are nosy. Neither Sugar nor Dixie can let a mystery go. At least they turn over their findings to the Sherriff.

Greer Gooder is my favorite character. She is a hoot, who drinks coffee until she is buzzing, has to be everywhere early and she is nosier than Sugar. Here is a quote from the story.
“She’s been on edge. Like the other day we were going to the bakery over in Marston and she turned the wrong direction on the highway. When I said, ‘Hey Alma, wrong way!’ she slammed on the brakes so hard that poor Freda Watson’s wig ended up in the front seat on top of Nellie’s pocketbook. It’s lucky we didn’t all have whiplash.”

The mystery is superb and had me guessing throughout the story whodunit? There aren’t a lot of suspects but the culprit was a surprise. I like the tie back to old small-town secrets.

Recipes Included
•	Jeri Beetles Cat’s Head Biscuits
•	Alma Stoller’s Heart Attach Hot Dish
•	Greer’s Better Than Robert Redford Cake
•	Diane’s Blue-Ribbon Made-from-Scratch Biscuits

I can't wait to try these recipes.

4 Stars for Risky Biscuits by Mary Lee Ashford
My rating for Risky Biscuits by Mary Lee Ashford is four stars. The story is entertaining with well-developed characters and the mystery is top-notched. I recommend this cozy mystery to all.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the Great Escapes Book Tours. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed this review of Risky Biscuits by Mary Lee Ashford.

Anyways, until next time, 
Karen the Baroness
Happy Reading

If you would like to see other reviews like this one, check out BaronessBookTrove.com.
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Dollycas’s Thoughts

Biscuits and Gravy cooks from the St. Ignatius Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club have been hosting breakfast events to raise money for the park shelter where they hold their events. The decide to bind their recipes together in a cookbook put together by Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway and Dixie Spicer aka “Sugar” and “Spice”. When the de facto leader of the Breakfast Club goes missing and is later found killed, Sugar’s landlord, a member of the group begs Sugar to look into the tragic death. Sugar does have an in as she needs to attend meetings and contact members to keep the fundraising cookbook on track. Plus the gossip chain has ratcheted up with the return of Nick Marchant to town. He and “Spicy” have some kind of a past that Sugar knows nothing about but keeping her ears open and putting a little pressure on her friend she just might find out. The good sheriff is sure not thrilled the man is back in town either.

After reading Game of Scones recently I could wait to sink my teeth into Risky Biscuits. Author Mary Lee Ashford sure didn’t disappoint. She has written strong characters and enveloped them in a stellar mystery.

Sugar & Spice Publishing is getting more clients and Sugar is using her organizational skills while Spice refines a bunch of recipes all to make their next cookbook publication a huge success. Photographer Max Windsor wasn’t as present at the beginning of the story as I had hoped but he doesn’t let the ladies down when it is time to take the food photos needed for the book. We also meet several residents from Greer’s retirement community. While mourning their friend they are still a fun and feisty group.

Ms. Ashford takes a bit of time introducing the new characters and showing readers how they fit with those we had already met. But then Sugar gets hot on the trail to find the killer. Red herrings, yes there were a few. I made the mistake of thinking I had the culprit pinned down early only to be shown the error of my ways. Twists and turns led to a shocking reveal.

Aside from the murder, this little town in Iowa is a fun place to visit. I love all the friendships that are blooming.

I can’t finish this review without mentioning the food. Spice is always baking up something good. Even things she considers flops are downright tasty. She always seems to have plenty of people dropping by their shop for samples too. I wish she could pass them out from the pages, especially the Better Than Robert Redford/George Clooney cake. The author does include recipes in the back of the book but I don’t have the skills Spice has. Then again the recipe of the above mentioned doesn’t look too complicated 🙂

Culinary cozies readers will love this story.
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I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. We have the standard formula of small-town life, a new transplant with a golden heart and an interesting cat. You will have to take my word for the fact that this was a very well written version of the cozy murder mystery genre(plus cat). That is until you read and confirm the tale's efficiency for yourself.

Each action and behavioural quirks are explained in painstaking detail and should have had the effect of explaining a joke after the crowd has heard the punchline but it does not. I cannot place my finger on how that worked but it did. We have cutesy names for all the characters and I did not feel like cringing because their behaviour was above board and intelligent and the names are just coincidences of their lives in general. This is not the first book in the series but apart from the (almost non-existent) love life of our leading lady Sugar (see what I mean about the names?) who is a partner in a cookbook publishing company, the story can be read as a standalone. I only felt I missed something in the first story when she mentioned the 'guy' who was absent from the first half of this tale and I wanted to know more about their original meeting. 

In this installment, Sugar is trying to settle on friendly terms with her neighbour and solve a local murder when it turns up because she cares for the people involved and she might be holding all the clues in her hand. Once again with books like this, the plotline is not the main focus. the narrative tone, the comic timing and of course the random mentions of the cat and commentary of the interpretation of his actions or the lack thereof. I would definitely read the next in the series only to spend time with Sugar and her friends and keep my fingers crossed on Dixie (her partner) finding her happily ever after soon. If I have to mention the investigation in this one I would say it progresses at an acceptable pace and has a few twists that I thought I saw coming but was wrong about (in the best way).

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is completely based on my own reading experience.
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“Risky Biscuits” earns 5/5 Breakfast Treats...Entertaining and Clever!

Former magazine editor “Sugar” Calloway has partnered with award winning baker Dixie “Spicer” to launch a unique publishing company, “Sugar and Spice” Cookbooks. They help communities and organizations create cookbooks as a fundraising event. The current project is for St. Ignatius senior’s Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club who hope to refurbish the aging shelter house at the park. However, their cookbook has...a recipe for murder! Deliciously entertaining! Mary Lee Ashford has stepped up her game with book two in her Sugar & Spice Mystery making me an eager fan! Her entertaining writing style includes descriptive language and dialogue that illustrates well the setting, characters, tone, and personalities along with a delightful sense of humor, some a little too quirky but fun. Ashford follows a traditional cozy formula with a first-person narrative from “Sugar” Calloway’s perspective sharing her inner thoughts. And for a delicious bonus...start your own “breakfast club” with these easy-to-follow recipes each including informative tips: Jeri Beetles Cat’s Head Biscuits, Alma Stiller’s Heart Attack Hot Dish, Greer’s Better Tan Robert Redford Cake, and Diane’s Blue Ribbon Made-From-Scratch Biscuits.
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Risky Biscuits, is the second book in this series but it can read as a standalone.  This book is well written, its well paces, the characters were well developed, and the mystery has a few red herrings.  All the things that make a cozy mystery worth reading.  I liked this book and hope to try some of the recipes included..
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Sugar Calloway and Dixie Spicer are once again mixing delicious comfort food with murder in Mary Lee Ashford's second Sugar & Spice Mystery, Risky Biscuits.  The Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club is putting together a cookbook when one if its members is found run over in the park.  Who killed her and why, and is there any connection to former bad boy Nick Marchant's sudden return to St. Ignatius, or the proposed real estate development happening in town?!?  Yummy recipes are included at the the end of this cozy mystery, and I absolutely recommend it.  I loved the first book in the series, Game of Scones, and Risky Biscuits did not disappoint!  5 stars!!!
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Risky Biscuits is the second book in this series but can be read as a standalone. The characters are likeable. The suspense is well-maintained and the story is well-paced. Throw in a couple of twists and red herrings, add some more butter to it, give it a quick mix, and what you get is a Risky Biscuit. 

If you love cozy mysteries then this book is not to be missed.
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Although RISKY BISCUITS is the second book in A Sugar & Spice Mystery series by Mary Lee Ashford, it reads just as well all on its own. Just like “Sugar” Calloway’' I felt right at home in the small community of St. Ignatius, Iowa. 

While the business Sugar runs with her partner, Dixie,"Spice" Spicer, is not open to the public, like other shops on the main street, the delicious smells coming from Dixie's kitchen keeps a steady stream of visitors walking in their door. And with them comes town news and gossip.

Sugar is renting a house from an elderly woman. In return, they have a friendship that has extended to the other residents of the independent living retirement community in which Greer lives. That includes offering rides and a helpful hand at times. Sugar and Spice are also working on publishing a cookbook of recipes from those same elderly residents, and members of The Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club. Fortunately for us, several of the top recipes are included at the end of this book!

When one of the elderly women goes missing and the police won't take it seriously for at least 48 hours, Sugar is recruited to help the other women investigate. After all, it isn't breaking and entering if you know where the key is kept, is it?

Lots of small town hijinx history, high school remembered romances, and a bad boy returned home, without this leopard changing his spots, it seems, as well as colorful idioms and phrases inspired by Sugar's Aunt Cricket, make this a fun read as well as a well shrouded mystery. When you feel you have it figured out, something else comes to your attention.

I can't wait for my next visit!
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This is a fun cozy mystery set in an interesting community of characters.  Sugar, one of the main characters, is a Southern gal living far from  The South, and she adds charm to the story.  The mystery was interesting and well-paced.  This will be a good series to look forward to each book.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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This was a delightful cozy mystery. I have not read the first book in the Sugar and Spice Mystery series, but I didn't feel like I missed anything.

The characters are well developed and engaging. I fell in love with the senior citizen group and their efforts. The main character, Sugar Calloway, and her business partner, Dixie Spicer, bring a lot of personality to the story. There were lots of delightful one-liners and Sugar's Aunt Cricket's idioms were a wonderful addition. The names given to the characters just added even more humor and fun to the story.

The twists and turns and subplots blended throughout the story made it one I would recommend to anyone who loves a cozy mystery!

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. I am thrilled I was given the opportunity to read the book because I imagine I will be purchasing any new books from this series.

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Risky Biscuits:  A Sugar & Spice Mystery
By Mary Lee Ashford
July 2019

Review by Cynthia Chow

After a lifetime of moving around followed by an unpleasant divorce, Rosetta “Sugar” Sugarbaker Calloway is thrilled to call the small Southern town of St. Ignatius home.  The former magazine editor has gone into business with Dixie Spicer, and it only makes sense that the friends create Sugar and Spice Publishing to publish community cookbooks.  Their latest project is a cookbook for the Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club, a loosely organized group of seniors who want to use cookbook sales to help raise funds for a shelter house.  When member Alma Stoller forgets to pick up her friend Bunny from the post office, they learn that the reason was far worse than mere forgetfulness.  When Alma is found run over by her own car, evidence indicates that it was anything but an accident.  Searching for the recipes Alma had been collecting for the cookbook gives Sugar an entry point for investigating, and she’s spurred on by Sherriff Terrance Griffin’s request that she infiltrate the seniors to pass on their gossip.  

It doesn’t take long for Sugar to learn that a development company ironically named Ross & Cheeters Development Corporation has been buying up property all through town, with Alma being one of the last few holdouts.  Another big topic in St. Ignatius has been the return of bad boy Nick Marchant, whose twin brother Nate seems less than thrilled to have a sibling interfering in the family’s banking business.  Sugar finds Nick far too smooth to fall under his spell, but apparently she was one of the few who resists his charms.  Of course it helps that Sugar had recently grown close to photographer Max Windsor, but the relaxed banter seems to have frosted over as Max keeps their relationship strictly professional.  

This is a distinctly Southern novel that takes full advantage of the setting’s unique community, language, and of course food.  Sugar realizes that she is a “City Southerner,” but the locals are more than happy to introduce her to giant-sized Cat’s Head Biscuits and Better than Sex Cake.  Recipes of these – slightly retitled – are included at the end, along with a distinctly unhealthy but sinfully tasty Heart Attack Hot Dish.  Some of the best moments stem from Sugar’s humorous interactions with a passive-aggressive neighbor’s lawn care and a real estate with a possibly fictitious “Canadian” boyfriend.  An added element of intrigue is added by Sugar’s discovery of her late father’s “memoir,” which could be a fictionalized version of his own life and give her insight into the man she feels she never knew.   Southern Comfort cuisine, lively dialogue, and Sugar’s vulnerability as a heroine make this a winning second entry in in the Southern cookbook publishing series.
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This book was so fun!  I would recommend this cozy mystery...the characters were so real, the settings were amazing and the story had me until the last page.  Thank you Mary Lee Ashford for this terrific read.  I look forward to reading more.
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“Sugar” Calloway and her business partner Dixie Spicer have taken on a new cookbook client, the St. Ignatius Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club.  The group is famous for their all you can eat biscuits and gravy breakfasts, and they want their cookbook to raise money to refurbish the park where they hold their breakfasts.  Alma is the de facto head of the group, and she is also a neighbor and friend of Greer, Sugar’s landlady, in the retirement community where Greer now lives.  One day, Alma goes missing only for the police to report that she died under mysterious circumstances.  This throws the cookbook project into chaos, but Greer is very concerned about what happened to her friend.  Can Sugar uncover a few clues while making sure the cookbook makes it to print on time?

Reading this book, I realize I have completely fallen in love with the setting.  St. Ignatius seems like a charming small town that I would love to visit (between murders, of course), and the author’s descriptions of Iowa make it sound beautiful.  The book takes a little time to focus before the plot really starts to get going.  As I figured, those early wanderings did come into play as the story wound to its logical conclusion.  I thought I knew where things were going early on, but it turned out I was wrong.  The characters in this series are all strong and just as charming as the setting.  And there’s the food.  While reading, I was drooling at the descriptions of food, so I was happy for the four recipes we find at the end.  This book will leave you hungry for delicious food and another trip to this charming small town.
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In my opinion, Risky Biscuits is even better than than the first in this delightful series, Game of Scones. Coming back to St. Ignatius, Iowa to find out what Sugar Calloway and her business partner and friend Dixie Spicer are up to since their first foray into homicide investigation is reading time well spent. They are working on a cookbook for the Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club. What could possibly go wrong? The purpose of the cookbook is to raise money to fix up the local park, the setting of their famous breakfasts. Working with Alma, a friend of Sugar's landlady, Greer, things turn deadly when Alma is found dead and the plans for the cookbook are up in the air as she was the head of the club. 
Sugar sets to work to search for clues to uncover the killer and keep the cookbook on schedule for publication. Add to the many things she has to juggle, the bad boy from her high school days is back in town, the seniors from the local retirement community are a factor in her sleuthing and, of course, the police are on her case. If she isn't very careful, the killer may just come after her next.
The wonderful characters take center stage in this series and the small town setting is a perfect fit. The puzzle kept me guessing to the final pages and the humor had me laughing out loud. I'm looking forward to the next book and catching up with the residents of St. Ignatius.
My thanks to the publisher Lyrical Underground and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Risky Biscuits is the second book in Mary Lee Ashford’s Sugar & Spice Mystery series and is an entertaining read with well-developed characters, an interesting mystery, and laugh out loud moments.  

Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway (Sugar) relocated to the small town of St. Ignatius, and started Sugar and Spice Publishing, a community cookbook publishing company for fundraisers in St. Ignatius, Iowa, with her friend, Dixie Spicer (Spice).  Sugar handles the business end, and Dixie takes care of testing the recipes.  Their current project is for a fundraiser for the Crack of Dawn Breakfast Club.  The project’s leader, Alma Stoller, is murdered, which is disruptive to the cookbook project, and Sugar is scrabbling to get things organized and back on track.  Between the murder and a local bad boy, Nick Marchant, returning to town, the town’s gossip mill is working overtime.  Sugar and Dixie have a knack for solving mysteries and find themselves deeply entrenched in the investigation while trying to stay out of Sheriff Terrance Griffin’s path.

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
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This is the 2nd installment in the Sugar and Spice mystery series.  Sugar and her best friend Dixie run a cookbook publishing business.  Sugar has a background in publishing and Dixie is an amazing cook.  The current project is for the St. Ignatius Crack of Dawn Breakfast club who are trying to raise money and the point person for the project is Alma.  Greer Sugar's landlady call's her all upset that her friend Bunny is missing and Sugar goes looking for her.  She finds near the post office because Alma forgot to pick her up.  Alma has been acting pretty distracted recently and Sugar hopes this does not stop the project from going forward.  The next day Greer calls Sugar again to say that Alma is missing.  Sugar goes to the retirement community and along with the Greer and some others use a key and go into Alma's apartment to see if she is okay.  She is not there but the Sheriff Terry arrives and they find out Alma was found dead in the park.   Also former bad boy Nick Marchant arrives in town ready to pick up where he left off in high school to stir up trouble and break hearts.  He broke up Terry and Dixie in high school.  Later he is found dead in the same park as Alma.  Is there a connection.  Don't want to give too much away.  I like the way Sugar is not in your face investigating.  She just seems to be at the right place at the right time and asks the right questions.  Enjoyed the mystery and the pace of the story and all the supporting characters.  Look forward to the next in the series.
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