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Nacho Average Murder–chemical danger in Santa Barbara

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Nacho Average Murder

by Maddie Day

Robbie Jordan leaves wintry Indiana for a week’s vacation in sunny Santa Barbara. The initial draw is her tenth high school reunion, but she is excited to catch up with two of her best friends from her high school years, Alana and Jason, who will also be attending. It is fun for Robbie to revisit locales from her childhood, but the trip is tinged with sadness as her mom passed away two years prior.

Robbie finds herself in the midst of several investigations that may be tied together. There is a murder, and Robbie wonders if it could be connected to her own mother’s death as both of the deceased were young to be afflicted with the diagnosed aneurysms. She becomes involved in an ongoing battle between concerned citizens and Walter Russom of Agrosafe, a company that manufactures a spray on fumigant that is making workers and animals in nearby fields very sick. Russom’s daughter Katherine was a dominating force back in their high school days and is still making her presence felt. There are other persons of interest that lead Robbie and Alana down new areas of investigation, and Robbie seems to have danger following her by car and on foot. She wonders if it is real or if she being paranoid.

Maddie Day’s Nacho Average Murder, besides its great title, is an all-round good cozy mystery. Don’t start reading this while you are hungry. Robbie, who runs a B&B/restaurant back home, is staying at a South of the Border styled B&B. It has Mexican flavor extending from Carmen, the charming hostess, and Mamá, her Spanish speaking mother, who are excellent cooks, to the colorful Southwestern decor. Robbie also tries out a lot of the local restaurants so we are treated to descriptions of yummy dishes beginning with king crab ceviche appetizer and delicious guacamole. With Carmen’s blessing, Robbie takes pictures to remind her of the food and stores away ideas for her own B&B. Mamá, who could win tortilla making speed records, even teaches Robbie how to flatten out tortillas by hand. 

Start reading this book because it is part of an excellent series, keep reading to solve the murder, and revisit this cozy to try out some of its recipes. It’s almost like a mini vacation. Put on your shorts and sandals and enjoy the beach, the food, and the scenery. You’ll meet some great characters and maybe even a few of the local alpacas.

I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes:  1. #7 in the Country Store Mystery Series, but it is perfect as a standalone because the main character is away from the usual setting and cast of characters.

  2. Includes 6 delicious sounding recipes.

Publication:   June 30, 2020—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

“Remember when we came here on that double date our junior year?”    She groaned. “With those twins, Whoosit and What’s His Name? That was a disaster and a half.”    “No kidding.” I snorted.

“You came!” She walked up to us with a smile wider than the San Andreas Fault and a lot less dangerous.

As I hurried between the wooden tables, my footsteps resounded louder on the gravel than a hundred monks crunching popcorn.


  1. Carla says:

    Great review Linda. When this book started, I was worried I wouldn’t like it as much because it was set elsewhere, but Maddie Day’s wonderful writing quickly drew me in and I loved it as much as you did. It is such a great series.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love Santa Barbara and I love books with recipes so this is a win win for me!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lghiggins says:

      The Chicken Empanada recipe is long, but it is probably worth the effort! When I lived in Mexico, the Costco had empanada “wrappers” in their frozen section that might make it go a little quicker. This sounded good because it has directions for making in advance and freezing so you could pull out what you need when you need it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t read it as the story was away. I do like her, Yesterday she also writes as Edith Maxwell.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I always know better than to read your cozy reviews. For as many cozies as I have on my TBR pile, you still find a way to point me to new ones. Definitely checking into this series—and this one sounds especially good. I mean, the food alone! Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lghiggins says:

    Oh, yes! The food they described and the recipes included will rouse up your taste buds. Sometimes I feel like the food descriptions are just there to fill up pages, but not in this case! I’m glad my cozy reviews have enticed you, because you do the same with your reviews.


  6. Love this title!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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