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Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles

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Welcome to Mahalia's Sweet Tea--the finest soul food restaurant in Prince George's County, Maryland. In between preparing her famous cornbread and mashed potatoes so creamy "they'll make you want to slap your Momma," owner Halia Watkins is about to dip her spoon into a grisly mystery. . . Halia Watkins has her hands full cooking, hosting, and keeping her boisterous young co Welcome to Mahalia's Sweet Tea--the finest soul food restaurant in Prince George's County, Maryland. In between preparing her famous cornbread and mashed potatoes so creamy "they'll make you want to slap your Momma," owner Halia Watkins is about to dip her spoon into a grisly mystery. . . Halia Watkins has her hands full cooking, hosting, and keeping her boisterous young cousin, Wavonne, from getting too sassy with customers. Having fast-talking entrepreneur Marcus Rand turn up in her kitchen is annoying enough when he's alive--but finding his dead body face-down on her ceramic tile after hours is much worse. Marcus had his enemies, and the cast iron frying pan beside his corpse suggests that at last, his shady business deals went too far. Halia is desperate to keep Sweet Tea's name out of the sordid spotlight but her efforts only make Wavonne a prime suspect. Now Halia will have to serve up the real villain--before the killer returns for a second helping. . . Features delicious recipes from Mahalia's Sweet Tea, including Sour Cream Corn Bread and Sweet Corn Casserole!


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Welcome to Mahalia's Sweet Tea--the finest soul food restaurant in Prince George's County, Maryland. In between preparing her famous cornbread and mashed potatoes so creamy "they'll make you want to slap your Momma," owner Halia Watkins is about to dip her spoon into a grisly mystery. . . Halia Watkins has her hands full cooking, hosting, and keeping her boisterous young co Welcome to Mahalia's Sweet Tea--the finest soul food restaurant in Prince George's County, Maryland. In between preparing her famous cornbread and mashed potatoes so creamy "they'll make you want to slap your Momma," owner Halia Watkins is about to dip her spoon into a grisly mystery. . . Halia Watkins has her hands full cooking, hosting, and keeping her boisterous young cousin, Wavonne, from getting too sassy with customers. Having fast-talking entrepreneur Marcus Rand turn up in her kitchen is annoying enough when he's alive--but finding his dead body face-down on her ceramic tile after hours is much worse. Marcus had his enemies, and the cast iron frying pan beside his corpse suggests that at last, his shady business deals went too far. Halia is desperate to keep Sweet Tea's name out of the sordid spotlight but her efforts only make Wavonne a prime suspect. Now Halia will have to serve up the real villain--before the killer returns for a second helping. . . Features delicious recipes from Mahalia's Sweet Tea, including Sour Cream Corn Bread and Sweet Corn Casserole!

30 review for Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    The only good thing this book did was make me hungry for waffles. Other than that, this was a huge waste of time. I hated the dialogue, which tries way too hard to cater to Black people. This is usually why I avoid urban/African-American novels. I don't know anyone who speaks like these characters so everything sounds fake. Then the characters themselves, that's a whole other issue. I mean, could they be any dumber? The decisions being made by these two grown women concerned me rather than enter The only good thing this book did was make me hungry for waffles. Other than that, this was a huge waste of time. I hated the dialogue, which tries way too hard to cater to Black people. This is usually why I avoid urban/African-American novels. I don't know anyone who speaks like these characters so everything sounds fake. Then the characters themselves, that's a whole other issue. I mean, could they be any dumber? The decisions being made by these two grown women concerned me rather than entertained me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrea: NastyMuchachitaReads

    I DO NOT RECOMMEND READING THIS BOOK OR THIS SERIES. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS WRITTEN BY A WHITE MAN. Here's my story on how I got catfished. I want to start by saying I am so incredibly disappointed in the publisher, Kensington, and I am so angry that I was deceived and misled, because I did NOT consent to reading a book written by a white man. I purposely sought out cozies written by BLACK women. BLACK. And it's so outrageous that I found myself a victim of catfishing so shortly after Kensington rele I DO NOT RECOMMEND READING THIS BOOK OR THIS SERIES. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS WRITTEN BY A WHITE MAN. Here's my story on how I got catfished. I want to start by saying I am so incredibly disappointed in the publisher, Kensington, and I am so angry that I was deceived and misled, because I did NOT consent to reading a book written by a white man. I purposely sought out cozies written by BLACK women. BLACK. And it's so outrageous that I found myself a victim of catfishing so shortly after Kensington released #BLM statements about uplifting Black voices. I'm choosing to make this a learning moment for me, and I hope Kensington and the author reflect on this in light of the current uprisings to protect Black lives. This series amounts to literary blackface, and the book gets more and more racist the more I ruminate on it. I read this on audio after I researched Black cozies I could listen to. I recently got into reading cozies written by BIPOC, but they're hard to find (they don't really exist), especially ones with audiobooks. I found this book on a few lists recommending Black cozy mysteries, cozies written by Black women, and cozies written by BIPOC. Because this is a mystery series, I don't read reviews ahead of reading, to avoid spoilers. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very intentional reader and I track various aspects of my reading; I read diversely, tracking race/ethnicity/nationality, gender, sexuality, neurodiversity, disability, and so on. When I logged on goodreads to rate this book upon finishing all 7 hours of it, I was horrified to see reviews noting the author's true identity. When I started the audio, yes, something was off. I had these moments of discomfort because the content felt very classist and colorist -- at the time I thought a Black woman was writing about Black people. I thought that perhaps this was a case of a Black writer having to write something palatable for the "target audience." There are hardly any cozies written by BIPOC, a result of the industry's gatekeeping, so it wasn't outlandish to me that this one had questionable content. In retrospect, it is sooooo racist. Spoilers ahead, but no worries because you shouldn't bother with this book. Red Flags: - racist caricatures presenting Black stereotypes - classism by way of Black characters calling other characters "low class" and "ghetto" and "hoodrat" with negative connotations - colorism that is not interrogated; comments about how "light" is better - comments about "good hair" which, in the book, is long and straight - Wavonne, who is written as lazy & lacking ambition, has a name that sounds like the Spanish slang word "huevon/a"; the author is a white Latino; if this was done on purpose, it didn't go over my head. - Wavonne's backstory includes harmful Black stereotypes about parenthood; offers nothing to the story except to "explain" Wavonne's personality - The premise that Mahalia would be so stupid as to do like 80% of her actions, including obstructing justice for a dead Black man - Having Wavonne steal from a dead Black man to use the credit card to buy a Coach purse at Macy's - Having Mahaila chase Wavonne through her restaurant to essentially "snatch her wig" off her head - Saying that Wavonne's Korean nail artist at her regular salon was replaced by another Korean person and Wavonne hasn't noticed for 2 months - The dialogue very much sounds like a non-Black person trying to speak in AAVE And there are plenty more incidents. They gave me pause with question marks around my head. Why did I keep listening? Because I thought that this was written by a Black author. But what threw me off more is that the audiobook is narrated by a talented Black audio reader. I think she made it more bearable; I don't think I would've kept reading if I saw the words on the page. The author's real name is Patrick Sanchez. Patrick, this is really gross. I read the comments you made about filling a hole in the market with BIPOC genre fiction, and I read the premises to your other books where you write from the POVs of women of color. I'm sure you consider this a creative process, and I hear you were defensive when readers asked you about sensitivity reads, but this is not okay. Kensington hardly has any Black #OwnVoices authors. The space you take up is not yours to take. I'm saddened this adds to the problem of gatekeeping in the industry, and I'm angry that the content of this series only endangers Black people rather than uplifts them. Ultimately, this is on Kensington; they chose to publish you under this pseudonym. It's curious how you didn't use a pseudonym for your other books; were they simply not selling well? It's quite something to see how much work a publisher put in to *not* publish a Black author. Seems so much easier to acquire at least one of the many Black cozy submissions Kensington must receive. All I can do here is inform other readers with the knowledge that you and your team have hidden in order to sell books, and have readers make their own judgments in the court of public opinion. If anyone has recommendations for #OwnVoices cozies by Black women, please let me know!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book disappointed me. I was so excited to finally find a cozy mystery that featured people of color, we are sorely under-represented but that's common in most fiction (unless it's urban). The dialogue was in poor taste, as were the depictions of the characters. The name 'Wavonne' should've clued me in but I forged through hoping for a great read. Black people are smart- the people in this book made terrible decisions (i.e not calling the cops when your brother is missing, moving a dead body This book disappointed me. I was so excited to finally find a cozy mystery that featured people of color, we are sorely under-represented but that's common in most fiction (unless it's urban). The dialogue was in poor taste, as were the depictions of the characters. The name 'Wavonne' should've clued me in but I forged through hoping for a great read. Black people are smart- the people in this book made terrible decisions (i.e not calling the cops when your brother is missing, moving a dead body). I could not understand why the author would portray the characters in such an unappealing way. I am happy to be finished with this book but disappointed that I probably won't continue the series.

  4. 4 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts Haila and Wavonne are absolutely laugh out loud funny. Wavonne reminded me of Lula from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series but she is even funnier. These two are in a fine mess when they find Marcus Rand, Haila’s silent partner, dead in Mahalia’s Sweet Tea. He is even more silent now. It looks like he has been hit upside the head with a cast iron frying pan. Haila panics when she thinks finding a dead body in her kitchen will mean the end of the Sweet Tea, so she decides t Dollycas’s Thoughts Haila and Wavonne are absolutely laugh out loud funny. Wavonne reminded me of Lula from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series but she is even funnier. These two are in a fine mess when they find Marcus Rand, Haila’s silent partner, dead in Mahalia’s Sweet Tea. He is even more silent now. It looks like he has been hit upside the head with a cast iron frying pan. Haila panics when she thinks finding a dead body in her kitchen will mean the end of the Sweet Tea, so she decides to move the body. Wavonne is talked into helping her but she does something that soon will have her listed as the police’s prime suspect. Haila decides to find the real killer before her cousin ends up in the slammer and hilarity and drama ensues. I was grabbed by the title of this book and was completely drawn in to the story. The characters are full of humor, the mystery is great and the recipes and food sound delicious! Mahalia’s Sweet Tea sounds like a perfect place to visit for some fine fresh home-made food the will warm your soul. Haila has great business sense that she puts to good use and she tries figure out who relieved the world of Marcus’ misery. Turns out there are plenty of suspects. Wavonne is a gem who doesn’t have a lot of ambition but heart is in the right place. I can’t find out anything about this author but they are off to a fantastic start with this series. Set in a place near plenty of action I can’t wait to see what kind of mess Haila and Wavonne get into next.

  5. 4 out of 5

    B.

    Terrible. Just terrible. And goes to show that you can't expect a "cozy mysteries" list to actually have read the books they include. Less than halfway through page 1 I figured that this was written by a white male due to the sheer amount of stereotypes that were used. I DNF'd this one because it was that stereotypical, and that terrible. By page 11 I was ready to pitch this book across the room. It's awful. Turns out that the dude, as he so snootily points out on his facebook author page is "Ma Terrible. Just terrible. And goes to show that you can't expect a "cozy mysteries" list to actually have read the books they include. Less than halfway through page 1 I figured that this was written by a white male due to the sheer amount of stereotypes that were used. I DNF'd this one because it was that stereotypical, and that terrible. By page 11 I was ready to pitch this book across the room. It's awful. Turns out that the dude, as he so snootily points out on his facebook author page is "Male? yes...white? not exactly :-)...half latino/half white guy....a.l. herbert is a penn name (after my grandfather Allison L Herbert)." Well, let's not say this was written by a white male with zero integration into different cultures. Let's say that it was written by a half white male who has zero integration into the soul food culture. After all, it wouldn't do to fall into the same pattern of spouting twaddle that this guy does. *cringe* Good thing I bought this one used. I would have really, really hated to provide any kind of support for this guy. Seriously, ick.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    "God forgive me," I ever so slightly hear Momma say as she turns towards the kitchen door. "But I just don't care for that man." I have a book club that is planning to read book 2 in this series - and I just can't do it! I need to start a cozy mystery at the beginning - so I quickly grabbed book 1 and started in! This is an interesting beginning to the series - Halia is a restaurant business owner. She runs a clean ship - good staff, good food and good manners. She stays true to the recipes she le "God forgive me," I ever so slightly hear Momma say as she turns towards the kitchen door. "But I just don't care for that man." I have a book club that is planning to read book 2 in this series - and I just can't do it! I need to start a cozy mystery at the beginning - so I quickly grabbed book 1 and started in! This is an interesting beginning to the series - Halia is a restaurant business owner. She runs a clean ship - good staff, good food and good manners. She stays true to the recipes she learned from her grandma long ago and doesn't cut corners or keep plates light. But she needed help opening her first restaurant and that's where Marcus comes in - he was the silent partner that financially helped her open and she's paying him back each month. But when Marcus turns up dead on the floor of her restaurant, she needs to get his body out and start working to solve the crime so her restaurant isn't in the papers for being the location of a murder! It was a cute story but repetitive at times. I heard the same story about her learning recipes from her grandma at least 3 separate times in the book. I didn't like Wavonne and found her to be unnecessary and even, at times, a horrible character. All in all, it was just okay - I'm hoping book 2 is a little faster paced and funnier.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leona Glazebrooks

    I could not finish this book!!!!! This book deserves the rating of negative three stars. The first negative star is for the writing. The other two negative stars are for portraying African-American women through a lens that is culturally insensitive. The gaze, from which this book is written, is so bound in gender and racial stereotypes. There are so many aspects of this book that are absolutely awful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chatting About

    Halia Watkins is the owner of Mahalia's Sweet Tea---a delicious Soul Food Restaurant in Maryland. Her mother makes the desserts; her cousin, Wavonne, waitresses and talks a bunch of smack all the time; and Halia keeps her eye on everyone and everything that's happening in her restaurant. When she and Wavonne find her shady acting business partner, Marcus, dead in the kitchen, Halia doesn't want bad publicity to ruin her hard work so they drag his body outside and leave it by a dumpster!! Then, t Halia Watkins is the owner of Mahalia's Sweet Tea---a delicious Soul Food Restaurant in Maryland. Her mother makes the desserts; her cousin, Wavonne, waitresses and talks a bunch of smack all the time; and Halia keeps her eye on everyone and everything that's happening in her restaurant. When she and Wavonne find her shady acting business partner, Marcus, dead in the kitchen, Halia doesn't want bad publicity to ruin her hard work so they drag his body outside and leave it by a dumpster!! Then, to Halia's horror, the body disappears, and is found floating in a nearby lake. To make matters worse, Wavonne swiped Marcus's wallet off his dead body and has been swiping his credit card all over the place. The police don't know it's her....yet....but now, she's gonna be the main suspect. This dazzling, debut novel had me constantly laughing out loud!! I was thoroughly entertained on every page. Halia and Wavonne are the leading ladies, backed up by the friendly staff at the restaurant, and all the different suspects and various people they question as they quickly try to find the murderer and clear Wavonne's name. There is some cursing in this book, for those who are sensitive to that, but I wouldn't let that stop me from enjoying this mystery. I never had a clue as to who the killer was. I can hardly wait for book two! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Author. This review is my own personal opinion and not influenced by anyone else.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    A very good murder mystery story. Started a little slow for me, but I quickly fell in love with the characters, Hailia and Wavonne, and continued reading. The story itself was quite interesting, especially since I live in the area. It was both entertaining and funny with an interesting plot. Looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    They really make it look like this was written by a Black Woman but it’s by a Latino male (Patrick Sanchez) who wanted “to target an untapped niche”. Wtf

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emma B

    Sometimes you need to read something just to be reading. I discovered this little delicious book on the new book shelf at my local library. While it will never be a literary masterpiece, it is well written, with a few mistakes the editor should have caught, and kept my interest with various dishes and the method of preparing them written right into the story. Recipes are also included. 'Halia (Mahalia) accepted a loan from Marcus, a dubious character, to help get her restaurant "Sweet Tea" in PG Sometimes you need to read something just to be reading. I discovered this little delicious book on the new book shelf at my local library. While it will never be a literary masterpiece, it is well written, with a few mistakes the editor should have caught, and kept my interest with various dishes and the method of preparing them written right into the story. Recipes are also included. 'Halia (Mahalia) accepted a loan from Marcus, a dubious character, to help get her restaurant "Sweet Tea" in PG County, Maryland off the ground. And, what great sounding dishes are served with Mama Celia coming in in the wee hours of the morning, so as not to clash with 'Halia, to bake scrumptious desserts. But, when Marcus is found dead on the restaurant's kitchen floor, 'Halia becomes an amateur sleuth to solve his murder, and Cousin Wavonne is her sidekick. Part Castle, Part Nancy Drew, I look forward to reading the next episode in the Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery series "Murder With Macaroni and Cheese". (coming August 2016)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lacey

    I really wanted to enjoy this novel, but I find I just have no interest in finding out what happens next. What starts off as a great premise peters out about 25% of the way through. Halia just keeps reinstating the fact that her grandmother taught her how to cook and her cousin is lazy ect ect. It gets old after the second time it's mentioned. By the third time these things get mentioned I got completely sick of it. Then what horrified me was the fact that when they discover Marcus murdered they I really wanted to enjoy this novel, but I find I just have no interest in finding out what happens next. What starts off as a great premise peters out about 25% of the way through. Halia just keeps reinstating the fact that her grandmother taught her how to cook and her cousin is lazy ect ect. It gets old after the second time it's mentioned. By the third time these things get mentioned I got completely sick of it. Then what horrified me was the fact that when they discover Marcus murdered they decide to move his body out of the restaurant because they could lose customers! Somebody just lost their life and now you're ruining the crime scene! It was horrible to read. I won't be reading anymore of the books in this series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    This was fun and easy. I did think the author could have used a more vigorous editor because there was a lot of extraneous place setting that didn't really move the story along. I also wonder whether this book was written a while ago but only sold recently because somethings struck me as odd and not something you would do in today's age of instant internet (Would you really hop in a car and drive to a Sears TV showroom to see if something was being reported on the local news? Wouldn't you really This was fun and easy. I did think the author could have used a more vigorous editor because there was a lot of extraneous place setting that didn't really move the story along. I also wonder whether this book was written a while ago but only sold recently because somethings struck me as odd and not something you would do in today's age of instant internet (Would you really hop in a car and drive to a Sears TV showroom to see if something was being reported on the local news? Wouldn't you really go to the local station's website? Or at least go on Facebook/twitter and see if people are talking about it?). That aside, though, I enjoyed this, and I would definitely read more by the author.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cornerofmadness

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Probably closer to a 3.5 for some of the things that happened but it's a debut novel and Halia had a great voice so I rounded up. I won this from a Goodreads Giveaway but that did not in any way influence my thoughts on it. There aren't that many African American detectives out there and fewer still that are amateur detectives so it was nice to that diversity here. Halia Watkins is a 40 something single business woman running Sweet Tea, a soul food restaurant that is successful in Prince George c Probably closer to a 3.5 for some of the things that happened but it's a debut novel and Halia had a great voice so I rounded up. I won this from a Goodreads Giveaway but that did not in any way influence my thoughts on it. There aren't that many African American detectives out there and fewer still that are amateur detectives so it was nice to that diversity here. Halia Watkins is a 40 something single business woman running Sweet Tea, a soul food restaurant that is successful in Prince George county near D.C.. She's assisted by her mother who does all the baking and her young cousin, Wavonne who is a waitress. Mom is more interested in finding Halia a man than anything else (as a single 40 something myself, I can only say I'm glad my mother isn't this aggressive about it!). Halia is far more interested in running her business and helping to keep Wavonne, who she helped her mother to raise, out of trouble. But trouble has a way of finding people. Marcus Rand helped Halia get her restaurant off the ground. He's a smooth talking businessman who is assisted by his sister, Jacqueline, a fitness obsessed woman and his business partner, Charles. He's dating a hairdress, Regine and likes to order Halia around a little when it comes to her making her best dishes even if they're not on the menu that night. Marcus ends up dead and here is where the story stumbled a little for me. Cozy mystery authors are always faced with the problem of 'why is this non-detective trying to solve a mystery?' Unfortunately it comes about after Halia does something incredibly stupid and damaging to the real investigation. The most credible thing is to say she panicked but I have to say it bugged me a little. Still, I like the character. As I said, she has a great voice so I read on. Halia's foolish move is compounded by Wavonne doing something bone stupid. Now she has to solve this case before Wavonne ends up jailed as the prime suspect in Marcus's death. Halia has to navigate Marcus's business dealings which get shadier by the moment trying to find the real killer before Detective Hutchinson puts the cuffs on Wavonne. Hutchinson isn't much of a character in the book and while it's not his story I wish he was more of a presence. I'm just glad he's not the hostile, incompentent detective that you sometimes see in cozies (I dislike that trope). In spite of my reservations about how Halia gets involved, I had a lot of fun with this one. Halia and Wavonne are fun characters. The recipes that come with this look tasty too (I haven't tried them yet. Sadly most of them aren't too diabetic friendly). I'm looking forward to more. One spoilery comment about the end (mildly so). *** **** It bothered me a little that neither Wavonne nor Halia have to face consequences of their earlier actions but I suppose it makes sense. It would kill a series if they did, I suppose. Still, this is a minor quibble.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is a fun cozy about a soul-food restaurant owner and her crazy cousin (who would drive me crazy). Cozies are not generally my thing, but two things made it stand out for me -- the location -- it takes place in Prince George's County, Maryland, which is where I live (and made me salivate at the possibility that the restaurant, Sweet Tea, is based on a real restaurant, I wish!) and the recipes, which I want to try (but the portions seem larger than for one person). Also, I realized partway th This is a fun cozy about a soul-food restaurant owner and her crazy cousin (who would drive me crazy). Cozies are not generally my thing, but two things made it stand out for me -- the location -- it takes place in Prince George's County, Maryland, which is where I live (and made me salivate at the possibility that the restaurant, Sweet Tea, is based on a real restaurant, I wish!) and the recipes, which I want to try (but the portions seem larger than for one person). Also, I realized partway through the book that I was assuming all the characters were black unless the book specifically said otherwise, which is a reversal of my usual assumption. There's a sequel -- Murder with Macaroni & Cheese. I'm hoping for a great mac and cheese recipe along with a fun read and more Prince George's County.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chantel DaCosta

    This was a wild ride. The motives made sense but there a sense that more should have been done in the end. It's a funny cozy mystery and I'm not 100% for Halia and Wavonne, I'll continue with the series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barb Martin

    OK. This was a little ridiculous but not entirely unenjoyable. Mahalia owns a soul food restaurant, and her loose-cannon cousin, Wavonne, works for her. When someone is murdered in the restaurant, Mahalia makes a stupid decision. Then, her cousin makes that stupid decision worse. As is typical in cozy mysteries, Mahalia then decides she must be the one to solve the mystery. She does. I don't think the reader gets a fair shake at solving, though.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    If you're looking for a light read that has some funny dialogue, this is your book. Also, reading it made me crave cornbread and wings. Set in Prince George County, Maryland (known as PG County, as in, that's SO PG County) Halia runs a soul food restaurant with her momma and her big breasted, spandex wearing, potty-mouthed cousin Wavonne. When Halia's business partner and no-account hustler Marcus Rand shows up dead in her restaurant, Halia sets out to discover who killed him before the scandal b If you're looking for a light read that has some funny dialogue, this is your book. Also, reading it made me crave cornbread and wings. Set in Prince George County, Maryland (known as PG County, as in, that's SO PG County) Halia runs a soul food restaurant with her momma and her big breasted, spandex wearing, potty-mouthed cousin Wavonne. When Halia's business partner and no-account hustler Marcus Rand shows up dead in her restaurant, Halia sets out to discover who killed him before the scandal breaks that he was killed in her restaurant and she loses everything. The mystery and plot are a little thin, and the financial scheme that is set up is a little bit unrealistic, but maybe that bothered me only because I live with a law professor who would have ranted at the silliness of it. There are some minor pacing issues----the author takes some time waxing lyrical about PG County and while I've lived in the DC Metro area for some time now and am familiar with PG County, it got a little tiresome and wasn't necessary for the development of the characters. Also the plot sort of hinges on names pulled from Living Single, and I'm a white girl who has never watched a single episode Living Single, so that and some other references sort of went over my head. But the reader genuinely likes Halia, and the addition of recipes from the soul food restaurant Sweet Tea is fun. The descriptions of the food is also so lovely it makes me want to try out every recipe, and I don't even cook. For the sensitive reader, be aware that Wavonne doesn't speak without a swear word, although she mostly keeps to phrases like "hail no" and "gold diggin' heifer". So, moving, lyrical prose it is not, but it's nice for a poolside read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    First off I want to say how happy I was this book was recommended to me. It is very rare when I get a recommendation actually meets my requirements. My search for a cozy mystery with African American characters was proving to be sad at best. I started another book but I wasn't satisfied with the main character's profession, but I will save that review for when I finish that book. On to Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles... Maybe I was partial to this book immediately because I lived in MD (I wo First off I want to say how happy I was this book was recommended to me. It is very rare when I get a recommendation actually meets my requirements. My search for a cozy mystery with African American characters was proving to be sad at best. I started another book but I wasn't satisfied with the main character's profession, but I will save that review for when I finish that book. On to Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles... Maybe I was partial to this book immediately because I lived in MD (I work in PG County)for the last seven years. I enjoyed reading about an area I was familiar with. I especially enjoyed the history of PG County. I found the main character, Halia, to be likable and not at all stereotypical, which was a concern of my when starting the book. Wavonne was a little more "PG County" but not in an overly exaggerated way. She effectively brought a different element to the story, which I thought was well received. The story itself was great, in my opinion. It had just enough red herrings to keep me guessing about the murderer while still providing a nice twist at the end. I also thought the recipes was a cute added bonus, although I would have preferred them at the end since I was listening to the book on Kindle, but I understand why the author did it the way she did. Overall this was a solid start to a series and I will gladly pick up the next one.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This is the first book in this new series, set in the Maryland suburbs of DC. I did read this book after I read the second in the series, though I am pretty OCD about this. I learned more of the background of Mahalia (Halia as she is known in the book) but for most other purposes, both books can stand on their own. If you'd like more plot background, you can read another review or summary of the book by the publisher. I like to limit my reviews to my own opinions. I enjoyed this book as much as t This is the first book in this new series, set in the Maryland suburbs of DC. I did read this book after I read the second in the series, though I am pretty OCD about this. I learned more of the background of Mahalia (Halia as she is known in the book) but for most other purposes, both books can stand on their own. If you'd like more plot background, you can read another review or summary of the book by the publisher. I like to limit my reviews to my own opinions. I enjoyed this book as much as the second, Murder with Macaroni and Cheese. The murder happens at the beginning of the book, with a great twist right there, and the plot becomes as sticky as Halia's Sweet Corn Casserole. My only critique is that in both books, the author doesn't develop any romantic angle for Halia. All her mother does is complain about how she is 40 years old and never been married, over and over again. I am hoping this will change in the next book. There are several recipes that Halia has chosen to share with the reader, making you that much more intimate with the book. Looking forward to the next one in this cozy!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Finally, a cozy mystery that is all about the mystery and not getting the protagonist hooked up with some man (a cop; 99% of the time, it's a cop)! Finally, a cozy mystery that is full of people of color, that has a realistically diverse cast! Finally, a cozy mystery with an intelligent protagonist who makes smart decisions (mostly, with a misstep here and there), figures things out on her own, and makes mistakes that further the plot but don't automatically lead her into embarrassingly comical Finally, a cozy mystery that is all about the mystery and not getting the protagonist hooked up with some man (a cop; 99% of the time, it's a cop)! Finally, a cozy mystery that is full of people of color, that has a realistically diverse cast! Finally, a cozy mystery with an intelligent protagonist who makes smart decisions (mostly, with a misstep here and there), figures things out on her own, and makes mistakes that further the plot but don't automatically lead her into embarrassingly comical situations! Finally, a cozy mystery that ends with the sleuth knowing and revealing all, not stumbling into a dangerous situation she had no idea was coming, from which she needs to be rescued by the love interest! I have been waiting for this cozy mystery for a long time. I'm looking forward to the second in the series and hoping that more cozy mysteries like this are written in the future. It's not perfect, it had a few rough spots, but overall, it had everything I want a cozy mystery to have. I really enjoyed it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

    I am a forty-something white girl and I quite enjoyed this book! LOL Halia and Wavonne are the Lucy and Ethel of PG County... and it makes for a great story. Memorable characters, a unique setting, and good mystery. When I don't figure out the who in the whodunit before the protagonist does, I consider that a win for the book! There was a couple of small gripes - I noticed some issues with words being left out in sentences and a couple of grammatical errors, but nothing that distracts from the st I am a forty-something white girl and I quite enjoyed this book! LOL Halia and Wavonne are the Lucy and Ethel of PG County... and it makes for a great story. Memorable characters, a unique setting, and good mystery. When I don't figure out the who in the whodunit before the protagonist does, I consider that a win for the book! There was a couple of small gripes - I noticed some issues with words being left out in sentences and a couple of grammatical errors, but nothing that distracts from the story (I just notice that kind of stuff). I also could have done without the several pages of description and history on Prince George County. Some background is helpful and helps set the environment for the story, but too much is tiresome and really doesn't move the story along at all. Overall, I think this is a great start to a series and am already looking forward to the next adventure that Halia and Wavonne get into. :D

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I really enjoyed this "cozy" with Halia and Wavonne. I thought the mystery was well thought out, the food sounds delicious, and the characters are down to earth and believable. Some of the things I though strange about the novel was: 1. There was some curse words 2. Questionable reasons why tapering with evidence was acceptable, but I guess that could be any cozy with an amateur sleuth, they may break the law while trying to investigate a murder. I can't wait until the next installment which is du I really enjoyed this "cozy" with Halia and Wavonne. I thought the mystery was well thought out, the food sounds delicious, and the characters are down to earth and believable. Some of the things I though strange about the novel was: 1. There was some curse words 2. Questionable reasons why tapering with evidence was acceptable, but I guess that could be any cozy with an amateur sleuth, they may break the law while trying to investigate a murder. I can't wait until the next installment which is due out in August.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christi

    This is a great start to a new series. Mahalia Watkins owns and operates Mahalia's Sweet Tea, a soul food restaurant in Prince George County, Maryland. The description of the dishes served in the restaurant make me wish the restaurant was real so I could visit! The characters are great, and the mystery kept me guessing until the end. I can't wait to visit Mahalia's Sweet Tea again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Swanson

    I absolutely LOVED this book! The only complaint I really had on it was that it had to end. I loved the adventures of Halia and Wavonne. I liked that the characters were down to earth and the story overall ran quickly and smoothly. Also, it included recipes! I would recommend this book to any foodies that enjoy mysteries. It is well worth checking out!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eboni

    The authors knowledge of the metropolitan DC area, colorful characters, and the recipes involved lent itself to a lively discussion- it worked well for my library's book club, (the food involved didn't hurt either).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    For the first in the series, it wasn't bad. I will read the next one. I liked Halia and Wavonne. They were funny and quirky enough for mains. The recipes in the book were a nice touch. I didn't like the ending of this story though. There wasn't enough excitement in the end.

  28. 5 out of 5

    BRan

    Hilarious title! Great story that keeps your attention. It was great to read about a familiar area while play detective! Check it out.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen Clark

    This was a cute book. I liked all the characters. It was an easy read and I didn't guess the murderer!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I had read the second in the series previously, so it was a pleasure to read this first in series. I already felt like I knew the characters. Halia owns and runs Sweet Tea Restaurant in Maryland, and it isn't a good thing when your main investor winds up dead in your kitchen. Even worse, Halia's cousin Wavonne, used his credit card (it isn't stealing if he's dead) and is now a prime suspect. Halia feels like she has to solve this crime so that life can get back to normal. Despite all of Wavonne's I had read the second in the series previously, so it was a pleasure to read this first in series. I already felt like I knew the characters. Halia owns and runs Sweet Tea Restaurant in Maryland, and it isn't a good thing when your main investor winds up dead in your kitchen. Even worse, Halia's cousin Wavonne, used his credit card (it isn't stealing if he's dead) and is now a prime suspect. Halia feels like she has to solve this crime so that life can get back to normal. Despite all of Wavonne's faults, we know she isn't a murderer. The actual murderer was well concealed and I did not figure out who it was. It was a pleasant surprise and made sense. Overall, the book is well written and hard to put down...I enjoyed it very much and will be reaching for the 3rd in the series soon. Recipes included through the book for some of the dishes that Halia serves at the restaurant.

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