Fudge Brownies & Murder by Janel Gradowski

Source: Janel Gradowski
ebook, 209 pgs.
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Fudge Brownies & Murder (Culinary Competition Mystery #4) by Janel Gradowski, which also includes recipes that will make your mouth water, can be read as part of the series or on its own.  Amy Ridley is a foodie and food competition veteran who always seems to find herself drawn into solving local murders, using her unusual amateur sleuthing skills.  As she helps out her newlywed friends and makes sure Carla’s pregnancy brownie cravings are kept in check with new varieties, Amy has stretched herself into a foodie blog and into part-time work at the local market where other vendors from town sell their wares to customers.  What she finds, even as she’s getting better at blogging and creating new recipes, is that the local market crowd can be a deep pool of sharks waiting to take a bite, especially around the holidays in Kellerton, Michigan.

“Ester Mae’s bluish-black locks were teased and hair sprayed into an inflated up-do that a crow could easily nest in.”

Ester Mae is a brash woman who loves Southern cooking, and she has no qualms about stealing customers any way she can.  But look out if you get into her cross-hairs.  Amy only gets a small taste of Ester Mae’s attitude at the latest competition, but what she sees is a strong willed older woman who knows what she wants.  Amy is balancing all her new roles with the help of yoga and her yoga teacher and friend, Rori.  When someone ends up dead at the new culinary competition, Amy is less personally involved until her friend comes under suspicion.

“He blinked at Amy’s reasoning or Amy logic, which is what he called her ideas that were on the crazier side.”

Fudge Brownies & Murder (Culinary Competition Mystery #4) by Janel Gradowski is another fun cozy mystery that brings Amy Ridley into the middle of another murder investigation.  While she’s trying to help her friends prepare for their new arrival and keep things moving in her business venture, she also stumbles upon her own feelings about motherhood and while she tries not to think about them too deeply, she knows this is an issue she’ll have to confront soon.  Gradowski’s characters are always quirky and fun, and Amy tries to investigate murders without getting into face-to-face confrontations with suspects, but sometimes even the most careful sleuth can find themselves in a bit of danger.

About the Author:

Janel Gradowski lives in a land that looks like a cold weather fashion accessory, the mitten-shaped state of Michigan. She is a wife and mom to two kids and one Golden Retriever. Her journey to becoming an author is littered with odd jobs like renting apartments to college students and programming commercials for an AM radio station. Somewhere along the way she also became a beadwork designer and teacher. She enjoys cooking recipes found in her formidable cookbook and culinary fiction collection. Searching for unique treasures at art fairs, flea markets and thrift stores is also a favorite pastime. Coffee is an essential part of her life.

Other books by this author, reviewed here:


  1. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) says

    I really need to start this series! I have the first book.

  2. Serena,

    This sounds like a fun cozy! I love that recipes are included at the end of the book. 🙂

  3. I really really must read one of her books, and this one sounds like a perfect place to start, since fudge brownies are one of my favorite things!