To the Bakers in My Family, plus #Giveaway

News Flash: Laurie Pinnell is the lucky winner of the puzzle! Laurie, congratulations, and please check your email.

Edith/Maddie here, with a full heart on the release day for Batter Off Dead. It’s my 10th Country Store Mystery, my 27th full-length novel, and this is an all-round happy day.

I want to share with you the dedication I wrote for this book.

Cookies, cakes, pie, crisps. Breads, buns, muffins. You name it. The women who raised our mother and father, the woman who raised my sisters and me, and we three, now of nearly the oldest generation – we all have baking of all kinds in common.

So, with a book that has Batter in the title, who better to dedicate it to?

Our grandmothers were (Dot) Dorothy Henderson Maxwell and Ruth Skinner Flaherty.

Allan Senior, Ruthie, Dot, Jo, Allan Junior (Edith’s father), in 1932 – two decades before Edith was born (not sure why Aunt Jo and Daddy look so stern).
Ruth Ann Skinner Flaherty, as Edith remembers her.

I remember Mama Ruth coming to visit from northern California for two or three weeks at a time. Once, when I came home from school, I was so surprised she had made cupcakes from scratch – and they were square! She said she couldn’t find the cupcake pans, so she just lined up the cupcake papers in a rectangular pan.

Mama Dot, who lived two towns away, baked cookies and her own Chex party mix. (My sisters and I can’t remember cakes or pies she made, but that’s a factor of memory. Dot was a fabulous cook.)

Our mother, Marilyn, used recipes from both these ladies for her Christmas cookies, which I still bake every year.

Marilyn Flaherty Maxwell Muller

My sisters and I grew up baking with our mom. Three kinds of pies for Thanksgiving. Cakes from mixes and from scratch. Cinnamon rolls laden with butter and brown sugar on Christmas morning. And cookies of all kinds.

David, Edith, Janet, Barbara, in about 1958

Mommy was a let-them-get-their-hands-dirty kind of mom. There was no short-order cooking in our house. We were given free range of the kitchen if we wanted to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, pancakes for the family, or a toast and hot chocolate snack (I dipped my buttered toast in my hot chocolate). We all made our own school lunches as soon as we were tall enough to see over the kitchen counter.

My sister Barbara Bergendorf – who lives in Indiana – has contributed more than one yummy recipe to my Country Store books, including to Batter Off Dead. Janet, now a Canadian and resident of Ottawa, and I started baking whole grain bread together in college using the Tassajara Bread Book, and she still makes delicious breads and cookies.

We also have a younger brother. While David doesn’t cook a lot, he is known throughout the state of California for his chocolate chip cookies.

We nearly lost Barbie a few years ago when her heart stopped on Christmas Day, but she made a full recovery. We’re all so grateful our four-kid family remains intact.

Janet, Barbara, and me, after Barbara rather miraculously recovered from her heart stopping four years ago.
The Maxwell kids at Edith’s son’s wedding in September, 2019.

A quintessential batter-based dish, pancakes are still a big item in my household. Banana-walnut pancakes were one of the first mentions in Flipped for Murder, Country Store Mystery #1. These days I mostly make flapjacks with blueberries, always with whole wheat flour, and whenever a son or two is visiting. I’m happy to report both sons are great bakers, too!

Thanks for helping me celebrate, dear Friends of the Wickeds. We’re having a Facebook party with nine author pals tonight from 7:20-10 EST, with prizes and chat and games. Please join us here!

And as a special prize, I’d love to send one of you the Country Store tenth-birthday jigsaw puzzle!

Design credit to the talented Jennifer McKee

I started my copy. I’ve gazed at these covers for so long, I could spot a piece from each with ease – at least at the beginning!

Thank you for loving my stories and being such supportive fans. I’ll tell you a secret – the Country Store series has been renewed through book #13! Yes, I’m as excited as you are.

Readers: Please share your favorite Country Store Mysteries book, character, or recipe. And if you haven’t yet read them yet, just say hi!

96 Thoughts

  1. My favourite in the series so far is No Grater Crime but I love the main characters throughout the series. They are unique and believable. So happy to know that the series will go on for at least a few more books. Congratulations!

  2. I have been recently catching up on the series and need the latest. Your wonderful photo album and tribute today is lovely. It is a terrific tribute and a refreshing item to open early in the morning. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Happy Release Day Edith!

    Having read BATTER OFF DEAD via an advance copy, you’ve already seen my review of the book from Goodreads.

    I’m not sure I can tell you which of the 10 books is my favorite above all the others. I just love them all.

    Knowing that there are at least three more books to come makes me so happy as it means three more Robbie Jordan adventures. I love Robbie of course. I mean, how can you not love the central character in the series? But I also have a fondness for Danna as well.

    Plus, while I may have read all the books in the Country Store Mysteries series, now I have to start getting the books for my friend Ann who has made it known she wants to start reading the series (she already has the first one.)

    I am planning on being on Facebook for the launch event tonight! See you there!

  4. Happy Release Day! I love the series! The books are well-written, and I love visiting with Robbie and the gang. I can’t wait to read Batter Off Dead. Thanks for sharing your family’s love of baking and cooking.

  5. Happy Book Birthday! This newborn is on my Kindle now. I’m looking forward to reading how the newlyweds solve this one.

  6. EDITH/MADDIE Congratulations, on your 10th Country Store mystery!
    I also plan to attend (part of) tonight’s Facebook celebration.

    I must admit I have a soft spot in the heart for Lt Buck Bird.
    As a foodie myself, I love his enthusiasm for Robbie’s diner food and his huge appetite, lol.

    And you know that I have recently made your banana-walnut pancakes. Very yummy!

  7. I like reading about how much Buck can eat. I couldn’t eat even half of what he does

  8. What a lovely family, thanks for sharing your baking memories! I haven’t read this series yet, but I will! That puzzle looks fun.

  9. Big time congrats on the new release, Edith! And, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find something yummy to snack on!

  10. I like Aunt Adele. She’s funny and tough and just a neat character to read about. And the food! Can food be a character as well as a theme, because it sure plays a role! I’d love to be able to visit Pans ‘n Pancakes, but I like the included recipes so I can have a little taste of the place.

  11. Love the family pictures, Edith. Congratulations on your latest release!! I am still playing catch-up on all of your series, but am determined to be all caught up by year’s end! All your covers are terrific!

  12. The family photos are beautiful and very special. I enjoyed them greatly. Your books are treasures which are unique.

  13. HARTFEELT CONGRATULATIONS on BATTER OFF DEAD dear Edith!!!! It is so nice of you to share your family with us. God bless them all! All your books ar my ‘favorites’, and can’t get enough! It would be such an honor to be able to prominently display BATTER OFF DEAD (after I read it with character voices to my wife) on my home library! May God bless you abundantly and may you dram up abundant idas for new mysteries! Thank you! Luis at ole dot travel

  14. Happy Book Birthday! I love your family tribute. Honoring your family is a beautiful tribute to their influence in your life. I almost always have a terrible time choosing a favorite book or character, but Aunt Adele is a pretty amazing character, part mother, part drill sergeant, all love. I truly appreciate her. Am delighted the series has been renewed. I always enjoy a return trip to South Lick.

  15. Loved this book! Can’t get enough of Robbie and her recipes! And my physical copy should be arriving by Friday!

  16. Congratulations on the release of BATTER OFF DEAD”!

    Picking a favorite is like saying which child do you like best. However, IF pushed to pick, I would have to say “NACHO AVERAGE MURDER” purely because it was the first one I got to read and caused me to love each and every one of the others. I’m always looking with great anticipation to a new release which I devour and then start looking forward to the next one.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  17. I haven’t read this series but I have your others on my shelves in the library. I loved reading about your family here. The pictures are wonderful. I had a stroke on January 28 and this puzzle would be a wonderful form of therapy for my mind and for my hand to help with dexterity. But I realize my chances for that are slim. I do want to congratulate you and I am planning on reading this series too! I love your books Edith/Maddie.

  18. What a joy-filled, lovely family you have Edith! It made me happy looking at the photos, thanks for sharing with us. Best wishes for this new book and now the rest to come, you are on a roll. Please don’t enter me for the contest, I am a reader and not a puzzle gal. 😉

  19. Congratulations on your new release!! Your book sounds like a great read and oh my with great sounding recipes also. I am #4 of 6 siblings and we all need to get together and have a sibling family photo. Good size families are alot of fun!! Have a great week and stay safe. Enjoy your new release day!

  20. Congrats on book 10! I’m hoping to pop into the party at some point, but I will be at the dentist when it starts.

  21. Congratulations on the new release. So far my favorite character is Robbie because she is a gutsy woman. Being an independent business woman is not an easy thing and I respect her for doing her best.

  22. Many of my cousins lived on the same street as Grandma, about six houses on Kempland, which was not a long street, and they were in and out of each other’s houses constantly. Aunt Marie had made cookies her girls weren’t eating, so she took them to Grandma’s, and then her girls came home, raving about the great cookies at Grandma’s. <3 I wish I could have some dessert and/or breakfast at Pans 'N Pancakes. 😉

  23. Happy Book Birthday, Edith! And with 3 more to go! I couldn’t begin to say which of the books is my favorite. I love them all. I would absolutely love to win the puzzle. But if I don’t, is there a place I can buy one? It’s exactly the sort of puzzle I love to do. Thanks for sharing your family with us. You clearly are a loving bunch.

  24. What a lovely post! My grandmother Stockbridge was a wonderful baker, and I have her recipe box. I’m teaching my nieces some of her tricks, and tell them about her while I do it. Happiest of book birthdays to you, my friend.

  25. I first found one of your books while visiting family back in Indiana. I was hooked! Imagine my surprise when I came back to NH and learned you were here. I’ve read all these books, except for today’s new one. It’s in my hand to read next. Great puzzle! Congratulations! I depend upon old family recipes. My mother’s Persimmon Pudding recipe, written in her own hand, has been a favorite of 4 generations.

  26. Happy Book release day!!! I love this series! Of course being from Indiana makes it just that more special! Still waiting for you to come to Indiana 😉

  27. I have read some of your books but not The Country Store books. I love recipes so I know I would enjoy reading them.

  28. Congratulations on your new release, Eidth! I haven’t read this series yet, but it is on my TBR list.

  29. What a beautiful family of bakers you have! Thank you for sharing your stories. I love all of your books in this series. Too hard to pick just one! I’ll see you at the party !

  30. Ow wow the jigsaw looks stunning! is it available for purchase (I think shipping to the UK could be rather pricey!) No Grater Crime and Batter Off Dead are next on my list to read 😀

  31. I absolutely LOVED No Grater Crime. It was definitely in my top 10 of favorite books of all time! Thank you for this chance!

  32. Congrats in the new book!! Hard to choose a favorite book of yours as I enjoyed them all so much! Love Aunt Adele! Thanks for the chance!

  33. Such a tasty, twisty book! In our family, highest praise is “almost as good as Grandma’s.” <3
    Dad used to say you could the difference between country cooking and city by the evaluation of the size of an egg: a city cook will call it so large it only needs one while a country cook will say it's so small and use two. 😉

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