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on June 6, 2003
Nancy Bell has whipped up some wonderful characters residing in Job's Crossing, Texas. There is the wonderfully big hearted, but minute Biggie, and her resident 12 year old grandson J.R. and a cast of other fun characters.
Biggie and J.R. go out for a big night on the town, the opening of the town's brand new, all chicken restaurant. The proprietor is nowhere to be found in all of the hustle and bustle, until he is found, served up dead with gravy on top! Biggie takes it upon herself to help her cousin, the local sheriff solve this crime.
During this Christmas holiday season, J.R.'s other grandparents arrive, with intentions of taking J.R. back home with them. The boy is forced to learn about love and loyalty v.s. the value of a dollar. What choice will he make? Is Biggie to busy for him anymore? What would it be like to spend Christmas, or to live with his rich grandparents?
As I detest spoilers I won't give any more plot elements. The sub-plots were all woven together very well. The gore factor was very light. (I will say that it was a murder tastefully done, with a flourish and garnish at that!) I don't recall any strong language or adult situations in the book. With the story taking place in the holiday season, while this book can be read at any time during the year, it may be a nice addition to the holiday reading pile.
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on April 15, 1999
This is the third in the series bringing readers smack-dab into the grits and gravy lives of Biggie Weatherford and those close to her in Joe's Crossing, Texas. The grand opening of the Fresh-as-a-Daisy Chicken Restaurant and take-out (featuring sweet-and-sour to southern fried chicken) is the unlikely setting of a murder. The body of the owner, Firman Birdsonis found under a table covered in gravy and garnished with tomato and parsley. Biggie, the grandmother we've all wished for, rounds up her posse-Willie May, the best cook south of the Mason-Dixon. Rosebud the handy man-driver-raconteur, Paul and Siles the one man (yes, one man) police department and Jr. Biggies ten your old grandson and they unite to uncover this tasteless killer. To add to the chicken-pot-pie, JR's other grandmother and her ersatz cowboy husband Skinny crash into town to take JR to live with them at their ranch. The reader will eagerly await the next glimpse into Jobs Crossing and the southern-fried charmers Nancy Bill's stories evoke.
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on November 8, 1998
Biggie Weatherford takes her grandson J.R. to the opening of Job's Crossing, Texas' newest eatery, The Fresh-as-a-Daisy Restaurant. However, instead of enjoying a meal, the amateur detective duo discover the restaurant's owner, Firman Birdsong, has been murdered and stuffed like a chicken to be roasted.
Biggie personally believes that it is her divine right to investigate the murder. She and J.R. soon find several suspects with motives. However, before she can complete her
inquiries, the maternal grandparents of J.R. arrive to take the lad back with them. Feeling that his beloved Biggie is obsessed with sleuthing, an unwanted J.R. runs away, leaving Biggie with two cases to ponder.
If anyone has read the two previous Biggie tales, they might initially feel that their third novel is a repeat. In many ways, it is. However, the story line is freshened up by the crack in the relationship between J.R. and Biggie, and the appearance of the other grandparents. The mystery is well written and built around hoe-down humor and cardiac-giving (but delicious) food. With BIGGIE AND THE FRICASSEED FAT MAN, Biggie remains a big player in the regional amateur sleuth sub-genre.

Harriet Klausner
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on July 24, 2003
With plenty of stops for chow time (and chow chow) and a policeman whose priority is his pie, this homespun mystery novel (set during the Christmas season) has an accent almost as thick as the gravy covering the body of fricasseed fat man. In Job's Crossing, if the cholesterol doesn't kill you the colloquialisms might. Please note that the term "funeralized" really ISN'T an every day term in Texas, nor do we all talk like this. The charm of grandma/detective Biggie and grandson/detective J.R. almost overcomes the hokey-ness of the time warp they appear to be stuck in. While the local actuarial tables would surely indicate that Job's Crossing could be hazardous to your health, never fear, for Biggie and J.R. will surely sort things out. Gossip, glop, and a spare grandma all garnish this very corny, colloquial cozy mystery.
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