Sunday, May 05, 2024

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Cornbread, Ribs, and Murder (Chocolate Martini Sisters Mystery, #3) by Joyce Proell & Brenda Whiteside


Cornbread, Ribs, and Murder
A Chocolate Martini Sisters Mystery
Brenda Whiteside and Joyce Proell

Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting - Arizona
Independently Published
Publication Date: April 20, 2024
Digital Print length: 271 pages



It’s a rib cookoff…with a recipe for murder.

Nicole Earp and Emma Banefield are celebrating another birthday at the Dulce Inn with the added fun of a rib cookoff in the park. Not only are chocolate martinis in their plans, Nic has her heart set on winning the cornbread contest. But as the excitement bakes, someone is stirring up trouble for the inn and its employees.

Strange occurrences at the Dulce are on the rise. Slashed tires, menacing phone calls, and unsavory characters add a vibe that threatens the sisters’ anticipated fun-filled stay. When the hot-headed hotel owner is caught wielding a bloody letter opener over a dead coworker, the sisters are embroiled in a caper to help the one person who finds their sleuthing as welcomed as a rattlesnake in her bed. But is she innocent?

The Chocolate Martini Sisters are primed to find out. First, they’ll have to eliminate a host of suspects that includes a dishonest restaurant owner, a jilted girlfriend, an ex-wife, the barkeeper, and a masseuse with a crush. If they can stay off the radar of the surly chief homicide detective long enough, they can put out the fire…unless the killer burns them first.

The third book in this amateur sleuths, cozy mystery series will have you chuckling and on the edge of your seat as the sisters solve the murder.




“Rumor has it Ms. Jackson is looking to the Chocolate Martini Sisters for, shall we say, guidance. Not to mention, Nic, your ex-husband is her attorney.” Even with sunglasses on, Ken’s expression came across as smug—a description she would never have assigned to his personality.

“Oh! How on earth do you know all of that?”

“They call us detectives, and some might think we’re good at our jobs.”

Em’s hand went to her mouth, stifling a snicker.

“Does that mean if we come across clues or actual evidence, you don’t want to hear from me?”

“Ah, Nic.” He flicked a finger under her chin. “I always like to hear from you.” He ticked his head as if considering how much to commit. “We’ll keep in touch. After all, you do have the ear of Ms. Jackson.” He nodded at Em and darted into the Dulce.

Aware her mouth opened and shut, she stared at her sister. “That was kind of weird.”

“But revealing. They haven’t a clue.”

Nic pushed her Panama higher off her forehead. “That’s what you got out of our exchange?”

“Hakata has never stonewalled us before. And I don’t think he would now since he knows we could probably share something helpful via Jillian. You heard his last remark. He’ll welcome an exchange when there’s anything to exchange. Even if he does have to be careful around Dawg. Now I’d really like to find the killer first.” Her sister’s competitive juices were gushing. 


5 stars!

The fun, sleuthing sisters return in another birthday weekend murder mystery! 

Cornbread, Ribs, and Murder is the third book in the collaborative mystery series by author Joyce Pruell and Brenda Whiteside, the Chocolate Martini Sisters Mysteries, and this time, Nic and Em agree to help their recurring nemesis and hotel owner/manager, Jillian Jackson, prove her innocence in the murder of a former lover. With a cornbread baking contest, a rib cook-off, and the ever-present promise of a delicious chocolate martini, the story is full of culinary delights as well as romantic liaisons and, of course, a shocking murder. 

The plot unfolds from the dual points of view of the main characters, sisters Emma Banefield and Nicole ‘Nic’ Earp. The smoothly transitioning alternating chapters effectively tell the story and provide a more robust view of events and insight into the characters’ thoughts. The sisters are truly opposite sides of the same coin, very different from each other yet sharing the same values and warm-hearted souls. They are quick to begin investigating or gathering information, as they term it, as the murder occurs early in the story, but Jillian Jackson, the disagreeable hotel owner/manager, officially asks for their help when she is arrested and charged with the murder of Leo Ragazzi, the assistant manager and the lover who recently rejected her. 

The Dulce Inn is once again Murder Central in this third outing for the Chocolate Martini Sisters, and over the course of the previous books, and well summarized to date in this one, acquired a Peyton Place-ish vibe. The inter-relationships among the staff are starting to gain legendary status, and the high degree of fraternization provides additional opportunities for plausible red herrings. The sisters gather their bits of information from any and all who were at the hotel at the time of the murder or who might have insight into the victim’s background. With plenty of twists and turns keeping the story fresh and entertaining, coupled with easy-to-read narratives and writing styles, I whipped through this book in almost a single sitting. 

Although this is the third book in the series, it can easily be read and enjoyed without reading the earlier ones; however, they were both excellent mysteries and shouldn’t be overlooked. I recommend CORNBREAD, RIBS, AND MURDER to cozy mystery readers and fans of the previous novels in the series.


Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense, romance, and cozy mystery. She writes children’s books under the pen name, Brenda Sue. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart and won't discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

After hearing countless stories as a mental health professional, Joyce Proell retired to create her own tales. As an award-winning author, she writes historical romance and cozy mystery where all endings are guaranteed happy. She shares her home on the prairie with a husband and a little dog with a big personality. When she isn’t reading or writing, she likes to swim and finds baking almost as relaxing as a day at the spa.


May 1 – Sarah Can't Stop Reading – REVIEW
May 2 – Mystery, Thrillers, and Suspense – SPOTLIGHT
May 2 – Baroness Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
May 3 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 4 – Maureen's Musings – SPOTLIGHT
May 5 – Guatemala Paula Loves to Read – REVIEW
May 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR GUEST POST
May 7 – Christy's Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 7 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 8 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
May 9 – Brooke Blogs – RECIPE POST
May 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 11 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
May 12 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHTWITH EXCERPT
May 13 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 14 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR GUEST POST


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Brenda whiteside said...

Thanks so much for being a tour host. And double thanks for your detailed review.

Joyce said...

Ditto what my cohort in writing crime said. Mucho thanks for hosting and the great review. I'm so tickled you loved the book.