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    Review of SOUTHERN FRIED by Cathy Pickens (see her website)

    Thomas Dunne, St. martin's Minotaur, April 2004

    After flipping out during a trial when her own witness was lying to help her case, lawyer Avery Andrews is jobless and back home in small town South Carolina. There she finds a number of cases including possible environmental polution, a man who admits to murder to be with her, a husband suspected in the long-ago death of his wife, and a woman who wants to sue a historian over his unflattering portrayal of a civil war spy. It isn't want Avery went to law school to do, expecially when the one client with money's wife accuses her of ruining his life and fires her.

    Avery pushes after most of the cases (although she does her best to avoid the civil war lawsuit), but bad things seem to keep happening--the dead body in the lake, arson at the furniture factory, the EPA searching for a toxic waste dump, and poor lovelorn Donlee Griggs coming up with another attention-attracting device involving death or bodily harm.

    In any small town, especially in small southern towns, gossip and long-remembered affairs and misbehaving play a role. The grapevine becomes a central source of clues and red herrings as Avery continues to look into building a legal practice in Dacus, South Carolina--the town she left when she went away to college and never even considered returning to until now.

    Author Cathy Pickens offers up a charming and funny treat in SOUTHERN FRIED. If you enjoy a combination of humor, wacky anecdotes, and 'cozy' mystery solving, FRIED will definitely please your palate.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 6/05/04

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