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Southern Fried (Southern Fried Mystery #1)

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  541 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Attorney Avery Andrews left her BMW behind in Columbia, South Carolina, along with her job at a high-powered law firm. She's come back home to Dacus where the vehicle of choice is a pickup truck with a dog chained in the back. Avery wants time to rethink her career and her life. What she gets is a bossy great aunt drumming up clients and dragging her to social teas. That's ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mar 08, 2017 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: manuel-s-books
I just finished reading an award winning mystery called "Southern Fried" by Cathy Pickens. I see I am not the first reader enthralled with this excellent novel and its way to combine the heartfelt with the humorous. Avery Andrews, her perspective, the small community of Dacus, and the brilliant style used with all its inhabitants kept me delighted from start to finish. --M. Costa

"Disclosure: A review copy of this book was sent to me by the author. All of the above opinions are my own."
Jan 17, 2016 Erika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy-mystery
I'm really glad to have been lead to this series, even if I did start with the newest book instead of the first. I've enjoyed reading them so much that I've had to force myself to stop reading them to go to bed or work and I now regret not taking at least the next one out from the library so I could get started reading it right now.

In this introduction to the series, the characters and town felt just as natural as the last installment instead of forced as many first books in a series can.
Which m
Katie Winkler
Jul 08, 2013 Katie Winkler rated it liked it
I always like reading books of people I've met. I first met Cathy Pickens at a writer's conference in Athens, GA--Harriette Austin Writers' Conference. I bought this, her first book in the series, back then but never got around to reading it. Then, a couple of weeks ago I heard Cathy speak at the High Country Bookfest in Boone and was so impressed and intrigued by her, again, that I picked up another one of her books, which I will read as soon as I finish "Generosity." I'm determined to finish i ...more
Mar 28, 2007 Kristie rated it it was ok
I read this because it was pick of the month for one of my online reading group and because the protagonist is a lawyer. It was okay for a cozy mystery, but just okay. I kept getting distracted by the author writing out how the people in the small South Carolina talked rather than letting me imagine it; if I have to decipher the language, it makes the page-turning a bit slower. More importantly, I was never convinced about what mystery the main character was trying to solve, or even if she was t ...more
Shonda Franks
Dec 01, 2016 Shonda Franks rated it liked it
These books are not what I normally read. I gave them a try because they have a southern theme and I like that. I do not read mysteries EVER, but decided to give this one a try. This book was good, but not something I enjoyed immensely. I will however, continue to read the rest of the books in this series to see if I can get more involved in the mysteries. If that makes any sense. Happy reading!
Laurie - The Baking Bookworm
Note: This review, as well as many more, can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (

My Review: My regular readers know that I don't give up on a book lightly. For me, there's a fine line between giving a book and author their due and feeling like I'm wasting my precious reading time on a book that's just not clicking with me.

Unfortunately, this book and I weren't on the same proverbial page. I'm all for the light, easy-reading mystery. There's nothing b
Southern Fried by Cathy Pickens is the first book of the Avery Andrews mystery series set in Dacus, South Carolina.

Avery was fired from life in the fast lane at a major law firm. She returns home to a small Southern town and her family, where she is warmly welcomed by all. Her relatives and friends hope she will stay, so they find clients for her.

Avery is asked to represent a factory owner in an environmental audit, a branch of the law she has never practiced. She studies the relevant regulatio
Nov 06, 2010 Gail added it
Shelves: mysteries
Attorney Avery Andrews leaves--was fired from--her highpowered job as an insurance attorney, defending defendants in malpractice lawsuits. She moves from the flatland city back to her hometown in the mountains of South Carolina, living in her grandfather's mountain cabin and hanging out with her quirky family. She is trying what to do with her life, uncertain whether moving to the big city to do personal injury law or to stay in the town that never forgets a flaw.

She takes a couple of cases incl
This mystery starts out in a typical sort of way for several kinds of genre fiction where a woman is the lead -- woman professional experiences trouble and goes home to her quirky (here Southern) town and her quirky extended family to sort out her life, only to find the answer to her troubles waiting for her at home. (Janet Evanovich, for example, exploited this outline (minus the moving home, since Stephanie had never left her home town) to great and profitable effect, although I gave up around ...more
JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)
I couldn't get past the first couple of chapters. Boring and didn't make any sense. Supposedly, she was a lawyer in a high-powered firm, but she got fired from her job and moved home. So, she had to give up her leased Mercedes, her apartment, etc. If she was a "lawyer in a high-powered firm", WHY didn't she have any savings? Did she have a gambling or drug problem? What did she do with her money? Maybe later in the book she had tons stashed away somewhere, but it appeared in the first couple of ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Wendy rated it liked it
Been on a cozy kick lately, mostly because they're enjoyable and easy to read. This one by Cathy Pickens, has Avery Andrews, an erstwhile lawyer for a big city firm who was fired and has now returned to her hometown. She's unemployed, living at her Grandfather's cottage, and trying to find her next step in life. The characters and the story are not as well developed, I find. Maybe because the author tried to cram too much in the plot. Murder, arson, environmental violations, plus a drunk who's c ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
I picked up this quick read at the library book sale. Lucky for me, it is the first in a series and I am hooked. I will continue to read them in order. Although the protagonist (Avery Andrews) is an attorney she acts as a detective in this book. The skeleton of a missing woman is found in a submerged vehicle several years later and Avery is trying to discover who killed her. There are other mysteries to solve as well such as what will crazy Donlee do next to show his undying love for Avery? The ...more
Barbara M
This was an enjoyable first in a new series and, I believe, a debut for the author. There's still quite a bit of back-story to tell, the reader doesn't really know why Avery left a very profitable position in the big city to return to her hometown. You can't help but hope that she'll stay in Dacus where there are some pretty quirky characters. Every once in a while, Ms Pickens gives you a taste of what they really sound like. I'm glad she doesn't use the vernacular throughout the story but it is ...more
Apr 08, 2008 Jen rated it liked it
In this first Avery Andrews mystery by Cathy Pickens, Avery has been fired from her big-firm attorney's job and returns to the small-town home of her youth. In a short time she finds herself smack in the middle of both a murder and an arson/murder investigation.

I found this book to be a quick, fun read. The characters are very colorful and well developed. The small-town gossip is hysterical.

The plot was a bit on the predictable side, but it was concise. Very little, if any, unnecessary fluff.

Feb 26, 2009 Danielle rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
It is books like this that make me think it is really not as hard to get published as everyone says. I read this before I learned that you really should judge a book by its cover. It was quoted in one of my writing magazines (which, wouldn't you assume they would only use good writing as examples? Apparently not.) and it looked cute, but turned out to be tedious and trite. In the author's defense, I guess, this kind of book is really not my thing.
A good, fun, cozy mystery to read on a rainy afternoon. Full of interesting characters, and the mystery was intriguing, fast paced, and had me guessing until nearly the end.

Would like to continue on with the series (if I can find the books at my library) as the characters were interesting enough that I wanted to see how they developed.
Feb 25, 2008 Jeannen rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
or, what happens when mystery readers are desperate for a new series to read.

I was hopeful about this one because there are several in the series and I always like to find a new-to-me author with a backlist. However, the characters were so unbelievable and the mystery so uninteresting that I could barely finish this one, and a year later I have only vague memories of the plot.
I've never read anything by ths author before and for me the pace was way to slow.It was about a lawyer who lost her job,In the big city and went home to her small town to regroup.The plot for me wasn't all that great and I don't think it's an author I would care to read anything else by.But for those of you who don't mind slow pace maybe you would like to give it a try!
Mar 24, 2010 Mascanlon rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-challenge
Another big city attorney who returns home to a small town. I really liked Avery and Pickens does a nice job in developing other characters and an interesting plot. I've gone off to buy the couple of other books in thsi series.
Oct 24, 2010 Grey853 rated it really liked it
Avery returns home after being fired from a law firm. Now what?

I enjoyed the humor and the characters. The writing reminded me a lot of Kathy Hogan Trocheck'w work. So, if you like those books, then you might like this one.
May 29, 2012 Joy rated it it was ok
It wasn't bad, but very predictable. I wanted to like the main character, but she was so confusing. The book seemed poorly thought out and the character development was not stellar. In fact I have no idea why any of the characters acted the way they did.
Jul 09, 2008 Daelith rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012-read
This was an okay read. If we had half stars it would be more of a 2.5 stars.
I liked it enough to read another one...especially since I already have in my TBR pile. It was way to easy to figure out who done it though.
Jun 01, 2011 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is the first in a series about a disgraced South Carolina lawyer named Avery. It is what I would call a cozy mystery. Lots of quirky characters and not much gore. I liked it and will probably continue reading the series.
Linda Stoner
Jun 04, 2010 Linda Stoner rated it really liked it
Recommended to Linda by: I Love A Mystery book store
This debut novel won Cathy Pickens won the 2003 St. Martin's PressMalice Domestic Contest for Best Traditional Mystery. It took me a while to get attached but, by mid-book, I was chuckling my way through the small-town South Carolina characters.
Not sure what to think about this one. It was a good, cozy mystery, but the characters took me a while to warm up to. I will continue with this series because I hate to give up after the very first one, but hopefully it will get better....
Michele Chapman
Sep 10, 2009 Michele Chapman rated it really liked it
Cathy Pickens' Avery Andrews character is a cross between Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum and Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta. The murders are plausable with a great deal of gentle comedy thrown in to make it feel like a more entertaining version of real life. A fun read.
Book Concierge
An okay cozy mystery about disgraced attorney Avery Andrews who comes back home and falls into town doings. Her office will be in an old mortuary. The series may prove interesting, but the plotting is a bit weak in thie first installment.
Feb 08, 2009 Lyn rated it really liked it
This is the first of Cathy Pickens mysteries. I really like her writing. The stories are smart and the characters interesting. Avery Andrews is a lawyer, and Pickens incorporates insight into the law as well.
Diane Wachter
HB-B @ 2004, 7/08. Avery Andrews, fired from her job at a law office in NC has returned to Hometown to set up a law practice there. Picks up a client whose company is destroyed by arson and the body found inside was possibly murdered. Okay.
Jun 03, 2013 Silvio111 rated it liked it
Not as bad as some others have noted. I grant you, her use of phonetic speech is a bit annoying, but the character is fairly believable and interesting. The 2nd book in the series is better, and she lays off on the phonetics too.
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Cathy Pickens has been, under different names, a lawyer, a business professor, a university provost, a clog-dancing coach, a church organist / choir director, and a typist.

The most profound influences on her life have been her family, her faith, Nancy Drew, and Perry Mason. She grew up in a small town and, forced to move to "big cities" to support herself, first as a lawyer and then as a professor
More about Cathy Pickens...

Other Books in the Series

Southern Fried Mystery (5 books)
  • Done Gone Wrong
  • Hog Wild
  • Hush My Mouth
  • Can't Never Tell

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“Odd how being away could teach you about home.” 8 likes
“His beard might once have reached to his waist, but his waist had grown off and left his beard high and dry.” 1 likes
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