Cool as a Mint Julep

Do you love stories set in the South? I do. Especially South Carolina. I’ve only been there twice but know I’ll return. Today’s review is of just such a book. But there is a twist. : )

Remember my bear, Humphrey? This is his debut book review. There will also be a prize. Name Humphrey’s brother who is up for adoption, *hint hint* it starts with an H, and it was mentioned in a prior post. All lucky readers who include the name of the bear in their comment will be entered into the drawing. You’ll have the opportunity to become the new housemate of this delightful, soft, and cuddly bear, or to add it to a holiday stocking, or send it to a favorite child. One name will be drawn from the hat and announced in next weeks post.

Now, back to Humphrey. It seems he has been raiding my bookshelves. He reads romance in all genres, everything from suspense to Regency, and he has an opinion on every book. I asked him if he’d write reviews. He lit up a cigar and puffed for a while and then quietly asked if he would have to rate the sex scenes. He assured me that he had no problem reading them but a gentleman doesn’t talk about such things. I reminded him that the story is of greatest importance in a review, everything else is icing.

“Mint Juleps, yes, lots of ice,” Humphrey said. “Take notes. You can put this on that blasted blog thing.”

He lost me for a moment, but then snatched up the mystery novel, Lowcountry Boil, by debut author Susan M. Boyer. Susan is a fellow 2012 Golden Heart finalist, and her story also took 1st place in the 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence.

I wrote fast, as Humphrey dictated:

Sassy P.I., Liz Talbot, inherits her grandmother’s house on a fictional barrier island, Stella Maris, in South Carolina. She’s a modern Southern belle and carries her Sig 9 in a Kate Spade handbag. Turns out her grandmother was murdered, so Liz gets involved in the investigation. That ticks off her brother who is the police-chief. She talks often to her dead best friend who aids in pointing her in the right direction but not giving away too much information. There’s a whole host of zany characters, a dog named Rhett, a hot partner named Nate, an old love, an ex-husband, a sister, a cousin, a couple of sinister characters, and an entire small town community.

Ms. Boyer does a smashing job of portraying the gentility and general weirdness of the South and its inhabitants. The scent of magnolia blossoms and salty sea breezes, the “bless your hearts,” and references to everything being solved by gravy and lipstick, adds to the story. There are a ton of suspects and the author does a great job of tying up all the loose ends, and bringing the mystery to a full boil.

Lowcountry Boil is the first book in the Liz Talbot Mystery series.

Humphrey gives it five paws. I agree.     

Five paws.


Susan has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. She lives in Greenville, SC, but you can visit her at:

Lowcountry Boil:

Amazon and B&N in print, and also available on Kindle and Nook.



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22 Responses to Cool as a Mint Julep

  1. Humphrey, I’m so happy you enjoyed Lowcountry Boil! 🙂 Thank you for the lovely review you dictated to Robena!

  2. Sam Beck says:

    Humphrey writes a great review. I’m interested in checking out this fashion-forward, heat-packing, ghost-whispering crime solver. Um…is her hot partner’s name … Herbert? 🙂

  3. robena grant says:

    Hi Sam. Yes it could well be Herbert. *wink wink*
    Definitely read this Southern mystery, you won’t be sorry.

  4. Hi Robena!
    After never visiting the south, the last few years have taken me there repeatedly. It is a new discovery for me, and I have really enjoyed Georgia, SC and NC, plus Virginia. I love stories about SC – South of Broad (Pat Conroy) The House on Tradd Street (Karen White) etc. so this Slow Boil sounds especially good! Looking forward to the read.

  5. robena grant says:

    Hey Lynne, I recall how envious I was of your trips. : )
    Last time I was in SC was to attend Bob Mayer’s retreat on Hilton Head Island, which I kept thinking about while reading Susan’s book. (Not the learning how to write aspects, those were daunting, but the beauty of the island and it’s scent and feel.) I loved South of Broad too, love PC’s work. This is definitely a book you would enjoy.

  6. The bear is adorable and so is the review. I do love the south, just not in the summer months!!

  7. robena grant says:

    Hi Charlene, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I know what you mean about the summer. Not looking forward to RWA National in Atlanta next year. : )

  8. Dee J. says:

    Humphrey sounds like he needs his own book.
    Nice review. Why do I get the feeling he’s laid back and smoking a stoggie now? LOL.

    • robena grant says:

      Could well be, there is a peculiar smell here and I’ve told him he has to go outside to smoke. And he’s taken to drinking Southern Comfort. Don’t know what I’ll do with him.

  9. Wow. Does Harry also do book reviews while smoking stogies? Fun stuff, Roben!

  10. Skye says:

    The book sounds fabulous. I will have to get my hands on it and read it. Humphrey’s review was terrific and you are obviously good at taking dictation! 🙂

    • robena grant says:

      It has been a long while since I’ve taken dictation, Skye. And he’s kind of a grumpy old bear, and he mumbles, so I had to pay close attention.
      I think you’ll LOVE this book, Skye. Susan allows her characters to unfold with ease, and their quirkiness is adorable and believable. And the setting is wonderful. I wish Stella Maris existed. : )

  11. Humphrey rocks – I so want to read Lowcountry Boil now! I think this review gig might work out for him. 🙂 Congratulations to Susan!

  12. robena grant says:

    Thanks, Robin. I’m not sure how many of these gigs he’ll do. He can be quite cantankerous. Maybe I can talk him into one a month. Uh oh, he just lit up and walked outside to pace the patio. : )

    Definitely read this one! Lowcountry Boil does not disappoint.

  13. Marge says:

    Woul love to be spending the day on the beach at the outer banks of South Carolina, especially in the Cape Hatteras area. Lovely long beaches- I would even take Harry the Bear with me. The book sounds interesting,I will down load it to the Kindle.

    • robena grant says:

      Hey, Marge. Harry would love a trip to SC.
      I’d love if you read Lowcountry Boil. I think it would be a fun read for our book club. And it has a reader discussion guide in the back. Easy peasy. : )

  14. Janie Emaus says:

    That Humphrey is one smart bear!

  15. Wow Humphrey – you write a good review. You had me at this: “She talks often to her dead best friend…” (Selfish reasons – I’m writing a character who is going to be best friends with a ghost and I’m pondering how best to approach that.)
    Gonna order that book in a sec.
    And Robena – the other bears name was Harry, I believe.

  16. robena grant says:

    You could be right, Judy. ; ) And yes, you will love this book not just for the research, even though the ghost has a nice role, but you’ll find it to be a very heartwarming story.