Live and Let Fry: Australian cozy mystery goodness!

Live and Let Fry Book review

What is this about?: Cass is asked to investigate the stalking and dead rats found on the doorstep of one of her friends, Vern.

What else is this about?: Cass is also navigating two sons with issues that are driving her crazy and trying her patience, and a boyfriend on the other side of the world who may not want to come home to her.


For Cass Tuplin, proprietor of the Rusty Bore Takeaway (and definitely not an unlicensed private investigator), it’s weird enough that her neighbour Vern has somehow acquired a lady friend. But then he asks Cass to look into the case of the dead rats someone’s dumped on Joanne’s doorstep.

She’s barely started when Joanne goes missing, leaving hints of an unsavoury past. Then a private investigator from Melbourne turns up asking questions about Joanne’s involvement in a fatal house fire—and before you can say ‘unauthorised investigation’ Cass is back on the case.

‘Sue Williams is Australia’s answer to New Jersey’s Janet Evanovich.’ NZ Listener 
‘Finely wrought and highly amusing…a wonderful new series in the comedy crime genre.’

Stars: 4/5

Live and Let Fry was an unexpected find I recommended a couple of weeks ago that made me laugh it sounded so funny, and made me hesitant to try because it was book 3 in a series — it’s book three, and I wanted to try it immediately, but was convinced I would regret it.

Thankfully, Sue Williams the author, advised on Twitter it was fine to begin with the series with this book, and I dove right in and goodness, this is FUN!

This is indeed self-contained, and for me at least, I need to go back and find books 1 and 2 because I’m going to need something to tide me over until book 4 comes out.

Cass is a snarky, quick witted takeway owner, who lives in a small town. Her friend Vern, who seems to think Cass has been lusting after him after their ill fated dalliance, comes to her for help regarding his new lady friend, Joanne who has found some dead rats on her door step.

Vern is laugh-out-loud funny and for some reason convinced Cass has been holding a candle for him. There is nothing more hilarious than him telling her to move on now that he has Joanne, while forgetting she has a boyfriend, Leo who is in Bolivia for work.

Cass agrees to investigate what Joanne is going through and very quickly discovers a much bigger case — and places her in far more danger, much to the irritation of her son, Dean, a cop.

But it’s the relationships that make this book

Cass is intelligent, determined and creative — and she’s surrounded by three men who don’t quite realise that.

There’s nothing quite like a mother getting snarky with her son, and Cass is deliciously so when she finds Dean trying to control her investigations — after all, she does has studied being a PI before the school closed down — government budget cuts, you see.

However, Dean is going through some marital issues, namely his wife leaving him for his boss, which OUCH, and Cass tries her best to make Dean feel better, while admitting he may not be the brightest bulb on the police force.

I swear, it’s funnier coming out of Cass’ mouth.

Then there’s Brad, her younger son, who is a bit of a hippie, I think, or rather just idealistic. He drops off some ferrets for her to take of, while never admitting that he and his girlfriend are going through issues. With him, there’s nothing like Cass explaining a few home truths about a woman her decisions when it comes to her body.

With her sons, Williams’ gift for dry retorts comes through Cass as a clear as a bell — and it is gloriously FUN reading Cass trying to steer her sons in the right direction because she loves them so much, and absolutely will continue to investigate whatever she wants, no matter what they say.

Leo is her boyfriend, and someone we only see through Skype for a bit of the book. He is in Bolivia for work, and Cass is irritated at how much longer a three-month contract is going to go. She loves him, but worries he is happier overseas because after all what else does the small town of Rusty Bore offer, besides her? It’s an understandable insecurity, which highlights how much Cass loves him and is pissed at him.

And Vern, gloriously funny Vern who drives Cass nuts, but comes through when it counts.

Cass and these characters are what made Live and Let Fry so much fun.


  • Jen Mullen says:

    Oh, this one sounds like fun! Good to know that it isn’t necessary to begin with the first in the series, but I’ll look for the first one anyway. 🙂

  • Lily says:

    oh wow never heard of this but it looks like a lot of fun 😀 maybe starting with book 1 isn’t such a bad idea but awesome that you were able to read book 3 with noo problems

    • Verushka says:

      I was so excited to dive right into book 3 and — the author was right, it’s easy to pick up on what’s happened before as the main story is pretty self-contained.

  • This sounds like such a fun read. Cass and Vern sound like very entertaining characters. I don’t read cozy mysteries often but I could see myself enjoying this one. Great review!

  • Um, yes? I will take 3 takeaway orders from this shop…and I don’t even eat fish! This series sounds awesome, and Cass seems like a pretty atypical heroine for a cozy. I want to like this subgenre more than I have in the past and this series is calling my name. For more cozy recommendations, I’ve heard that Death by Dumpling is really good — and it’s an ownvoices story that revolves around a Chinese noodle shop!

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