Jim Higdon, author of “The Cornbread Mafia.”

James Higdon, author of the book, “The Cornbread Mafia,” will be at St. Charles Exchange Monday, Sept. 10 for a book signing and happy hour.

During Higdon’s appearance he will be signing and selling copies of the crime thriller book and sipping what he expects to be punch made from Sugar Shine, a bottled cocktail made by Limestone Branch in Lebanon, Ky., Higdon’s hometown.

The story centers on the underground marijuana growing sub-culture of Marion County, Ky., where the largest marijuana bust in American history occurred. Higdon details the culture of silence, federal investigations, aftermath of the raids and subsequent arrests linked to the crimes’ 70 perpetrators—none of whom ever ratted out their cohorts.

Though the book is in its fourth printing since its April release, Higdon couldn’t pinpoint how many copies have been sold (about 15,000 have been printed and its Amazon ranking is 16,510).

So how does this all tie back to happy hour at St. Charles?

“The book has a lot of bourbon and prohibition history, so I think it’s a natural fit for a 20th Century hotel bar like St. Charles Exchange to host a book signing,” said Higdon, a Center College grad. The hookup came from a suggestion from a friend who knew someone at the restaurant who’d read and liked book. “I was in New York at the time (on a book tour) and wasn’t familiar with St. Charles Exchange, but it sounded fun.”

The event runs from 5-8 p.m., and if you already have a copy, Higdon will gladly sign it. “If you don’t have one, that’s all the more idea why you should come to St. Charles Exchange on Monday,” he quipped.

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Steve Coomes
Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 24-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Louisville magazine, Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass and Food & Dining Magazine. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

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