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The Calamity Café

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First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for. Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition... Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place f First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for. Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition... Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place from her bully of a boss, so she can finally open the café of her dreams. Amy can't wait to serve the kind of Southern, down-home treats and dishes that her grandmother always loved to the kooky cast of regulars at the restaurant. She knows her comfort food will be the talk of the sweet, small town of Winter Garden, Virginia. At first Lou Lou refuses to sell, but when she seems ready to make a deal, she tells Amy to come see her.  Showing up at the eatery ready to negotiate, Amy is shocked to find her former employer murdered. As the prime suspect, Amy will have to clear her name by serving up the real killer—and with Lou Lou’s stack of enemies, that’s a tall order. Includes delicious Southern recipes!


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First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for. Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition... Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place f First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for. Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition... Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place from her bully of a boss, so she can finally open the café of her dreams. Amy can't wait to serve the kind of Southern, down-home treats and dishes that her grandmother always loved to the kooky cast of regulars at the restaurant. She knows her comfort food will be the talk of the sweet, small town of Winter Garden, Virginia. At first Lou Lou refuses to sell, but when she seems ready to make a deal, she tells Amy to come see her.  Showing up at the eatery ready to negotiate, Amy is shocked to find her former employer murdered. As the prime suspect, Amy will have to clear her name by serving up the real killer—and with Lou Lou’s stack of enemies, that’s a tall order. Includes delicious Southern recipes!

30 review for The Calamity Café

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    The premise is intriguing and there are colorful characters to spice up the story, but ultimately experience comes across flat. Most of the book focused on the nitty gritty details and dreams of the MC to renovate a cafe - while cooking themes are intriguing, reading about having sausage biscuits every day gets old when it's repeated every chapter. There was too much focus on the construction, ideas and plans of laying out the building. Dare I say it went from flavorful to dense because of the w The premise is intriguing and there are colorful characters to spice up the story, but ultimately experience comes across flat. Most of the book focused on the nitty gritty details and dreams of the MC to renovate a cafe - while cooking themes are intriguing, reading about having sausage biscuits every day gets old when it's repeated every chapter. There was too much focus on the construction, ideas and plans of laying out the building. Dare I say it went from flavorful to dense because of the weight of these details? The obvious romantic interest was obvious from the start and applied with zero subtlety. He was downright boring, too, which doesn't help. The main character is unrealistically worried about being a major suspect when it's obvious it's unlikely anything will be tied to her - she's never even brought to the station for questions. Every once in awhile the grandmother/mom pair would come for needed humor, but it felt mainly forced. To top it off with the worst piece, I pre-guessed the killer since this person was one of the only suspicious ingredients in a slow-simmering plot. The twist wasn't inventive so the wait out didn't pay off. Fans of the food cozy may want to try a bite of this one, but I'm hoping the series gets better with age. I probably won't try the next one - it played up the Southern flaire a bit too much for me - but I can say I've now heard of two new foods I want to try. May try the meatloaf recipe in the back (although keep some of my main staple ingredients), but will definitely be trying that Oatmeal pie. There's a nice portion of generous recipes that all look delicious.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diana | Book of Secrets

    The Down South Café Mystery series is off to a fantastic start! The author is Gayle Leeson, who also writes cozies under the pen names Gayle Trent and Amanda Lee. It was one of her earlier books that got me hooked on the cozy mystery genre, so I was excited to give THE CALAMITY CAFÉ a read. Amy Flowers is a budding chef with hopes of opening her own restaurant, but for now she's stuck waitressing for one of the meanest people in town. When Amy offers to buy the diner, her boss, Lou Lou, flat out The Down South Café Mystery series is off to a fantastic start! The author is Gayle Leeson, who also writes cozies under the pen names Gayle Trent and Amanda Lee. It was one of her earlier books that got me hooked on the cozy mystery genre, so I was excited to give THE CALAMITY CAFÉ a read. Amy Flowers is a budding chef with hopes of opening her own restaurant, but for now she's stuck waitressing for one of the meanest people in town. When Amy offers to buy the diner, her boss, Lou Lou, flat out refuses. Amy never dreamed that soon after, her ill-tempered boss would become the victim of killer. This book had all the elements that I love in a cozy. The crime took place early on, and the plot stayed focused on the investigation, while weaving in Amy's delicious Southern cooking and her pursuit of opening her own café. Lou Lou had many enemies, so figuring out whodunit wasn't easy. Fun cast of characters, and some nice laughs along the way. A little romance too. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next for Amy and the folks of Winter Garden, Virginia. 4.5 stars! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chatting About

    Gayle Leeson (aka Gayle Trent) debuts a cozy mystery set in Winter Garden, Virginia. A cast of appealing characters is led by a strong, independent lead female. Chocked full of heartwarming moments, and a fairly easy mystery that began many years before and picks back up in the present. Readers will enjoy this one. Amy Flowers dream is to open her own cafe--the Down South Cafe. She'd like to buy an old rundown cafe from the grouchy owner, LouLou, but she refuses to sell. Her son, Pete, talks her Gayle Leeson (aka Gayle Trent) debuts a cozy mystery set in Winter Garden, Virginia. A cast of appealing characters is led by a strong, independent lead female. Chocked full of heartwarming moments, and a fairly easy mystery that began many years before and picks back up in the present. Readers will enjoy this one. Amy Flowers dream is to open her own cafe--the Down South Cafe. She'd like to buy an old rundown cafe from the grouchy owner, LouLou, but she refuses to sell. Her son, Pete, talks her into making Amy a deal, however; someone viciously kills LouLou before the lawyer can draw up the papers. LouLou's rough and tough personality made her enemies, but who despised her enough to commit murder? Old family secrets must be revealed for this mystery to be solved.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jody McGrath

    This is the first book in the new Down South Café Mystery series by Gayle Leeson. Amy Flowers is sick and tired of her job as a waitress at Lou's Joint cafè. She was professionally trained as a chef and if tired of being belittled and bullies by her boss Lou Lou. She puts in her notice and offers to buy the place, her dream always having been to own her own cafè, but Lou Lou is determined not to sell. When Lou Lou's son calls her and asks her to meet him and his mom at the cafè to talk about a sa This is the first book in the new Down South Café Mystery series by Gayle Leeson. Amy Flowers is sick and tired of her job as a waitress at Lou's Joint cafè. She was professionally trained as a chef and if tired of being belittled and bullies by her boss Lou Lou. She puts in her notice and offers to buy the place, her dream always having been to own her own cafè, but Lou Lou is determined not to sell. When Lou Lou's son calls her and asks her to meet him and his mom at the cafè to talk about a sale, Amy is doubtful but hopeful. When she arrives, she finds herself alone with Lou Lou, and Lou Lou is clearly dead. Being suspected of homicide is not what Amy was planning to put on the menu! This was a great start to a cozy mystery. The characters were interesting and either likable or despicable. Amy was a fun narrator with a sense of humor, curiosity, but not TSTL. The mystery itself was a little too simple and even the twists were pretty easy to figure out. I don't think it is because I have read a lot of mysteries either. I just think it was blatantly obvious. That did not stop me from enjoying the book though. I will definitely be checking out the next book in this series. (It has recipes also!!!)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Ks Book Reviews

    Author Gayle Leeson had me at page one! I don’t know about others, but for me, ever so often a book comes along, and with the very first sentence I know I’m in for a wonderful read. THE CLAMITY CAFÉ is such a book. I was enjoying it so much, I was a little annoyed if my reading was interrupted. I completely connected with lead character, Amy Flowers. I immediately felt like she was a friend. There are scene with her and several older citizens from town, where I smiled the entire time. All of the Author Gayle Leeson had me at page one! I don’t know about others, but for me, ever so often a book comes along, and with the very first sentence I know I’m in for a wonderful read. THE CLAMITY CAFÉ is such a book. I was enjoying it so much, I was a little annoyed if my reading was interrupted. I completely connected with lead character, Amy Flowers. I immediately felt like she was a friend. There are scene with her and several older citizens from town, where I smiled the entire time. All of the characters have such fun personalities! Each on is so unique. I’m ready to pack my bags, and move to Winter Garden, Virginia, and spend my days with these folks! Brilliantly penned by author Leeson, THE CLAMITY CAFÉ is a fast paced story that will leave readers anticipating every new page. I know I did! From the discovery of the murder victim, to the surprising reveal, this is a solid mystery, and everything I look for in a cozy! I’m looking forward to reading this series for many years to come! Make sure to check out the back of the book for some great down home recipes, and an excerpt from THE QUICK AND THE THREAD, the first book in Amanda Lee’s (Gayle Leeson) Embroidery mysteries!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Southern hospitality, a spunky new sleuth named Amy Flowers who knows whats she wants and has to fight to over come the odds. The Calamity Cafe had me hooked from the very first page. The Oatmeal pie was a very interesting idea for a recipe. A promising new romance with a sexy police detective that will leave you wanting more with delicious food and a mystery that will leave you wondering who wanted Lou Lou, the cafe owner of Lou's Joint dead. Amy Flowers is a waitress at Lou's Joint, a run down Southern hospitality, a spunky new sleuth named Amy Flowers who knows whats she wants and has to fight to over come the odds. The Calamity Cafe had me hooked from the very first page. The Oatmeal pie was a very interesting idea for a recipe. A promising new romance with a sexy police detective that will leave you wanting more with delicious food and a mystery that will leave you wondering who wanted Lou Lou, the cafe owner of Lou's Joint dead. Amy Flowers is a waitress at Lou's Joint, a run down cafe but with a loyal following of customers. She recently came out of culinary school with a dream to open her very own cafe, called Down South Cafe, featuring Southern dishes in Winter Garden, Virginia. She wants to buy the cafe from Lou Lou, the owner who is not very well liked among her employees for taking half of everyone's tips. Lou Lou at first is reluctant to sell but soon her son, Pete Holman calls Amy wanting to meet to talk. Amy then finds the owner, Lou Lou slumped over her desk with blood dripping from her desk pad. Later found that Lou Lou died by being hit with a blunt object, an obvious case of someone wanting Lou Lou dead. With Amy and Lou Lou in conflict over selling of the cafe, Amy becomes the number one suspect. But that doesn't mean there are not more suspects. Like her son, Pete who seems to only want to get the cafe sold to Amy to make money and Lou's Lou's other employees. Amy proves to be quite the sleuth. When she needs to drop the cafe receipt pad for a notepad to find the one who wanted Lou Lou dead. A sweet, delicious southern mystery debut !! With interesting and zany customers/characters I can't wait to read and review the next book in the series. FTC Disclosure Thank you to the publisher and/or author or Net Galley for providing us with a copy of this book for review.This did not influence our thoughts in any way. All the opinions of the book are our own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts I started reading and just couldn’t stop. Love, love, LOVE this story!! There is a lot of history at Lou’s Joint, it has been in the family forever. After working there just a short time Amy Flowers knows it is the perfect place for her restaurant but if Lou Lou won’t sell she is ready to start from scratch with a brand new building. Lou Lou does turn her down and it totally surprised when her son calls to say sure has changed her mind and wants to meet with Amy as soon as poss Dollycas’s Thoughts I started reading and just couldn’t stop. Love, love, LOVE this story!! There is a lot of history at Lou’s Joint, it has been in the family forever. After working there just a short time Amy Flowers knows it is the perfect place for her restaurant but if Lou Lou won’t sell she is ready to start from scratch with a brand new building. Lou Lou does turn her down and it totally surprised when her son calls to say sure has changed her mind and wants to meet with Amy as soon as possible. But when Amy arrives she finds Lou Lou had a previous visitor, one that killed her and left her for Amy to find. While Lou Lou had lived in Winter Garden her whole life she wasn’t the friendliest of entrepreneurs and there are quite a few people that may have wanted her dead. Because Amy is the one that found her, opportunity. And she wanted the joint and was turned down, motive. And the murder weapon is still to be determined, means. She is one of the prime suspects. Gayle Leeson is off to a fantastic start with this series. I liked Amy right away and enjoyed meeting all the people that pull together to make her dream come true while she tries to clear her name and find a killer. I really enjoyed that friendships that grew throughout the story. The way Amy knew people needed her to keep up with their daily routine was touching. The plot had some very clever twists. and some suspenseful moments. The real world around me just drifted away and I was right there in Winter Garden. I was not only following the clues, but enjoying the food, and supervising the changes taking place to Amy’s new restaurant. I loved the dashes of humor and the smidgen of romance. Note – I would love a Down South Cafe t-shirt or apron

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)

    Such a fun book! I was hooked from the first chapter and stayed that way through the entire story. A town full of engaging characters, a very compelling main character, a hint of romantic possibility with the hunky police detective (plus a bonus secondary romance behind the scenes!), food to make you drool, and a case that kept me guessing – all of these things put The Calamity Cafe at the top of my cozy mystery list! The mystery in The Calamity Cafe is layered just enough to stay interesting but Such a fun book! I was hooked from the first chapter and stayed that way through the entire story. A town full of engaging characters, a very compelling main character, a hint of romantic possibility with the hunky police detective (plus a bonus secondary romance behind the scenes!), food to make you drool, and a case that kept me guessing – all of these things put The Calamity Cafe at the top of my cozy mystery list! The mystery in The Calamity Cafe is layered just enough to stay interesting but not complicated enough to lose the “cozy”. I enjoyed unraveling the various threads along with Amy and her friends (and hunky Ryan), particularly the “sacrifice of the big hair” she endured for the sake of some intelligence gathering. The characters are fun and friendly, and I would love to stop in at the Down South Cafe for a sausage biscuit with Homer or a piece of oatmeal pie with Jackie and a chat with Amy. I’d also totally be one of those tourists who would grab a t-shirt and/or apron while I was at it. Bottom Line: A cleverly constructed plot, well-written characters, and a setting that feels like the town next door all blend together to form the perfect recipe for a new series! Gayle Leeson (and her alter ego Amanda Lee) is now on my go-to list of cozy mystery authors, and I am looking forward to future installments in this series while I catch up on her backlist. Cute, clean, and cozy, The Calamity Cafe has all the right ingredients for a great read! (I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.) Read my full review at Reading Is My SuperPower

  9. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Amy Flowers returned to her hometown in Southwestern Virginia to care for her Nana. She took a job working at the local dive, Lou Lou's, and hates every minute of it. Lou Lou's favorite pastime is berating her employees, second only to standing over the food with a cigarette. Amy went to culinary school and has a dream of opening her own cafe. With a legacy from Nana untouched, Amy decides now is the time for action. When she offers to buy Lou Lou's, Lou Lou flat out refuses. Amy threatens to op Amy Flowers returned to her hometown in Southwestern Virginia to care for her Nana. She took a job working at the local dive, Lou Lou's, and hates every minute of it. Lou Lou's favorite pastime is berating her employees, second only to standing over the food with a cigarette. Amy went to culinary school and has a dream of opening her own cafe. With a legacy from Nana untouched, Amy decides now is the time for action. When she offers to buy Lou Lou's, Lou Lou flat out refuses. Amy threatens to open her own and better cafe nearby. She is quite surprised when Lou Lou's son Pete tells Amy the deal is on the table and he can convince his mother to sell. When Amy arrives at the meeting, she finds Lou Lou dead in her office in the cafe. Convinced the sheriff thinks Amy is the #1 suspect, Amy sets out with her friends to solve the mystery herself. I picked this up because the cover artist sucked me in with the dog on the cover that looked so much like my beloved terrier (Rainbow Bridge 2005). I was sadly disappointed the dog in the book is described only as "small, wirehaired terrier." THIS is a wirehaired (fox) terrier They're medium sized terriers. If I was going to depict a small, wirehaired terrier, I'd go with a Parson Russell Terrier I was OK with just terrier but he was hardly in the book. The CAT dot described as "Persian" and had a distinct personality. Rory the terrier didn't have much to do. The pets are incidental to the story. At times it seems Amy forgets she has pets. This was very disappointing to me. The mystery was OK but I didn't understand why Amy needed to a) investigate herself and b)inform the police who their suspects should be. That just makes her look guilty. I thought for sure I knew who did it right away. It seemed obvious. The plot relied on too many coincidences for me to be wrong. Then I thought it was someone else before the killer slipped up. However, I'm not sure the slip was a slip. It could have been common knowledge. It could have been a mistake on the behalf of the author but it was a clue. There are way too many coincidences in this novel that don't make much sense. Lou Lou had any number of people who would want to do her harm. The coincidences were unnecessary. As for the other stuff: There's too much renovation plot. If I wanted to read about renovation, I would. I don't do renovation. The hometown is less quirky than the residents. The quirky locals include Amy's Aunt Bess, an octogenarian who thinks she's 21; Amy's diner patron Homer who reads about a new hero every day; Dilly, an older woman who likes to gossip; Lou Lou's son Pete, a henpecked 40-year-old man who is afraid of his mother; Pete's trashy secret girlfriend. There's also Amy's friend Roger, secretly in love with Jackie but too afraid of ruining their friendship to ask her out. He's too nice and sounds a lot like the designated gay bff but he's not gay. Amy's best friend Hannah who works for a high-powered (the only) lawyer in town and Amy's mom who seems nice enough but can't control her aunt. Then there's the deputy, Amy's love interest. He makes his intentions obvious rather quickly but in a subtle, sweet way. I liked Homer the best except for the part where he shows up uninvited at Amy's so she can make him his breakfast sandwich because the cafe is closed! WHAT? Sadly I found a number of errors in the story that made me drop my rating from 3 to 2. The author not only needed a family tree, she needed a cheat sheet on relationships: a first cousin's child is not a great-nephew. I was so confused! The southern comfort food was OK. I liked some but not all of the recipes. I didn't see any I really wanted to copy down but there were several included which is good. I'm not so interested I want to read more about these characters though.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Really 3.5 stars, but I rounded up. *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Berkley and Netgalley. This title will be released tomorrow, June 7! All thoughts stated in this review are entirely my own.* A sound start to a new series by a tried-and-true cozy author, The Calamity Cafe was both enjoyable and a fast-paced read. I liked the MC, Amy. She was kind, and determined; however, she was a bit too ready to investigate for my taste. I felt she was making a huge d Really 3.5 stars, but I rounded up. *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Berkley and Netgalley. This title will be released tomorrow, June 7! All thoughts stated in this review are entirely my own.* A sound start to a new series by a tried-and-true cozy author, The Calamity Cafe was both enjoyable and a fast-paced read. I liked the MC, Amy. She was kind, and determined; however, she was a bit too ready to investigate for my taste. I felt she was making a huge deal over some small things and comments that were made towards her about the investigation, and that caused he to go out and investigate on her own. The rest of the characters; Jamie, Pete, Cara, Roger, and others were all wonderful and developed characters. The setting was absolutely wonderful. Ms. Leeson did an absolutely wonderful job of describing Lou's Joint and making it sound like a dive! The only real drawback about this book was the mystery. I found it incredibly transparent and I had correctly guessed the killer in the first 150 pages. A cast of great characters, a solid setting, great writing, yet a transparent mystery all go together to give this book 3.5/5 stars. I will probably read the next one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Robbins

    For complete review check out my blog at https://booksaplentybookreviews.blogs... For complete review check out my blog at https://booksaplentybookreviews.blogs...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    Amy Flowers is ready to follow her dream of opening her own cafe, and she’s hoping to do it by buying the local greasy spoon. However, Lou Lou, the owner, is not at all interested in selling. Amy stops by the cafe late one night and finds Lou Lou dead in her office. Naturally, Amy knows she has a good motive. Can she clear her name? This is a fun start to a new series. The book focuses a bit on Amy starting her café early on, but the mystery begins to be the focus as we gear up toward the logical Amy Flowers is ready to follow her dream of opening her own cafe, and she’s hoping to do it by buying the local greasy spoon. However, Lou Lou, the owner, is not at all interested in selling. Amy stops by the cafe late one night and finds Lou Lou dead in her office. Naturally, Amy knows she has a good motive. Can she clear her name? This is a fun start to a new series. The book focuses a bit on Amy starting her café early on, but the mystery begins to be the focus as we gear up toward the logical climax. Some of the characters could have been stronger, but I still came to care for them before the book ended, and I look forward to getting to know them better as the series progresses. NOTE: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Amy Flowers is determined to open her own cafe rather than waiting tables at Lou's Joint. She turns in her notice, and offers to buy the cafe, but her boss refuses her offer. That day her boss's son Pete calls and says he's talked his mother into selling, and asks Amy to meet them at the cafe that evening. Only when she arrives, Amy finds Lou Lou dead. When she hears she's on the suspect list she decides to investigate herself, to find the real killer. I would give this book three and a half stars Amy Flowers is determined to open her own cafe rather than waiting tables at Lou's Joint. She turns in her notice, and offers to buy the cafe, but her boss refuses her offer. That day her boss's son Pete calls and says he's talked his mother into selling, and asks Amy to meet them at the cafe that evening. Only when she arrives, Amy finds Lou Lou dead. When she hears she's on the suspect list she decides to investigate herself, to find the real killer. I would give this book three and a half stars if that were the choice. It had a bit too much telling instead of showing for me, but I did enjoy the setting, and the characters. Amy was fun, and I did enjoy the supporting characters, too. I look forward to the second book in the series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    Arriving at Lou's Joint to sign purchase papers Amy Flowers was surprised to find only one car present and the cafe dark. Where were the others? As she enters the darkened building she heard a noise. She entered Lou, Lou office to find Lou, lou slumped over in her chair bleeding from the head. She called 911 for help. This tale has several changes in direction that have you turning pages until the end. I did guess the killer early on but the book was excellent. Disclosure: I received a free from Arriving at Lou's Joint to sign purchase papers Amy Flowers was surprised to find only one car present and the cafe dark. Where were the others? As she enters the darkened building she heard a noise. She entered Lou, Lou office to find Lou, lou slumped over in her chair bleeding from the head. She called 911 for help. This tale has several changes in direction that have you turning pages until the end. I did guess the killer early on but the book was excellent. Disclosure: I received a free from Berkley Publishing Group through NetGalley for an honest review. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to read and review the book. The opinions expressed are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Frazier

    Loved loved loved this book! Can't wait until the next one! Loved loved loved this book! Can't wait until the next one!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This is the first book in the down south cafe series. Amy Flowers works at Lou's Joint waiting tables and working for a horrible boss. She dreams of opening her own cafe. She offers to buy the cafe from her boss lout Lou. Lou Lou initially refuses to sell but seems to have a change of heart when she tells Amy to come see her. When Amy goes to meet here she finds Lou Lou dead in her office. She immediately becomes the prime suspect. Lou Lou son, Pete, wants to go into the trucking industry and te This is the first book in the down south cafe series. Amy Flowers works at Lou's Joint waiting tables and working for a horrible boss. She dreams of opening her own cafe. She offers to buy the cafe from her boss lout Lou. Lou Lou initially refuses to sell but seems to have a change of heart when she tells Amy to come see her. When Amy goes to meet here she finds Lou Lou dead in her office. She immediately becomes the prime suspect. Lou Lou son, Pete, wants to go into the trucking industry and tells Amy if she wants the cafe he will sell it to her. Amy buys the cafe and immediately starts renovating it. She does while trying to track down the killer to prove her innocence. I really enjoyed this book. I loved friendship between Amy Jackie and Roger. I loved that Amy wants to open the cafe so she can share the dishes that she learned from her nana. My nana was the one who taught me to cook and there are recipes she only let me have that I make very often. Even the secondary characters were fun. The mystery was good though while I didn't figure out who the killer was I wasn't surprised about who it was. Definitely will be picking up the next book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Sigh this book took me longer than I was expecting to finish and the ending dragged on and on. I was hoping that this cozy mystery series would be one that I liked to include in series that I binge but that is not the case. In the first book. Amy decides that she is finally going to begin her dream of owning a restaurant. She offers Lou Lou, the owner of the local cafe, a deal so that she can take over ownership and put her own spin on it. Unfortunately, Lou Lou absolutely does not want to sell Sigh this book took me longer than I was expecting to finish and the ending dragged on and on. I was hoping that this cozy mystery series would be one that I liked to include in series that I binge but that is not the case. In the first book. Amy decides that she is finally going to begin her dream of owning a restaurant. She offers Lou Lou, the owner of the local cafe, a deal so that she can take over ownership and put her own spin on it. Unfortunately, Lou Lou absolutely does not want to sell and when she turns up dead Amy is on the list of suspects. I was expecting to enjoy the small town country feel but instead it was lackluster. There were even moments where I felt that the author was making fun of the people that live in the south, which did not sit right with me. I was not attached to any of the characters and found Amy's detective skills to be ridiculous.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    If possible my actual rating would be 3.5 stars In compliance with FTC guidelines-- I received this book free through Goodreads Giveaways. The content of this review is not influenced by that fact. The feelings and opinions expressed are solely mine. This is my first time trying to read a "cozy mystery". I am always searching for the proverbial palate cleanser type books. I have found no trouble finding deep and emotionally demanding books but nobody could or should for the sake of their sanity r If possible my actual rating would be 3.5 stars In compliance with FTC guidelines-- I received this book free through Goodreads Giveaways. The content of this review is not influenced by that fact. The feelings and opinions expressed are solely mine. This is my first time trying to read a "cozy mystery". I am always searching for the proverbial palate cleanser type books. I have found no trouble finding deep and emotionally demanding books but nobody could or should for the sake of their sanity read only those type books. Therefore, upon reminiscing about how much I loved Nancy Drew as a young girl I decided maybe a "cozy" might have that same feel but with a grown up twist. Well, I can't speak for all cozy mysteries but I have to be honest and say Nancy felt a bit more grown up than this particular offering. I'm not going to besmirch this book because it was fine for what it is, I have no doubt. The writing was easy to read, the flow was steady, although I think the end was rushed a bit. I know this is a first in a series so I understand that not every character was fleshed out to the max. However, one particular character had me a bit stumped. It was never said in so many words but the "sausage biscuit" guy sure seemed a bit Forrest Gumpish. I never could tell if he was a developmentally delayed adult, slow-witted, or simply odd. I also think the lead character, Amy, was a bit of a doormat. She was running around accommodating everyone on their whims and even remained calm when diner patrons showed up at her home expecting to be fed. Huh? What person in their right mind would just show up at a waitress's house and EXPECT to be fed? But despite those odd occurrences I'm giving this book a 3 -3 1/2 rating. I'm sure this nice clean and easygoing series will find its audience. Unfortunately, I just don't think it's me. I'm not giving up on finding a cozy series yet though!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    The Calamity Cafe is the first book in the A Down South Cafe Mystery series. I thought this was a great start to an interesting new series. Amy Flowers has decided to ask LouLou Holman to sell her Lou's Joint, a cafe in Winter Garden, Va. When she finally gets the nerve up, LouLou flatly turns her down, but then later in the day Amy gets a call, reportedly from LouLou's son, Pete, saying that he has convinced his mom to sell and to meet them at the cafe after it closes. When Amy arrives for the me The Calamity Cafe is the first book in the A Down South Cafe Mystery series. I thought this was a great start to an interesting new series. Amy Flowers has decided to ask LouLou Holman to sell her Lou's Joint, a cafe in Winter Garden, Va. When she finally gets the nerve up, LouLou flatly turns her down, but then later in the day Amy gets a call, reportedly from LouLou's son, Pete, saying that he has convinced his mom to sell and to meet them at the cafe after it closes. When Amy arrives for the meeting, she finds the door open and soon finds LouLou's lifeless body in her office. Pete is anxious to start his own trucking business and Amy soon finds herself the owner of Lou's Joint and renovations soon begin. LouLou was a very difficult person to work for and deal with, so the list of possible suspects as to who her killer might be is quite extensive. Pete seems awful eager to sell the cafe, is he so much so that he would kill his own mother to start the business? Then there is Pete's pregnant girl friend who seems to be awful anxious to help clean out the office. Amy also wonders why Stan Hardings, who's not the most ambitious person in the world, wants to help Amy's contractor, Roger, with the renovations. So Amy, her cousin Jackie, and Roger set off to help with the investigation of LouLou's death. This book has a wonderful cast of characters and were a joy to read about. I hope they all will become the same wonderful customers of the Down South Cafe. One particular fun gentleman is Homer Pickens. Home is like clockwork, coming in at 10AM for his sausage biscuit. Everyday Homer selects his “hero of the day” and this is a particular enjoyable addition to the story. Delicious sounding down home Southern recipes are also included in the book. Can't wait for the next tasty book in this series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Amelotte

    I love this author’s writing style and have enjoyed her other cozy series written as Gayle Trent and Amanda Lee. I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. This is the beginning of a fantastic new series. This book has everything a cozy mystery needs, a strong character, a great support system of friends and family, intriguing mystery and a little bit of romance thrown in. Plus it’s an added bonus that recipes are included in the book. You will be entertained from page one with the way the author encirc I love this author’s writing style and have enjoyed her other cozy series written as Gayle Trent and Amanda Lee. I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. This is the beginning of a fantastic new series. This book has everything a cozy mystery needs, a strong character, a great support system of friends and family, intriguing mystery and a little bit of romance thrown in. Plus it’s an added bonus that recipes are included in the book. You will be entertained from page one with the way the author encircles you with a friendly, close-knit atmosphere of a small community despite the fact a murder has been committed. I liked Amy right away and enjoyed meeting all the people that pull together to make her dream come true while she tries to clear her name and find a killer. The murder of LouLou, the diner’s owner, sets off the events leading Amy to find out who done it as well as revealing and solving some mysteries from the past. It was fun to be a part of the renovation and transformation of Lou’s Diner into The Down South Café. The author’s vivid descriptions easily transport you. You will find yourself wanting to visit Winter Garden, Virginia. The quirky cast of characters is well-developed and likable. Their easy-going manner will pull you in as the twists and turns keep you guessing. I love Homer’s “hero of the day” and this is a particular enjoyable and informative addition to the story. The story flows at a steady pace and holds your attention until the very end. I couldn’t put this book down. There is a balanced mix of suspense, laughter, food and a dash of romance making this one of my favorite books I read so far this year!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I just discovered this series and read all four in the span of a week. I love books set in small towns with an interesting cast of characters, and this fits the bill. From Amy to Homer to Aunt Bess they all kept me laughing and intrigued. A must read for fans of small town cozies.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Kauffmann

    So, let me apologize in advance for all of the mockery; that's just my way. And this book, while a nice enough read and all, just happened to contain a lot of elements that made me laugh (kind of at the book's expense, occasionally at my own). 3.5 stars Well, thank God. I was concerned when I began this one that I would have to give my first negative review (I say mean things sometimes in my reviews, but generally with a sense of fondness). For me the beginning of this one was...rocky. Those short So, let me apologize in advance for all of the mockery; that's just my way. And this book, while a nice enough read and all, just happened to contain a lot of elements that made me laugh (kind of at the book's expense, occasionally at my own). 3.5 stars Well, thank God. I was concerned when I began this one that I would have to give my first negative review (I say mean things sometimes in my reviews, but generally with a sense of fondness). For me the beginning of this one was...rocky. Those short, choppy little sentences (I went to the table. It sure was pretty. There were flowers there. I like flowers--none of this is a quote, just a reviewer's interpretation). It's a weird complaint, perhaps, and many people won't notice or care, but it just happens to be my number one story-killer. To be fair, I will admit that my own relationship with the clause is somewhat tortured, and I'm pretty sure I should be convicted of war crimes against the comma. So, to each their own, I guess. But it either smoothed out, or I stopped being so prissy about it. At first there was some weird characterization. Can I be honest for a moment? We're all friends here, so I can be honest, right? I seriously thought that some of the characters were meant to be developmentally disabled at first. Homer, certainly. Followed by that second regular who shows up at Amy's house. Then Pete. And finally it occurred to me: the author is substituting mentally disabled for southern. Common enough mistake, I suppose (said as a southerner). I blame it on Charlaine Harris, because you still cannot convince me that there wasn't something fundamentally wrong with Sookie Stackhouse. But there always seemed to be a joke there, just out of reach, with Sookie. A self-awareness that she acted like a jackass and that she didn't care. I'm afraid that Amy and her friends might just be...simple. Equally puzzling was how accommodating Amy was. When Homer showed up at her house asking for his breakfast, that was pretty much the moment that I decided the author's hints about his mental capacity had solidified. I thought, "Oh, Amy is going to make him breakfast because the whole town has entered into some kind of pact to take care of the man." Not the case. Amy will just cheerfully do anything that anyone asks of her. And then, guess what? *More* people show up at her house asking for breakfast! More people who we are asked to believe are normally-functioning human beings. But that's okay, Amy will do *anything* you ask of her (yes, I am suggesting that in real life Amy would have been snapped up by a prostitution ring). Now let us move on to Love Interest, the First (surprisingly, we don't yet have a love triangle). Law enforcement, because of course he is, but at least not the Chief or Lead Detective or whatever. Deputy Cardboard, we'll call him (DC), because while I actually do recall his name he hasn't earned my using it yet. It's not that he was unlikable or anything, and maybe it's just a function of page space, but he didn't really get any development. A hard-bodied (of course), blandly handsome, vaguely concerned stand-in for a human being who flirted with Amy over the course of a murder investigation. In which she was a suspect. Marinate on that one for a while. But since this is a series, I have faith that the author will flesh him out a little bit as she goes along. Then there were the Southern-isms. I crossed my fingers and prayed when they dropped the first one that "more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs" wouldn't get dragged out. Spoiler: it totally did. Here's the thing with me and Southern-isms: as I mentioned, I am southern (though from Louisiana, and urban, so not quite the same thing), and do you know the first time I heard some folksy person drop that line? It was in an *X-Men* cartoon in the early nineties. Do you know every other instance I have ever heard a southerner drop any other kind of folksy line like that? It has been exclusively limited to mystery novels set in the south. While I'm on the subject of questionable regional quirks, I should mention that it's weird how superstitious the characters are about death. We're actually pretty pragmatic about death down here, since many of us grew up in a house where generations of people had died (I'm pretty sure that people have died in my freaking *bed*). Damn it, Andrew, you're ranting over nothing. Rein it back in. Here I will interject that at some point all of this becomes sort of charming. I did grow to like the characters. Aunt Bess is sort of a trope--the zany old lady--but there's a reason that type of character is so popular. The mother didn't really need to exist (I think I assumed she was dead for a long time). Jackie/Sara were inoffensive. They were two separate people, right? And, actually, Roger was a pleasant surprise. I thought he was going to be the guy-who-was-really-one-of-the-girls, but he wasn't. He was a competent dude who just happened to be friends with Amy. I *really* wish the author had left him as that instead of opening up the whole romantic angle with Jackie/Sara (okay, it was only with one of them, but they haven't really done anything to distinguish themselves yet--again, a page space issue that's not really the author's fault). And despite my nit-picking about the southern treatment, sometimes the author really did it right. I actually thought that Chris Ann(e?--you guys know I never fact-check) was perfect. And after a little while I thought that Pete was, too. Their whole relationship actually struck me as painfully authentic. Same with the old lady Amy calls on later over family/historical stuff. Frankly, the reluctance that all of the characters had over meeting with her was puzzling. We geneologize (not a word) in the south. Hard. And quite against our will sometimes when it comes to older ladies just like the one in the story. So, yeah, I have absolutely played host to old women I'd never met before (and who very well could have been ax-murderers wearing some poor old lady's face for all I know) because that is what one does. A duty as a young adult in the south, if not quite always a pleasure. Hell, I got side-tracked again, didn't I? Well, if that don't smart like a...no, I still haven't got any folksy similes. The plot? There was one. You'll guess who the killer was. You'll guess their overall relationship to the story and the characters. Honestly, though, I've kind of forgotten the motive (full disclosure: I was probably drinking). It's because I actually liked the killer and hoped that I was wrong. They could have been a red herring that I actually wouldn't have minded because I think there could have been some good character development later on in the series. But, strangely, the plot in these things is never really my biggest objection. So that's all I'll say on that. Finally, the food. I know, I know, this book was pretty explicit that it was going to be food-based. But, Jesus, it was food-based. Amy is the kind of person who spends all day cooking (doing a double with no complaints and no guarantee of a paycheck, because she's a door-mat sometimes) and then go home to casually bake a wedding cake (slight exaggeration). But that's not even what struck me, so I'll just get right down to it: what the hell is oatmeal pie, and why on earth would one wish to invoke its stain on this realm? Maybe I'm wrong, and this demonic twining of random starches somehow coalesces into something amazing. Maybe the author made it up in a cocaine-infused fever dream. I fear that it was a real recipe sent in by some well-intentioned lady who I am now outrageously offending. And for that I am sorry, but it needed to be questioned. You *must* be stopped, well-intentioned offended lady, before you kill again. Seriously, though, every meal in this thing comes with several courses, all of them from those essential simple carbohydrate and fat food groups. I was tempted to go back through and see if the author mentions a vegetable a single time, or a fruit that is not in the pudding family, but then I remembered that I don't care that much. Amy even thinks on several occasions that she would like to include healthier options. These seem to be limited to low-fat vanilla creamer, "natural sweetener" (also known as "sugar") and gluten-free pancakes (because when you remove the gluten, all of the evil gets sucked right out with it). At this point I actually flipped to the back cover because I had to know what sort of person had this concept of food (there was no picture, but I--I admit it...I was judging anyway). Kidding, author! I'm sure you are a very nice person. So, you may be asking yourself: why did this guy buy a book that features food and the south, when he clearly has issues with both? Once again, full, self-deprecating disclosure: I was probably half-drunk in a Walmart at 3 a.m. So I guess some stereotypes about southerners are entirely true. But, really, I did enjoy it. Bonus: I learned that a doughnut pan is apparently a thing. Something that I'm to believe a rational person might even own for those times when you simply *must* whip up a batch of baked(?!) doughnuts. I know that I do that at least three times a never.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda McGill

    A good start to a new series. Amy Flowers is a waitress at a local restaurant. Finally one day she goes to quit and she tells her boss (the owner of the restaurant) that she wants to buy the place to open up her own cafe. The owner (Lou Lou) says no, however after some talk with her son, she is coming around. Lou Lou arranges a meeting with Amy, however when Amy shows up Lou Lou is dead in her office. I liked Amy and the supporting cast of characters. I didn't love how much time was spent going b A good start to a new series. Amy Flowers is a waitress at a local restaurant. Finally one day she goes to quit and she tells her boss (the owner of the restaurant) that she wants to buy the place to open up her own cafe. The owner (Lou Lou) says no, however after some talk with her son, she is coming around. Lou Lou arranges a meeting with Amy, however when Amy shows up Lou Lou is dead in her office. I liked Amy and the supporting cast of characters. I didn't love how much time was spent going back and forth whether Amy was going to buy the cafe. There are multiple books in the series, so you know that she is going to own the cafe. The mystery was surprising and I didn't guess who the killer was. I will be continuing with the series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    OpenBookSociety.com

    http://openbooksociety.com/article/th... The Calamity Cafe Down South Cafe Mystery, Book #1 By Gayle Leeson ISBN 9781101990780 Author’s website: www.gayleleeson.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie Synopsis: First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for. Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition… Tired of waiting tab http://openbooksociety.com/article/th... The Calamity Cafe Down South Cafe Mystery, Book #1 By Gayle Leeson ISBN 9781101990780 Author’s website: www.gayleleeson.com Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie Synopsis: First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for. Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition… Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place from her bully of a boss, so she can finally open the café of her dreams. Amy can’t wait to serve the kind of Southern, down-home treats and dishes that her grandmother always loved to the kooky cast of regulars at the restaurant. She knows her comfort food will be the talk of the sweet, small town of Winter Garden, Virginia. At first Lou Lou refuses to sell, but when she seems ready to make a deal, she tells Amy to come see her. Showing up at the eatery ready to negotiate, Amy is shocked to find her former employer murdered. As the prime suspect, Amy will have to clear her name by serving up the real killer—and with Lou Lou’s stack of enemies, that’s a tall order. Review: This is an absolutely great first offering in the new Down South Cafe Mystery series! Gayle Leeson has hit a home run with The Calamity Cafe. Amy, an aspiring chef and cafe owner moved back to her hometown about a year ago so she could be near her grandmother in her final days. She worked as a waitress with her cousin Jackie at Lou’s Joint, an established cafe now managed by Lou Lou, granddaughter of the original owner, Lou. Lou Lou and her son Pete did all the cooking, and the grumpy owner refused to let Amy try her hand at cooking or adding a few healthier foods to the menu. When Amy decided to move on and pursue her dream, she turned in her notice, then offered to purchase Lou’s Joint – it would be more cost efficient to purchase a building already outfitted than to start fresh and purchase land and build to order. The older woman was not ready to sell Lou’s, so Amy was going to have to begin the time-consuming task of looking for a decent piece of land that would be the perfect place to purchase and build the Down South Cafe. Before the day was over with, however, Lou Lou’s son Pete called Amy after he and his mother had talked the situation over, and wanted Amy to meet the two of them and their attorney to meet with her after the restaurant closed. When Amy arrived, the front door was unlocked, and she found her boss dead in her office. Who was on the fast track to the top of the suspect list? Amy. While there could be any number of people who had been upset with Lou Lou, Amy was the one who had an appointment to meet her (even though Pete, who set up the meeting, wasn’t there) and Amy was the one who found her. The author has given us an eclectic cast of characters, from the very likable to the very … less likable. Amy is the best-defined character, a hard-working young woman who knows what she wants and is diligent in her pursuit of it. Most people are attracted to her as a positive, loyal friend. At times, she tends to leap before she looks, especially when trying to find the right suspect. Some of her impulsive choices left me shaking my head while her thought-out plans for the restaurant were amazing. We learn just enough about Jackie, BFF Sarah, and family members to meet their current roles primarily through their actions and dialogue. Lou Lou’s son Pete, his lady friend, and various potential suspects were also revealed only as – and when – necessary. Along with Amy, Jackie and Sarah, I think I liked the everyday sausage biscuit customer Homer. He brought a depth to the customers beyond being ‘the person at counter seat’. What gave him that added depth was how Amy learned so much more of his personality by asking one simple question each day. The plot was very well carried through, with intriguing twists and a red herring or two. Being someone who has to check out every option before making a choice, I did follow each potential suspect until exhausted and settled on the right one barely a step or two ahead of Amy. The bad guy / gal was not obvious, and the search went from suspenseful to an edge-of-the-seat nail biter in a very good way. And if having a murderer on the loose and a unique find during the remodeling weren’t enough, being challenged by the community resource during the buildout then learning about some of the dirty laundry in Lou Lou’s family tree added layer upon layer. The restaurant plans and menus sounded like the kind of place where I would enjoy eating and meeting the community. If I were still working as a wait staff person, it would be ideal with Amy at the helm. The potential for more than one romance added a layer of sweet mystery. This is a novel that grabs one at the very beginning and doesn’t let it go until long after turning the last page. Foodies will enjoy the recipes. I highly recommend The Calamity Cafe to everyone who enjoys cafe or restaurant cozy mysteries that are well-written and a challenge to solve. This series is sure to be a hit! *OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    This takes place in Virginia. The story involves a diner, a secret, and murder. I didn't like the way the main character behaved. She seemed like a pushover. I didn't like the romance either. I thought the mystery was okay. There were a lot of suspects, but I figured out the culprit before the main character did. This takes place in Virginia. The story involves a diner, a secret, and murder. I didn't like the way the main character behaved. She seemed like a pushover. I didn't like the romance either. I thought the mystery was okay. There were a lot of suspects, but I figured out the culprit before the main character did.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    I thought this one might be better but I was wrong. It was predictable and the writing got old quickly which is saying something because cozy mysteries are formulaic to begin with.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Add half star for recipes at the end!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I really enjoyed this cozy mystery and looking forward to more from Gayle Leeson. It has all the suspense of a good mystery, "down-home" cooking, humor and romance. Recipes included at the end of the book, and more info on the author's other books, that sound as good as this one. From Amazon: First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for. Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food I really enjoyed this cozy mystery and looking forward to more from Gayle Leeson. It has all the suspense of a good mystery, "down-home" cooking, humor and romance. Recipes included at the end of the book, and more info on the author's other books, that sound as good as this one. From Amazon: First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for. Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition... Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place from her bully of a boss, so she can finally open the café of her dreams. Amy can't wait to serve the kind of Southern, down-home treats and dishes that her grandmother always loved to the kooky cast of regulars at the restaurant. She knows her comfort food will be the talk of the sweet, small town of Winter Garden, Virginia. At first Lou Lou refuses to sell, but when she seems ready to make a deal, she tells Amy to come see her. Showing up at the eatery ready to negotiate, Amy is shocked to find her former employer murdered. As the prime suspect, Amy will have to clear her name by serving up the real killer—and with Lou Lou’s stack of enemies, that’s a tall order.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sherrie

    This was a great start to a series. There was plenty of action and it was interesting how they ending turned out. I like all the main characters. Definitely looking forward to reading the 2nd book in this series. Gayle is a great author who keeps one on their toes with the interaction of the people. A good read on the small type of town community.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Southern cozy mystery fans, boy do I have an entertaining new series for you to add to your reading list! Welcome to Winter Garden, Virginia! The Calamity Cafe is an entertaining whodunit story with a southern twist! Author Gayle Leeson weaves an intriguing southern cozy murder mystery tale told in the first person narrative by Amy Flowers, who immediately draws the reader into her story when she finds herself a suspect in the murder of her mean boss, Lou Lou Holman, after finding her dead in the Southern cozy mystery fans, boy do I have an entertaining new series for you to add to your reading list! Welcome to Winter Garden, Virginia! The Calamity Cafe is an entertaining whodunit story with a southern twist! Author Gayle Leeson weaves an intriguing southern cozy murder mystery tale told in the first person narrative by Amy Flowers, who immediately draws the reader into her story when she finds herself a suspect in the murder of her mean boss, Lou Lou Holman, after finding her dead in the office of her cafe, Lou's Joint. Amy takes the reader along on her amateur sleuth adventure as she tries to clear her name and find the real killer. This captivating and fast-paced mystery tale has enough quirky humor, drama, and intriguing twists and turns that will keep you guessing. Rich in detail and vivid descriptions, the story takes place in Winter Garden, Virginia, a picturesque southern town with a lot of heart and charm. The description of the town and its residents was simply wonderful, there's nothing better than down home country charm and living. I loved how the author masterfully interwove Amy's dream of opening up a cafe called the Down South Cafe, where her customers would think of it as Southern hospitality in a sweet home town, while also dealing with the trials and tribulations of trying to clear her name, and solve the murder of a woman who had a history of run ins with a lot of people in town. This laugh-out-loud cozy mystery tale will keep you in stitches as you turn the pages following along with the townsfolk's southern charm and quirky interactions, and you can't help but get caught up in the drama and calamity that follows Amy and friends as they try to solve Lou Lou's murder. Amy's story unfolds with a wonderful balance of comedy, drama, and suspense that easily kept me guessing, and left me wanting more. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the author includes some delicious recipes at the end of the book that will make your mouth water! The Calamity Cafe is a riveting southern cozy murder mystery that will engage you to join in the crazy adventures and trials and tribulations that occur, while providing you with a dose of good ol' southern charm and humor. So pull up a rocking chair and set down for a spell with some sweet tea while Amy and the townsfolk of Winter Garden tell y'all their story! The Calamity Cafe is the first book in the Down South Cafe Mystery Series. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot...

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