Saturday, December 9, 2017

Review (+ Tour GIVEAWAY): Honey-Baked Homicide

Honey-Baked Homicide
By Gayle Leeson
A Down South Café Mystery #3
Berkley, 2017


The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . .

It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning.

As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation…

My thoughts

With Honey-Baked Homicide, Gayle Leeson adds another volume to one of my favorite cozy mystery series, consistently delivering on stories that entertain, have good character depth, and are totally clean. This series embodies all that I look for in a cozy mystery – small-town setting that I’d love to visit, appealing and sometimes quirky characters, and a well-plotted, intelligent mystery. Honey-Baked Homicide is #3 in the series, but easily stands alone.

Amy, owner of the Down South Café in Winter Garden, Virginia, is an appealing lead character with some very interesting family and friends around her – and you can almost smell the tantalizing aromas coming from the café. Two things impress me about this story … Amy’s boyfriend and police officer, Ryan, shares what he can, but not more than he ought to; and Amy doesn’t do foolish things that would place her in danger.

Amy’s Aunt Bess is quite the character … “Disagreeing with Aunt Bess was like trying to teach trigonometry to a pig – frustrating for you and confusing to the pig” (Amy). And as a Pinterest fan myself, I loved her board entitled “People I’ve Outlived.” I just might have to copy that idea!

And then there’s Homer … I first met Homer in the previous book, Silence of the Jams (click title for review), and he is becoming more and more of a standout character. Having grown up poor, Homer draws inspiration from a new “hero” each day, always sharing a quote from the hero that applied to the subject at hand.

I’m particularly drawn to the mystery in this story, for it revolves around the murder of a quiet man who pretty much kept to himself and was passionate about beekeeping. A dysfunctional family emerges on the scene after his death and some untapped oil reserves just might be involved. Just a well-crafted mystery in every way.

Honey-Baked Homicide is a story that any cozy mystery fan should enjoy and I'm hoping for many more stories in this series. Highly recommended.

I was provided a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours and Berkley. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.


Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series  and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series . As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series .

The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. She enjoys spending time with her sister, nephew, and niece, but she and her mother have a complicated relationship that isn’t always pleasant. Daphne has also reconnected with her high school sweetheart and is pursuing a rekindled romance while desperately trying to put her past behind her.

Kerry Vincent, Hall of Fame Sugar Artist, Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show Director, and Television Personality says the series is “a must read for cake bakers and anyone who has ever spent creative time in the kitchen!”

Says Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author, “One day I found myself happily reading . . . mysteries by Gayle Trent. If she can win me over . . . she’s got a great future.”

The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. Marcy Singer left her home in San Francisco, along with the humiliation of being left at the altar, in order to move to Tallulah Falls and realize her dream of owning her own shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back.

Publishers Weekly says, “Fans of the genre will take kindly to Marcy, her Irish wolfhound, Angus O’Ruff, and Tallulah Falls. This is a fast, pleasant read with prose full of pop culture references and, of course, sharp needlework puns.”

Pat Cooper of RT Book Reviews says, “If her debut here is any indication, Lee’s new series is going to be fun, spunky and educational. She smoothly interweaves plot with her character’s personality and charm, while dropping tantalizing hints of stitching projects and their history. Marcy Singer is young, fun, sharp and likable. Readers will be looking forward to her future adventures.” (RT Book Reviews nominated The Quick and the Thread for a 2010 Book Reviewers’ Choice Award in the Amateur Sleuth category)

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

Website - Gayle LeesonWebsite - Gayle TrentFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram

Purchase Links:
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  1. Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today and for your thoughtful review! I'm rather partial to Homer too. :)

    1. It's an honor to help promote your books, Gayle. And I love it when a secondary character grabs my attention like Homer. Please keep him around!

  2. I have this on hold at the library

    1. Great, Sandy! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  3. Honey Baked Homicide sounds like a delightful read. I'd love to enjoy this cozy mystery.

    1. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, I think you'll have fun with this one, Susie.

  4. This book looks so good. I look forward to reading it.

    1. If you like cozy mysteries, you'll surely enjoy this one, Faith. Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Thank you for the review on Honey-Baked Homicide! I can't wait to read it.