Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Book Review: The Calamity Cafe by Gayle Leeson (Down South Cafe Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good characters and mystery in fun debut
Cons: Some elements could be stronger
The Bottom Line:
Buying a cafe
Turns out to be murder in
This fun mystery

Finding a Dead Body is Certainly a Calamity

I need another new series to read like I need another hole in my head.  (And yet I’ve started how many new series this month?)  But I just can’t help myself when the plot line captures my interest.  That was the case with The Calamity Cafe, the first in the new Down South Cafe series by Gayle Leeson.  I’m glad it did since it’s a fun first book.

Amy Flowers has dreamed for years of opening her own restaurant filled with Southern hospitality and delicious food.  With a degree from a culinary school and the money she inherited from her Nana, it’s finally time to follow that dream.  She’s hoping that, instead of building something from the ground up, she can purchase Lou’s Joint, the local greasy spoon where she’s been waitressing for the past year.

The problem with that is Lou Lou, the horrible woman who currently owns the place.  Lou Lou inherited the place from her father, the original Lou, and turns Amy down flat when Amy makes an offer.

Which is why Amy is surprised when she gets a call from Pete, Lou Lou’s son, that the woman has changed her mind and wants to meet that night.  Amy is the first to arrive, and she walks into the restaurant to discover Lou Lou dead in her office.  Amy quickly realizes she had a good motive for wanting the woman dead.  Can she prove her innocence?

The book starts strongly, setting up the murder in just a few pages.  Unfortunately, I did feel that Amy’s plans to start her restaurant slowed down the murder investigation in the first half of the novel, but I can certainly understand that.  This is the Down South Cafe series after all, right?  We need to get that restaurant open.  As the book moved toward the climax, it did focus more on the murder, giving us some decent suspects before we reached the logical ending.

The best characters in the book were Amy and, ironically, Lou Lou.  Even though the woman died early on, over the course of the book, we got to know quite a bit about her past that really made us understand her better.  I always like it when that happens in a mystery.  The rest of the characters are certainly good.  The suspects had believable motives, and the series characters are quite fun.  I'm looking forward to seeing them grow more as the series develops.

Of course, we get some recipes – 6 to be exact.  I’m drooling over the Oatmeal Pie, and the 7-Up Cake sounds good as well.  We also get a recipe for some easy cookies, meatloaf, baked donuts, and country ham.

Far from being a calamity, this debut is fun and promises more to come.  Pick up The Calamity Cafe today and settle in for a good read.

NOTE: I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, June 21th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 6/21.  You will have until midnight on 6/26 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 6/27.


  1. This sounds very good thanks for the review, I'm looking forward to reading it.
    Penney penneywATsbcglobalDOTnet

  2. Thanks for the review and the chance to win. zukeeper.geo(at)yahoo(dot)com

  3. Sounds like a great book to read and review. ptclayton2@aol.com

  4. This sounds like a good series. jillybeans41@gmail[dot]com

  5. Love a good cozy, thank you.. moon_called@outlook.com

  6. I say the same thing about new series, I keep saying no more until I catch up with some others...uh, that's not happening, LOL.

    1. Don't enter me in the contest, I just got a copy of this book. :)

  7. a new to me author.....it has my attention! thanks for the chance! johnnabooks@hotmail.com

  8. Like everyone else, I've got my fingers crossed for a win!!

  9. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. SO wanting to read this and review it for me blog, but was out of work two months and just now working and catching up on bills; THANK YOU for doing this giveaway, no matter who wins!! dsareboot@gmail.com

  11. This one sounds so good! It's been on my TBR and I'm glad to see you enjoyed. katherine.e.pitts(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  12. Would love this book! Pjstaton64114@aol.com

  13. As always, I enjoyed your review. Thanks for the chance to win. I added this to my TBR List. doward1952@yahoo.com

  14. I already read this author and enjoy her books,. Love first in series so would love to win this book. ruthenixon@sbcglobal.net

  15. This is the second review I've read of this series and while I top probably don't need another series, I can't help myself when it captures my attention like this one. Thanks For Offering The Giveaway, Lilflynracer At Msn.com

  16. I know what you mean about new series, but they are irresistible! I like the sound of this one, thanks for the chance to win!

  17. This sounds promising as a mystery AND as a cookbook. My southern friends will love the 7-Up cake. Soda recipes are big, especially in the deep south

  18. Ooops ... maggie.king@yahoo.com

  19. Great review! Book and recipes sound intriguing.

  20. Oh what the heck, you can never have too many cozy series. wendyklik1517@gmail.com