Cozy Wednesday with Gayle Leeson – Author of Honey Baked Homicide #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am so happy to have Gayle drop by for a visit today! 

Time Traveling –A/K/A Going Through Your Recipe Box
by Gayle Leeson
(Post provided by publicist.)


One of the many things I’ve enjoyed about writing the Down South Café series is looking for the recipes to include. With the first book, in particular, I reached out to my readers and received many wonderful suggestions and, sometimes, the stories that went along with the recipes. My own little white and yellow recipe box is filled with stories. Granted, some cards in the box are merely recipes, but other are echoes from the past.

I look at my recipe for turkey dressing and smile because I can remember my grandmother’s words when I asked her for the recipe—you’re afraid I’ll die and you won’t know how to make this—and our shared laughter. Fortunately for me, she didn’t die until many years later…and for the first Thanksgiving afterward, I couldn’t stomach the thought of eating that beloved dressing. Now when I see that recipe card, I smile, remembering all the Thanksgiving Days I stood by her side and helped her determine if the mixture had enough sage before I ran back to the living room to catch another glimpse of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

“I’m gonna be a Rockette one day, Grandmother,” I’d say, returning to the kitchen to show her how I could kick.

“You will be if you want to be, angel,” she’d say, never once pointing out that Rockettes were tall, skinny, and coordinated, all features I still lack to this day.

I received a wedding invitation from our neighbor—itsy bitsy Laken, who was just ten years old last week, wasn’t she? and five the week before that? Okay, so it only seems that way. Anyway, enclosed with the invitation was a recipe card and a request to share a favorite recipe with the couple. What a wonderful idea. Not only do guests share a recipe, but it’s in the guest’s own handwriting and, most likely, filled with memories.


Thank you so much for visiting today, Gayle!

Honey-Baked Homicide (A Down South Café Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – Virginia
Berkley (December 5, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1101990827



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…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Fall in Winter Garden, a perfect time to visit the Down South Café. Amy Flowers has just made a honey of a deal with beekeeper Stu Landon to sell his honey and use it in her recipes. The first batch was selling quickly so she went to visit him in hopes of a few more jars to sell. She arrived to find Stu upset with his neighbor for using a pesticide on his crops that is killing his bees. Amy leaves with the promise of a delivery of more jars in the morning and Stu ready to face off with his neighbor.

When she arrives at the café the next day, Stu is there waiting for her in his truck. When she walks up to his truck she notices something is wrong and when she opens the door to help him she realizes she is too late, the man is dead and it wasn’t from natural causes. The town is soon abuzz about his death and she can’t believe the long list of suspects. It is going to take some sweet skills to catch the killer and Amy finds herself right in the middle of another murder investigation.

The author has created a unique band of characters. Amy Flowers has a huge heart, she always wants to help people so she is in the perfect business.  The Down South Café has its daily regulars like Dilly and Homer, but people like Stu, Chad Thomas, and Mr. Dougherty from Ives Oil and Gas are new visitors. Stu has lived near town for many years, but he keeps to himself so people don’t know too much about him. Chad Thomas is Stu’s neighbor and he brings his wife to the cafe for the very first time. Mr. Dougherty is in town on business and has been using the café as his place to meet with people. We also meet Stuart’s children and nephew after his death. Their interactions with Amy at the café are complicated. All the other characters we have come to love have returned in this installment too.

The murder mystery is complex and unfolds at a steady pace with plenty of drama. Amy becomes the center of attention for two characters wrath and she handles it much better than I would.  I found myself drawn to the most obvious suspect and was surprised when the final twist blew my entire thought process out of the water.

Gayle Leeson has written a honey of a mystery and I “bee-lieve” it is the best one so far in this series. She also includes several recipes to whet your appetite. The descriptions within the story had my stomach growling.

Southern charm, fabulous characters, and a fantastic mystery come together for a great read. It can be read on its own, but I suggest you read all three in order to get to know these characters.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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!

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Writing as Gayle Trent

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

16 thoughts on “Cozy Wednesday with Gayle Leeson – Author of Honey Baked Homicide #GuestPost / #Review / #Giveaway @BerkleyMystery

  1. I would hate to lose a relative and never again have access to their recipe for turkey dressing!

  2. Thank you, Lori, for hosting me on your fabulous blog today! Thanks, too, for the wonderful review. *hugs*

  3. I’ve really enjoyed the Down South Cafe Mysteries, and so does Dean Koontz – wow! Thanks for featuring Honey-Baked Homicide on your blog, Lori!

  4. Thank you all for your wonderful comments! I keep giving you thumbs-up, but I didn’t know whether or not you’d realize those are my thumbs. LOL!

  5. Your grandmother sounds fun, there are a couple family recipes that I wished that I had gotten, but the memories are best.

    1. She was a sight, Debbie! I miss her every day. 🙂 And you’re right, those memories are the best.

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