Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Calamity Cafe by Gayle Leeson - #review #giveaway

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.



I love this author's books, no matter what name she uses!  I'm especially fond of the "Embroidery Series", written under the nom de plume Amanda Lee.

Gushing fangirl aside, The Calamity Cafe is a wonderful start to the "Down South Cafe Mysteries".  Amy is as warm and hospitable as she wants the atmosphere of her cafe to be.  And she takes care of her workers, first the folks that help her take Lou's Joint and transform it into the Down South Cafe, and later, her staff.  Amy brings in meals for her redo crew just about, if not every day at her expense.  Not many bosses would do that.

Of course, Amy has always had a good way with the customers of the cafe (even when it was Lou's Joint), be they regulars or just passing through.  Contrast that to Lou Lou (daughter of Lou, the founder of the cafe), who would never do anything for anyone if there wasn't something in it for her.  The food was *meh* but she was the only game in town.  She took half of the waitresses' tips.  She would not let her son have a life.

Lou Lou was so bad that it wasn't really a surprise when she wound up dead.  Someone was trying to frame Amy for the dirty deed...and they were doing a pretty good job of it.  She 'found' Lou Lou, and the police always suspect the person who calls it in (if there is any doubt), and a piece of her jewelry that had gone missing was found under Lou Lou's desk.

They took out a wall and turned the old office into an outdoor eating area, because, who wanted to go back into the room where Lou Lou had been killed?  Certainly not Amy!  And I can't say as I blame her.  Well, something was found in the wall that related to a crime committed many years ago.  And somebody else knew about it.  And somehow Amy had to unravel the murder and the previous crime.

The Down South Cafe will be a great place to stop in for a cup of coffee or tea, a bite to eat and the freshest local gossip.  And when you do go in?  I'll be the one sitting by the window wearing the "Down South Cafe" tee shirt!



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. 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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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour in exchange for my honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.)


  1. Sounds like a fun read!

  2. I love your review, LuAnn! Thank you! And I'm going to have to find some Down South Cafe t-shirts.... ;)

  3. Great review as usual LuAnn! Really looking forward to reading this new series!

  4. Hehe seems like you really enjoyed this novel a lot! I'm glad that you can enjoy it and that the author managed to make you enjoy her writing once again! :D