Honey-Baked Homicide (A Down South Cafe Mystery #3) by Gayle Leeson
Rating: Very Good
Description: It's fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers' Down South Cafe 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 cafe 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...
Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: I hadn't read this series but had heard good things about it.
My Impression: I have to start this one with a warning - Do not read this book on an empty stomach or you'll find yourself craving all the delicious foods Amy describes as the story goes along. She doesn't stick to the standard Southern cuisine either (though I must admit I did find myself craving a biscuit with honey pretty early on) and I enjoyed her additions of some more adventurous food like sushi and chicken curry. In addition I loved that so much of the book took place in the cafe itself. It always bugs me when a character has a really interesting job but it's just window dressing and you never actually see it. Here so much of the action takes place in the kitchen or dining room of the cafe with either the staff or the regulars that I got a real sense of the place and if I ever found myself in Winter Garden, Virginia Down South Cafe would be first up on my list of stops.
We meet Stu Landon at the very beginning of the book and there is lots of gossip about just who he actually is and what secrets he's hiding. When he's found murdered the rumor mill goes absolutely wild with speculation. Amy liked the man and starts digging around asking a question here and there. Excessive nosiness can get irritating but Amy never crossed the line for me and I enjoyed watching her investigate and bounce theories off her friends. I also really enjoyed her relationship with Ryan, a Winter Garden police officer. While he doesn't encourage her to investigate he also doesn't treat her like a child that needs to be sheltered and is willing to discuss what's going on in the official investigation with limits.
The mystery was well done and there were some tense moments mixed in that definitely kept me reading but what will have me coming back again and again is the community that Leeson has built in this series. These are characters that come to life on the page and I'm already looking forward to finding out what happens next.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely! I'm looking forward to reading more from this series.
Would I Recommend this Book? Absolutely! If you like cozies this is a fantastic series and you can jump in here with no problems.