Review of The Calamity Cafe

The Calamity Cafe

Down South Cafe Mystery, Book #1

Gayle Leeson

5 Stars


First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for.

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.

Includes delicious Southern recipes! (Goodreads)


Amy Flowers is ready to open her own cafe and make her dreams come true.  She knows what type of food she wants to serve, what the decor of the cafe will be and she even has a name picked out, Down South Cafe.  The only thing holding her back is having the actual building in which to open her dream.  She knows she could build her own cafe from the ground up, but decides it would be easier and more cost-effective to buy out Lou Lou, the owner of Lou’s Joint, where she is currently employed.  When she offers to buy the cafe, Lou Lou turns her down flat.  But a short while later, Lou Lou’s son calls and tells Amy his mother has changed her mind and is willing to sell.  When she shows up at Lou’s Joint to discuss the sale, she finds that Lou Lou is no condition to agree to the sale.  Instead, she finds Lou Lou dead.  When she becomes a prime suspect, due to the fact that she found the body and the fact that Lou Lou would not sell to her, Amy decides she needs to find the killer herself, before her dreams are thrown into jail forever.

The characters are well rounded, well developed and three dimensional.  I really enjoyed reading about all the interactions between Amy, her coworkers, her family and her friends. There was enough quirkiness to make them interesting and they were likable enough to make me care about them.  I think one of this author’s greatest talents is her character development.  

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read.  The author is also very talented in her descriptive writing and much of the time I felt like I was right there, watching all of the activity in the cafe going on around me.  The mystery was carried on well throughout the entire book and it was difficult for this reader to figure out the killer. That is always a plus in my book.  

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery.   This is the first book in a new series and as far as I can tell, this author’s debut book.  The book is a great beginning to the series and I feel confident that this author has a bright writing future ahead of her.


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