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Down South Cafe Mystery Series

This series is set in the fictional town of Winter Garden, Virginia. Amy Flowers uses an inheritance from her grandmother to realize her dream of owning and operating a cafe. Book One, The Calamity Cafe, was released on June 7, 2016. 

The Calamity Cafe

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 cafe of her dreams. Amy can't wait to serve the kind of southern, down home treats and dishes that her grandmother always loved--such as, meatloaf, ham with red eye gravy, and oatmeal pie--to the kooky cast of regulars at the restaurant. She knows her comfort food will be the talk of her sweet, small town of Winter Garden, Virginia.


At first Lou Lou refuses to sell, but when she seems ready to make a deal, she calls Amy to 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.


Silence of the Jams

It's Independence Day in Winter Garden, Virginia, and the residents are gearing up for their annual celebration. The Down South Café is open and flourishing, and Amy Flowers is busy making pies and cakes for the holiday. The only thorn in her side is Chamber of Commerce director George Lincoln, who is trying to buy the café so he can tear it down and build a B&B on the site.
When George collapses while eating at the Down South, everybody assumes it's a heart attack—until the autopsy declares it to be poisoning. Now, it’s up to Amy to prove her innocence before her liberty is lost.


Honey-Baked Homicide

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...


Apples and Alibis

That's the last time Amy agrees to do a favor for a stranger!

Down South Cafe owner Amy Flowers is in over her head. Operating a cafe while hosting the first Farmers' Market in Winter Garden has her swimming in apples. And when an elderly woman calls the cafe pleading for a delivery for her upcoming party, Amy relents, feeling compelled to help the desperate customer. 

But when she arrives, the woman is slumped over her kitchen table, and Amy is catapulted into the middle of a small-town crime. Guilt-ridden for not arriving earlier to save the woman, she sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding her death. Now between running the cafe and dealing with the chaos of the farmers' market, Amy is squeezing in a murder investigation, a run-in with her boyfriend's mom, and her own mother's quirky life decisions. Life can't get any worse...or can it? This cafe owner needs a break--in the case.


Fruit Baskets and Holiday Caskets

Christmas comes with chaos - and a murder - in the fifth book in the Down South Cafe mystery series!

Amy Flowers thinks her biggest problem is going to be creating an enormous cake dummy to mount atop her car for the Winter Garden Christmas parade. But when one of Roger's employees is murdered, making the float is the least of Amy's worries. Her childhood friend is a prime suspect, Aunt Bess is making a new Pinterest board: Things That'll Probably Kill Me, and her boyfriend's mother is insisting on helping Amy make three-hundred-seventy-five sugar cookies to hand out along the parade route. 

When Amy starts trying to clear Roger of the murder, she unexpectedly finds herself involved in international intrigue. How will our favorite cafe owner outwit sophisticated criminals who want to deck the halls with her head? 


Truffles and Tragedy

Down South Cafe owner Amy Flowers learns her chocolate truffles might not be the only things her patrons find "out of this world."


When her cousin, Jackie, asks her to give a presentation to her online class, Amy thinks all she has to worry about is speaking before a group. But then the nitpicky professor collapses. He has been murdered, and hot-tempered Jackie is the prime suspect. Some online forums are even speculating that the professor was an extra-terrestrial, so Amy must sort out fact from fiction to get to the truth.


Certain the real killer is setting Jackie up, will Amy be able to outwit the killer and save her cousin?

The Reviews Are In!



I can’t ask for a better mystery to read on the weekend, than one by Gayle. Gayle never leaves a reader hanging she leaves them wanting more from this series. ~Bibliophile Reviews


This book has strong characters that are easy to love (especially Homer with his hero of the day quotes), lots of details to hook the reader, and the development of a nice smooth ride until we hit the finale upset because it is the last page. I do believe I am falling in love with this series . . . ~Books a Plenty Book Reviews


HONEY-BAKED HOMICIDE, the third book in Gayle Leeson’s Down South Café Mystery series is an entertaining read that combines both a twisty-turvey murder plot along with a cornucopia of colorful characters. ~Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder


This book leads you on one great ride. Can't wait to see what is next! ~Community Bookstop


I can’t say enough how much I love this cozy mystery series. In fact, the Down South Cafe books are one of my go-to series in this genre. They are clean, entertaining, well-plotted and full of yummy food. ~Reading Is My SuperPower


With Honey-Baked Homicide, Gayle Leeson adds another volume to one of my favorite cozy mystery series, consistently delivering on stories that entertain, have good character depth, and are totally clean. ~The Power of Words


Amy is one of my favorite heroines because of everything that she went through to realize her dream of owning her own cafe and I love her personality. ~Moonlight Rendezvous


I really enjoyed this book. The plot was interesting and kept my attention and the murder mystery left me stumped. ~Bookworm Cafe


Honey-Baked Homicide is a good read--a setting that works well, interesting and engaging characters, and a mystery that I didn't solve until the end. I enjoyed the story, and didn't feel like it was odd that the main character was investigating the crime--she had a good reason to care and wasn't really treading on the toes of the police. ~The Ninja Librarian


A delightful and charming read. Honey Baked Homicide is a keeper. ~My Reading Journeys


I really like Amy, as she isn't the type of cozy heroine that wanders into trouble for the sake of solving the mystery. ~A Chick Who Reads


I really enjoy these books because it seems like I can never figure out the killer. . . We give this 5 paws up. ~Storeybook Reviews


This was another well-written story from Gayle Leeson. The plot was well thought out and believable. This one kept me guessing and the ending is a total surprise. ~Melina's Book Blog


This is the third book in the series, and each one has been more exciting than the last. ~Book Babble


The book is full of suspense with twists and turns around every corner. There are so many suspects, from within the town and from other cities, to choose from. The author does a great job disguising the murderer and the motive along with everything else related to the mystery. ~Sapphyria's Books


HONEY-BAKED HOMICIDE induces lots of heart-stopping moments as Amy deals with some new characters while discovering the past Mr. Landon tried to leave behind and the future of Winter Garden itself. ~Cozy Up With Kathy




Leeson's second entry in her Calamity Café series is as delightfully entertaining as her first entry, bringing back some familiar characters who are still as much of a pleasure as ever, mouth-watering food descriptions, and of course, a protagonist who once again somehow finds herself caught up in a mystery she never expected to solve. The book is a light and fun read that still packs plenty of suspense. - Lauren DuBois, RT BOOK REVIEWS MAGAZINE


A strong story about family and friendship, weathering life’s storms, and discovering that everyone has secrets. ~Laura’s Interests


The plot of Silence of the Jams is engaging and fast paced, pulling the reader along on a wild tale of murder and suspense. ~Sapphyria’s Book Reviews


I love that the author was able to write in a way that made me feel if I shut my eyes I could see the story unfolding around me. 
~Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting


Amy Flowers is a wonderful Southern heroine for this cozy series. Her cafe is a fun setting with an enjoyable cast of supporting characters.
~Book Babble

There are a lot of really likable characters in this book. I loved the close-knit family relationship between Amy, her mom, her cousin, and her Aunt Bess. ~Bookworm Cafe

The writing is so good it kept me glued to the book. The author has a great way of developing her characters with ease. ~Texas Bookaholic

I got so involved in this story that time flew by and the book was over. ~Shelley’s Book Case

… it is excellent, a cozy mystery in the truest sense. Gayle’s writing flows easily across the page, there’s good character depth, the mystery is well plotted. ~The Power of Words

…a delightful book and series… ~Storeybook Reviews

This book has a well thought out plot but more than that, is character driven, bringing the story to life. ~Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder

Such a great page turner with so many possible suspects. ~Community Bookstop

This was another great read in the Down South Café Mysteries. I really enjoy visiting Amy and the rest of the inhabitants of the small town of Winter Garden, VA. ~Melina’s Book Blog

SILENCE OF THE JAMS combines the love and interdependence of family with a well-plotted mystery amidst a backdrop of lip-smacking comfort food to create a delectable read. ~Cozy Up With Kathy

Compelling (and quirky) characters combine with the charming town of Winter Garden, Virginia, to give the novel the right dose of southern small town flair. ~Reading Is My SuperPower

…we become immersed in the daily life of this Southern Town, and get to know just about everyone. ~Maureen’s Musings

Silence of the Jams is a riveting southern cozy murder mystery that will engage you to join in the crazy adventures and trials and tribulations that occur, while providing you with a dose of good ol’ southern charm and humor. ~ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Silence of the Jams is the second book in the Down South Cafe series and it was just as good as the first one. 
~Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my!

I like that there is family and friends are heavily involved in this story as well as the touch of romance. ~A Holland Reviews

This was a delightful read, that had me waking at first light to finish. Gayle has created a sweet, suspenseful series in her latest to the cozy world. ~Bibliophile Reviews

The mystery is well written and the story’s pace is fairly fast. The mystery has plenty of twists and turns and plenty of potential villains. 
~Queen of All She Reads

I like the author’s way of creating characters that could be your neighbors. I cannot wait for book 3… ~Deal Sharing Aunt

This is a quick read, with mystery, friendship, and family, it will keep you intrigued for a while. ~Varietats

SILENCE OF THE JAMS gave me that down-home, easy living feeling, but with murder!  ~Lisa Ks Book Reviews



I absolutely loved The Calamity Cafe!!! This book was a well-written mystery, with charming characters and down home recipes that will make your mouth water.  ~Moonlight Rendezvous


We are treated to a murder mystery and some romantic overtones… If you’re looking for a fun summer read, this would be a wonderful choice.  ~Book Babble


A cleverly constructed plot, well-written characters, and a setting that feels like the town next door all blend together to form the perfect recipe for a new series!  ~Reading is my SuperPower


The first book in a new cozy mystery series is full of colorful characters, delicious food, a solid mystery and a light touch of romance. 
~Queen of All She Reads


The plot is engaging and fast paced, pulling the reader along on a wild tale of murder and suspense. ~Sapphyria’s Book Reviews


This book was great it had southern charm mixed in with old history and crime… ~Community Bookstop


This is a stellar start to the Down South Café Mystery series! ~Cinnamon and Sugar and A Little Bit of Murder


Leeson’s Down South Cafe Mystery series promises to be an awesome new series. It has all the things that appeal to cozy readers: engaging mystery, wonderful characters (especially Amy), and delicious recipes. ~Booklady’s Booknotes


Filled with southern charm and mouth-watering food you, you will be hooked from the start… ~Shelley’s Book Case


This is another new exciting cozy mystery… ~A. Holland Reads


A very good start to a new series… ~Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my!


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. ~Back Porchervations


If you’re a fan of culinary mysteries, the talk of southern cuisine will have your mouth watering while you try to deduce who killed Lou Lou.
~The Book’s the Thing


I really liked the plot of this story and the characters. I thought it was a great mystery and it kept me guessing till the very end.
~Melina’s Book Blog


I loved the setting of the story and the food element was so much fun. The author kept me guessing. I was suspicious of quite a few characters until the very end. I look forward to the next book in the series. ~Brooke Blogs


The Calamity Cafe is a riveting southern cozy murder mystery that will engage you to join in the crazy adventures and trials and tribulations that occur, while providing you with a dose of good ol’ southern charm and humor. ~Jersey Girl Book Reviews


I loved this book! Probably because it centers around a cafe and I love food and new recipes (or even twists on old favorites)…
~Storeybook Reviews


CALAMITY CAFE is an inviting welcome to a new series with unique characters and Southern charm. THE~Cozy Up With Kathy





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Hightail It to Kinsey Falls

All work and no play make Jade a dull girl.

Jade Burt can do without her grandmother’s meddling in her love life. But when Millie finds an abandoned baby possum, it leads her to Caleb Young. Caleb would be perfect for Jade! When Jade meets Caleb, it’s hard to argue with her grandmother’s choice. Still, Jade is determined to push Caleb away, but his friendship with Millie concerns her. What if he’s a slick con man trying to take advantage of a sweet old lady? Jade needs to figure Caleb out before he breaks her grandmother’s heart…and Jade’s too!


Putting Down Roots in Kinsey Falls

Joanne Faraday comes to Kinsey Falls to find her birth parents. What she doesn’t expect to find is eccentric Greta Parker and her band of Silver Sleuths. The amateur “detectives” mistakenly think that Joanne is hiding something and start following her all over town. Joanne doesn’t know whether to be amused or horrified, but their antics are a welcome distraction from her own worries. 

Greta Parker is absolutely certain that newcomer Joanne is up to something. Her best guess--and it's backed up by the Silver Sleuths--is that Joanne is planning some sort of heist. Thinking that Joanne might be in dire financial straits, Greta thinks maybe they can lure Joanne away from the dark side with the offer of a fund-raising bake sale. 

But when Joanne’s and Greta’s worlds collide in an unexpected way, both women have to take stock of what they really want out of life …

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