It’s a pleasure to be a part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour presenting SILENCE OF THE JAMS, the second book in the Down Home Café Mystery series, by Gayle Leeson!
This book has a well thought out plot but more than that, is character driven, bringing the story to life. Amy Flowers owns the Down Home Café and has been in business only a short time. Her best friend and cousin, Jackie, helps her run it. Jackie’s mother abandoned her and as a result, is estranged from her mom, even though she pops into town every so often. Jackie’s story was hinted at a bit in the first book, but in SILENCE OF THE JAMS, her unfortunate circumstance is fully explored. Ms. Lesson captures the essence of the emotional distress and upheaval the situation causes Jackie and her family, weaving it into the mystery plot, creating layers of tension. The social issue of substance abuse is also a part of the equation, highlighting not only illegal abuse but abuse of prescription drugs and how willing people are to share their own medication with others which can result in dire circumstances. This theme is quite apropos with what is currently happening in our society, but the author does so in a manner that isn’t heavy handed and fits right into the plot. I appreciate when an entertaining book can tackle current social issues, making the reader give pause and consider the message given.
Even though there is the subplot of Jackie and her family, Amy is still the central protagonist. She is deeply involved with Jackie’s dilemma, while at the same time trying to find out who murdered the Director of the Chamber of Commerce as he was eating breakfast at her café. She worries people will think it was her fresh batch of strawberry jam that killed him! The author provides plenty of suspects, each with viable reasons why they wanted him dead. One of the supporting characters, Homer Pickens is a truly likable and admirable man. I loved the scenes he showed up in with his wit and couldn’t wait to find out who his daily hero was for inspiration.
Of course the Down Home Café has plenty of mouth-watering food to keep the townspeople coming back! Thankfully, Gayle Leeson has included many delicious recipes at the back of her book and was gracious to let me share her Peanut Butter Pie recipe. I’ve heard of this pie before, but have never tried it…. and I discovered I’ve been missing out! Sweetened creamy peanut butter forms the bottom layer, while a rich, fuss-free, custard forms the middle layer, and is then topped with a fluffy meringue and garnished with additional peanut butter sprinkles. I was intrigued with her method for creating the meringue with the addition of a cooked sugar and cornstarch mixture. But, after making it and then observing the leftovers over the course of a few days, I will be using this method from here on out! The meringue didn’t shrink nor did it “weep” and get soupy after a few hours. The stability was amazing! The only thing I will try different next time is adding some chocolate chips to the bottom peanut butter layer…peanut butter and chocolate are one of my favorite flavor combinations 🙂
In the latest Southern cozy from the author of The Calamity Café, small-town chef Amy Flowers can’t take her freedom for granted when she’s served up as a murder suspect…
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.
A very special thank you to Gayle Leeson for providing (1) – signed paperback of SILENCE OF THE JAMS, Down South Cafe t-shirt, and Flirty Apron Oven Mitt Set! This giveaway is administered by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and you can use the Rafflecopter box located below the recipe to enter. Contest ends April 16, 2017 and is limited to U.S. residents only. Winners will be announced on this page and on Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours site, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
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I received a copy in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.