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. Amy Flowers, owner of the Down South Café in Winter Garden, Virginia is a caring but curious protagonist. I enjoyed her interaction with her patrons, her friends, and her family. When she decides she needs to get involved and start asking questions to find the murderer of reclusive beekeeper, Stu Landon, she starts uncovering secrets of not only the victim, but other people in town. Some would rather those secrets stay hidden and it’s not long before Amy is in danger.
When I started the book I thought I knew who the victim and the suspects would be but then the author threw in her twists and I was back to guessing while the story took me for an enjoyable ride. Along the way the reader is treated to delicious sounding meals at Amy’s café along with bits and pieces about the plight of the honeybee. We get to spend time with one of my favorite characters, Homer Pickens, who introduces us to a new hero every day. I love his obscure quotes from his heroes, often times people I’ve never heard about. Yet, they have interesting and insightful words of wisdom to impart through Homer which gives the reader pause to consider and take to heart.
While reading, you’ll be drooling over many mentions of amazing meals and thankfully the author provides several recipes at the back of the book. Given the holiday season and the stressful franticness that can sometimes come along with it, I chose to showcase Gayle’s Chocolate Pistachio Cake. It’s quick to mix up yet looks festive for serving to holiday guests. Besides looking decadent, it tastes amazing along with being luscious, even a day or two after baking. I love her riff on using a boxed cake mix and boxed pudding mix, yet no one will ever guess that you didn’t spend hours in the kitchen preparing this delectable dessert!
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…
A special thank you to Gayle Leeson for providing 1 winner a $25 Amazon gift card! 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 December 17, 2017. Winner 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!)
- 1 package white or yellow cake mix
- 1 package pistachio pudding mix
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup chocolate syrup
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
- 1 teaspoon orange juice
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange juice
- 1 or 2 drops orange extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
Combine the cake mix, pistachio pudding mix, orange juice, water, eggs, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Blend to moisten, then beat 2 minutes at medium speed.
Pour about 3/4 of the batter into a well-greased and floured Bundt pan.
Add the chocolate syrup to the remaining batter and mix well.
Pour over the batter in the pan.
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Cool cake for 10 minutes then invert onto a serving platter. Allow to cool completely.
For the chocolate drizzle, stir the confectioners' sugar, chocolate syrup, and orange juice together until smooth. Drizzle over the completely cooled cake. Allow to set for 15 minutes before adding the orange drizzle.
For the orange drizzle, stir the confectioners' sugar, orange juice, and orange extract together until smooth. Drizzle over the cake. Allow to set 15 minutes before serving.
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I was provided an advance copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.