Award-winning author Judy Alter also writes the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries. Her newest, Murder at the Blue Plate Cafe, is the first of a planned series set in Wheeler, Texas.MurderBPlate_JAlter_MD (2)-1


News of the sudden death of Kate Chambers’ beloved grandmother has her fleeing Dallas for the rural town of Wheeler.

She’s adjusting to the  woman’s death, staying in her house, when her twin, Donna, announces the cafe next door that their grandmother ran for years must be sold immediately.

Donna wants invest her half of the estate into a planned B&B with a seemingly shady business partner.

No one is more surprised than Kate to hear Gram’s voice subtly influencing her choices.

Kate suddenly decides to quit her paralegal job and run the cafe while she delves into the real reason behind her grandmother’s death.

Donna’s story about the death doesn’t tally with that of the cafe staff who know and loved Kate’s grandmother. It doesn’t help that the twins have a love-hate relationship that affects the Kate’s feelings: could her sister have killed Gram to inherit sooner and finance her dream?

As Kate delves into the background of Gram’s death and adjusts to the life of a cafe owner, she starts to realize the huge chunk she’s bitten off. Running a cafe is hard work and it comes with challenges she hadn’t foreseen, which include food poisoning of none other than the tough, power-hungry mayor who wishes to run Kate out of business.

Donna’s dysfunctional family adds to the stress, along with a police chief who seems out of his depth in a small town.

Throw in a few neighbors with their own problems and more than a hint of romance, and you’re off and running with Kate in her new life. Thank goodness Kate has Gram’s voice to guide her, a fact she isn’t quick to mention to anyone else.

Just as she’s figuring out a new menu and new recipes, food poisoning and finally murder get thrown into the mix, and things heat up quickly for Kate.

There’s plenty of action here, along with humor, and the real small-town feel of people knowing everyone else’s business.

There are the patrons and staff at the Blue Plate who round out the cast.

Alter’s own twin passions–for Texas and cooking–shine through.

Readers will be lined up at the door of the cafe, waiting for the next Blue Plate Cafe mystery.