Murder at Peacock Mansion
by Judy Alter

Alter Ego, 2015. ISBN 978-0-996-01315-4.
Reviewed by Mary Jo Doig
Posted on 04/27/2016

Fiction: Mystery

I invite you to come with me to visit Kate Chambers' small-town Blue Plate Cafe, where customers always have much to talk about as they nibble on Kate's fresh-each-morning pecan sticky buns. This past week, especially, conversation overflowed with non-stop mysterious happenings. Everyone was buzzing about the fire that burned down a cabin that belonged to Kate's significant other, attorney David Clinkscales. David nearly died but managed to crawl out of the cabin in time.

Soon Kate discovers that David is doing some legal work for Edith Aldridge, a recluse who lives at Peacock Mansion and who, decades ago, was found not guilty of murdering her husband. One Cafe conversation notes that they'd had a Henry Higgins/Eliza Doolittle romance. When the widow's step-children suddenly return to town, Cafe speculation hints that they might be seeking to claim their father's inheritance prematurely. New mysteries and questions surface. When Edith finds a wire stretched across her stairway, she tells Kate someone is trying to kill her and asks Kate to look into it. Then a beautiful peacock that lived on the property is slain. Who could do such a terrible thing, the townspeople wonder?

Soon conversation at the Blue Plate Cafe centers around a newly-discovered body that quickly vanishes. When it reappears the next morning outside of the gate to Kate's house, the corpse is identified as the prime suspect. Then the investigation and conversations shift as things become more and more tangled.

You will, I hope, enjoy this third Blue Plate mystery as much as I have. Mysteries with recipes and lots of plot twists in a puzzle that challenges the finest sleuths among us always have strong appeal for me.

After finishing the satisfying conclusion, I decided to try one of Kate's daily tasks: make her sticky buns. As I kneaded the dough, the soft silkiness of it told me it would be delicious. And it was. The rolls filled two 9x13 pans and added the final satisfying ending to my Blue Plate experience.

Read an excerpt from this book.

Judy Alter has authored a wide variety of books during her career, focusing primarily on mysteries in recent years. Her mystery series include: Three Blue Plate Cafe Mysteries, six Kelly O'Connell mysteries, and the (presently) single: "The Perfect Coed." Alter's awards include the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame, the Texas Institute of Letters, and Western Writers of America, Inc., including their Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement, where she was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015. She was also elected to the Fort Worth Public Library's Texas Literary Hall of Fame. Alter belongs to Sisters in Crime, the Guppies subgroup of Sisters in Crime, and the Texas Institute of Letters. In addition, she is an avid cook. Visit her website.

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