Murder at Mile Marker 18
Denise Jaden, author
An unlucky amateur sleuth, an adorable cop, and a cat with a hunch… If anyone had told Mallory Beck she would become Honeysuckle Grove’s next unschooled detective, she would have thought they were ten noodles short of a lasagna. Her late husband had been the mystery novelist with a penchant for the suspicious. She was born for the Crock-Pot, not the magnifying glass, and yet here she is elbow deep in fettuccine, cat treats, and teenagers with an attitude, the combination of which lands her smack-dab in the middle of a murder investigation. Maybe she should have thought twice about delivering a casserole to a grieving family. Maybe she should have avoided the ever-changing green eyes of her seventh-grade crush—now the most heart-stopping cop in town. Maybe she should have stopped listening to the insightful mewls of her antagonistic cat, Hunch, who most likely wants her to be the town’s next murder victim. Whatever the case, Mallory Beck got herself into this investigation, and she has a distraught teenage girl counting on her to deliver the truth.
Jaden (Mystery of the Holiday Hustle) kicks off her Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Capers series with this entertaining introduction to Mallory Beck. Mallory has barely left the house in the eight months since her mystery novelist husband, Cooper, was killed in a fire. Her first trip back to church ends with her volunteering to bring a casserole to the Montrose family, whose patriarch was recently killed in a car accident. After meeting the family, Mallory becomes obsessed with solving the mystery of Dan Montrose’s supposed hit-and-run car accident that left almost no physical traces on the road. Helping her are the victim’s 15-year-old daughter, Amber; police officer Alex Martinez, Mallory’s middle school crush; and Cooper’s cat, Hunch, who loves a good mystery. Together they sniff out clues, and Mallory slowly comes out of her self-imposed shell as the trio narrow down the suspects, who include a twitchy lawyer, Dan’s son, the Montrose housekeeper, and a friend of the family. Surprising twists and the sweet romance between Mallory and Officer Martinez will keep readers engaged until the open-ended finale. This cozy mystery blends cooking, cats, and sleuthing to great effect. (Self-published)