Review: Murder at the Blue Plate Cafe by Judy Alter

Murder at the Blue Plate Cafe’ by Judy Alter
Series: A Blue Plate Cafe’ Mytery (# 1)
Release Date: February 15, 2013
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Pages: 184
Source: books provided by the publisher for review

When twin sisters Kate and Donna inherit their grandmother’s restaurant, the Blue Plate Café in Wheeler, Texas, there’s immediate conflict. Donna wants to sell and use her money to establish a B & B; Kate wants to keep the Café. Thirty-two-year-old Kate leaves a Dallas career as a paralegal and a married lover to move back to Wheeler and run the café, while Donna plans her B & B and complicates her life by having an affair with her sole investor.

Kate soon learns that Wheeler is not the idyllic small town she thought it was fourteen years ago. The mayor, a woman, is power-mad and listens to no one, and the chief of the police department, newly come from Dallas, doesn’t understand small-town ways. Worst of all, blunt, outspoken Donna is not well liked by some town folk. The mayor of Wheeler becomes seriously ill after eating food from the café, delivered by Donna’s husband, and the death of another patron makes Kate even more suspicious of her grandmother’s sudden death.

When Donna’s investor is shot, all signs point to Donna, and she is arrested. Kate must defend her sister and solve the murders to keep her business open, but even Kate begins to wonder about the sister with whom she has a love-hate relationship. Gram guides Kate through it all, though Kate’s never quite sure she’s hearing Gram—and sometimes Gram’s guidance is really off the wall.


Review: This mystery is the first in a possible series which is set in a small town in Texas not far from the Dallas – Ft. Worth metroplex.

Kate gets a call from her twin sister Donna explaining that her beloved grandmother has passed away. Gram’s had been in very good health even though she was in her seventies, so the death came as a big shock.

Gram owned and operated the Blue Plate Cafe’ and now Kate has decided, with a little prompting from Gram, to leave the city and take over the daily operatation of running the cafe. As Kate begins to digest the details surrounding her grandmother’s sudden death, something just doesn’t add up.

Told mainly from Kate’s point of view, the mystery of Gram’s death and then the poisoning of the town mayor occupies Kate’s thoughts most often. She has a lot more to worry about though as she learns the ins and outs of running the cafe, and dealing with her high strung, self absorbed sister.

While Kate and Donna are twins they are as different in temperment as night and day. Kate is a responsible woman that was close to her grandmother and wants to her wishes carried out. Kate has a strong work ethic and values, while Donna on the other hand is only out for herself. Donna is more worried about getting her hands on her inheritance and starting up a B&B than about what really may have happened to their grandmother…. until it effects her directly.

While the book was interesting the mystery wasn’t overly complicated. I didn’t know who to suspect and who was in league with whom. It could have been any number of combinations of people with a number of reasons for wanting Grams out of the way, making this a good whodunit.

This is an easy to read mystery that could very well appeal to those that enjoy cozy mysteries as well as to those that just enjoy a traditional mystery series. The language was mild and while there were adult situations there were no sex scenes and no graphic violence. I’m not sure if the author intends to make this a series, but I hope so. I have not read this author previously, but I was certainly read more of her books in the future.