Murder at the Tremont House by Judy Alter

Murder at the Tremont House by Judy Alter
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (175 Pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

A journalist comes to Wheeler, Texas, intent on revealing the town’s secrets. Instead she finds a stubborn advocate of the town in Kate Chambers, and the tangled story leads to murder, kidnapping and a high-speed chase.

When free-lance journalist Sara Jo Cavanaugh comes to Wheeler to do an in-depth study of Kate’s town for a feature on small-town America, Kate senses she will be trouble. Sara Jo stays at her sister Donna’s B&B, The Tremont House, and unwittingly drives a further wedge into Donna’s marriage to Wheeler’s mayor Tom Bryson. And soon she’s spending way too much time interviewing high school students, one young athlete in particular. Police chief Rick Samuels ignores Kate’s instinct, but lawyer David Clinkscales, her former boss from Dallas, takes it more seriously.

Sara Jo arouses animosity in Wheeler with the personal, intrusive questions she asks, and when she is found murdered, the list of suspects is long. But Kate heads the list, and she must clear her name, with the help of David and Rick. A second murder confirms that someone is desperate, and now Rick is convinced Kate is in danger.

There’s a love triangle, a cooking school, a kidnapping, a broken marriage, and a lot of adventure before the threads of this mystery are untangled and Wheeler can go back to being a peaceful small town. If it ever does.

A journalist arrives in Wheeler, Texas, ostensibly to do an article on small-town America, but her prying questions seem to indicate another agenda, or so Kate Chambers thinks.

I really like Kate. She is a smart, savvy owner of the Blue Plate Café, which she inherited from her grandmother. Kate has good instincts, and these are helped by comments from her grandmother’s ghost, comments which never give Kate enough information, and raise more questions than answers. As Kate explains it, sometimes her grandmother would “talk to me, mostly in platitudes, and she rarely stayed around to listen to my reply. A few times though she did give me helpful hints, and I found the thought of her presence comforting. I don’t usually tell people about it, because they’d think I’m weird.”

Murder at the Tremont House is a face-paced exciting cozy mystery with plenty of action on many levels. There is a broken marriage and a love triangle, as well as a cooking school, a missing child, a kidnapping, and two murders. The characters are very well-defined, with a lot of depth and I liked many of them. I have never been to Texas, but I have been in a number of small towns, and the setting for this novel feels accurate and believable. The pacing is excellent and I found myself unable to put the book down. There are a number of twists and turns in the plot and I did not figure out who the murder was until the end.

If you are a fan of the cozy mystery, I recommend stopping by the Blue Plate Café, where you will not only get a good home cooked meal, but a lot of excitement and mystery as well. This is the second novel in the Blue Plate Café Mystery series, but it works well as a stand-alone. I have not yet read the first in the series, but I had no trouble jumping right into this one. And be sure you don’t miss out on the freshly baked sticky buns.

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