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Book 7 - Murder in the Secret Cold Case - A Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Caper (Original Cover Paperback) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.7 (135 ratings)

Book 7 - Murder in the Secret Cold Case - A Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Caper (Original Cover Paperback) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.7 (135 ratings)

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The seventh standalone mystery in the Mallory Beck series. A cop with a secret, a teenager with attitude, and a cat with a hunch...

Main Tropes

  • Close-knit small-town setting
  • Whodunit puzzles
  • A satisfying ending


Spring has arrived in Honeysuckle Grove, and now that crime has finally settled down, Mallory is excited to put her extra time into her new catering business. Despite the lack of crime, though, Alex has been noticeably MIA in Mallory’s life, working in the background on a secretive high-profile case. Lately, it’s taking up every bit of his time, and it’s hard for Mallory not to feel both jilted and curious.

Not meaning to—or at the very least, not completely—Mallory gets a glimpse of detailed clues on Alex’s case. The information leaves her breathless, as it quickly becomes clear why Alex has kept this case a secret.

Mallory knows she shouldn’t meddle, but at the same time, she can’t stay out of this particular investigation, most importantly because she may have key information that will help solve it. Grab this novel now and help Mallory solve the case!

Intro Into Chapter One

Pink honeysuckle blossoms always made me feel hopeful, and there was no shortage of the town’s namesake in the gardens surrounding the Honeysuckle Grove Community Church. I stopped along the cement pathway from the parking lot and breathed in the sweet fragrance enveloping me on either side.

I was here early to help my friend Sasha set up for this morning’s children’s church. She would be taking a trip to England in June, and I hoped to learn the ropes to take over for two Sunday mornings. It was too early for the church greeters to be stationed at the doors, so I pulled open the one glass door that had been unlocked and strode into the empty church lobby.

Usually, only a handful of people arrived this early, so it surprised me when I saw a familiar face adjusting pamphlets on the church’s bulletin board.

“Amber?” I asked, picking up my pace toward her.

She turned, and her face brightened. Then a second later, her eyes darted to the hallway that led toward the church offices. Tension had been running high in Amber’s household for the last few months. Amber’s mother and her therapist wanted Amber to spend more time at home and focus on her family, and so according to her mother’s new rules, we weren’t supposed to be spending time together. Other than a few glances across the worship center at church, I hadn’t seen her in almost two months, but Amber’s darting eyes made me wonder if her mother was around.

“I was going to ask you first,” she said, a note of guilt in her voice. She picked up a letter-sized paper with a color photo of the two of us, along with a mound of food. Without reading any of the text, I could quickly tell this was an ad for our so-far-nameless catering business.

“That looks great, but…?” I trailed off, not quite sure how to ask if this meant her mom was going to allow her to hang out with me and help cater events again. She answered my unasked question.

“I can’t do anything else right now, so I figured the least I could do was try and get us some new clients.” She shrugged. “As soon as you decide on a location for the food truck, I’ll make up flyers for that, too.” I’d recently purchased a food truck and spent countless hours cleaning and cooking and acquiring health permits for it, but I still didn’t feel confident enough to take it out on my own. “Besides, if someone from the church books us, maybe Mom will rethink letting me at least help with that.”

It was a good idea in theory. Unfortunately, we couldn’t usually count on logic when it came to Helen Montrose. “How’s your mom doing?”

Amber shrugged again. “The same. Hardly goes out. Drugs up on sleeping pills, even during the day sometimes.”

“Is she going to drive you around to put up flyers?” Even when I wasn’t spending time around Helen Montrose, I felt the need to push her to be a more involved parent to her daughter.

“She’ll probably just want to go home after church.”

“You know, after Cooper died, I had a brief period where I drove into Bridgeport almost every night because they have a virtual arcade there.”

She raised an eyebrow like I wasn’t making any sense, and I supposed I wasn’t.

“It was good to have a distraction. Healthy for me, I think.” Her face didn’t change, so I spelled it out for her. “If you need help with things, you should ask your mom. Maybe it would be the distraction she needs.”

Amber sighed but didn’t respond or look like she agreed with my sentiment.

“Do you want me to put some up around town, too?” I looked down at the stack she had printed off.

She passed me a few but kept most of them for herself. I wouldn’t argue. If this was all she could do to help right now, I’d let her have that.

After spending a few minutes making sure everything was okay in her world, I had to rush off to help Sasha. I should have come even earlier if I wanted to have enough time to catch up with my best friend after two months of barely seeing her.

“Sorry I’m late,” I called as I opened the counter barrier and entered the main room for the children’s church.

Sasha turned with a smile. “No worries. Can you sanitize the toddler toys and post today’s Bible study in each room?”

As my seventh-grade teacher, she’d always struck me as a meek woman who could easily be overthrown by her class of twelve-year-olds, but I’d learned since then that her quiet strength was a force to be reckoned with.

“You bet.” I placed my purse and the flyers from Amber into a high cubby and then hurried over to the bin of toddler toys.

“The lunch ladies are meeting next Saturday. Can you make it?”

I’d recently started going for lunch with a group of ladies from the church. I was always eager to join them, as the conversation was good and the food at Monica’s Café was some of the best I’d had in Honeysuckle Grove. “I was thinking of setting up my food truck Saturday,” I told her. “But that can wait.”

“Are you sure?” She raised her eyebrows, likely seeing through my insecurities.

“I wouldn’t miss a lunch at Monica’s.”

“Once your food truck is up and running, I’m sure we’ll want to lunch there through the summer.” She smiled warmly. However long it took me to gain the confidence to set my truck up, I knew I’d at least have a few supporters.

Soon the children started arriving, and I took over with the check-ins. I’d been handling the check-ins and pick-ups more and more, trying to get to know all the parents and kids, along with any allergies or special concerns. I kept busy, and time sped by.

By the time the service ended and all the kids had been picked up, Sasha and I had cleaned up the various children’s church rooms. Amber had left long ago, and I had completely forgotten about her flyers until I went to grab my purse.

Sasha looked over my shoulder. “No name yet, huh?”

I shook my head. “Amber’s come up with a few good ones, but nothing feels quite right yet.”

“Or maybe you’re just being overly cautious,” Sasha suggested as we flipped up the counter barrier and began to lock up.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been tagged with being overly cautious, but that opinion usually came from Amber. “Once we settle on a name, we’ll probably keep it for years, so I just want to be sure.”

“Of course you do.” Sasha’s tone was patronizing, but I knew she was only having fun with me. Having her around in the past six months had sharpened me, or at least made me aware of areas I needed to work on in myself. In that way, it was nice having someone a little older in my life. But I also loved the energy and passion that Amber’s youth brought.

I had another bout of missing her as Sasha and I walked through the empty church lobby and out to my car. She always got a ride to church with Penny Lismore, the church secretary, but I usually dropped her off when we were done cleaning up.

“No word from Alex lately?” she asked.

I pursed my lips and shook my head.

“I’m sure it’s just his heavy caseload that’s keeping him away.” She placed a gentle hand on my shoulder as we reached my car. Those were the same words I’d been telling myself over and over again about my friend Alex Martinez and his police work, but they rang even less true when Sasha said them. “Once you get your food truck set up and have something else to focus on, I’m sure the time will fly by.”

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