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Book 8 - Murder in New Orleans - A Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Caper (Original Cover Large Print Paperback) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.5 (175 ratings)

Book 8 - Murder in New Orleans - A Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Caper (Original Cover Large Print Paperback) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.5 (175 ratings)

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* This humorous, contemporary travel mystery novella, the eighth standalone mystery in the Mallory Beck series, was originally published as Murder of a Po’ Boy in the When the Cat’s Away Anthology

A food tour in New Orleans where murder is on the menu…

Main Tropes

  • Scrumptious Culinary Delights
  • A cat with a hunch
  • Clean with no swearing, gore, or sex


When Mallory Beck wins a food tour experience in New Orleans, she invites teenage Amber, her foodie BFF, to join her on a road trip of French and creole cuisine. Mallory’s cat-sitter cancels at the last minute, and presumptuous, cheeky Hunch helps himself to shotgun in Mallory’s Prius. A good thing, too, because when a know-it-all food tour participant turns up dead and wrapped in Mardi Gras beads, they’ll need Hunch’s keen nose to sniff out any foul play.

Surrounded by tight-lipped locals and voodoo theories, Mallory and her team of sleuths have their work cut out for them to clear Amber’s name from suspicion and get to the bottom of what happened to the Po’ Boy who didn’t make it through to the last stop on the food tour.

You'll love the strong friendships and the cranky crime-solving cat who thinks he's a dog in this new whodunit. Order Murder in New Orleans now!

Intro Into Chapter One

It was six o’clock in the morning and I was already talking a blue streak to my ornery cat.

“Listen, Hunch, you’ll like Seth. I promise. He’s related to Amber, so how bad could he be, right?” Using my sixteen-year-old BFF’s name made Hunch pause from his pacing along the backseat of my white Prius. In truth, I didn’t know much about Amber’s older brother, Seth. “You’ll have to stay in his room because their mom is allergic to all things fur-covered, but Seth goes out all the time. He’ll take you with him.”

This was a guess, but apparently, Seth liked animals. I’d at least asked that much.

When I pulled into the driveway of Amber’s mom’s mansion, the sun’s glow was barely peeking over the horizon. The town felt dark and quiet so I turned off my engine and picked up my phone to text Amber.

Should I bring Hunch in or does Seth want to come out and get him?

Three dots appeared. I waited a long time for two words to appear.

About that…

I stared at my phone, but no more dots appeared. Even Hunch sensed something was wrong and climbed onto the console to nuzzle up to my shoulder—a good deal more affection than my late husband’s cat usually gave me. I didn’t believe animals could read, and yet, I clearly wasn’t convinced because I flashed him my phone screen so he could have a peek.

He let out a mix between a mewl and a growl.

“I know.” I stroked his head, accepting the rare opportunity when he’d let me give him some love. Still, the dots indicating her reply didn’t appear. “I have a bad feeling about this, too—”

A knock on the passenger window made me slap a hand to my chest as my heart skipped a beat and then pounded. But it was only Amber. I’d neglected to unlock her door.

She opened the door, but didn’t get in. A red and white duffel bag sat at her feet, and she wore a black hoodie that read: THAT’S A HORRIBLE IDEA. WHAT TIME?

I didn’t notice her frown until she picked up Hunch and cuddled him to her neck. He immediately started purring.

“Bad news, Hunchie.” Amber was the only one who could get away with cutesy nicknames with my cat.

“What? What bad news?” I strained my neck to see the dark upper rooms of the Montrose mansion. “Where’s Seth?”

My hope deflated before I even had the question out. I’d been looking forward to this road trip for months. After Amber had entered a cooking contest at school, she’d caught the bug for competition and insisted I enter Foodie Elite Magazine’s original recipe contest. The food tour I’d won tickets to in New Orleans had high ratings in all the food magazines, and I’d heard great things even before I won the tickets.

“Seth can’t take Hunch?” I guessed because Amber still hadn’t answered me.

“Seth can’t take Hunch,” she echoed into my cat’s fur.

Hunch wasn’t the type of cat you could drop off at any old pet kennel. Hunch had been my mystery-author-husband’s assistant before he passed, and I often suspected the cat had a bigger brain than I did. He wouldn’t last a day in a cage without a single stimulating human conversation.

And it would dishonor Cooper’s memory to put Hunch in such a place.

I heaved out a sigh, trying to let go of my anticipation for the trip.

“But I came up with a backup plan,” Amber said.

I raised an eyebrow in question. With her bristly attitude, she didn’t have a lot of school friends, and her mom claimed to be highly allergic. Our detective friend, Alex Martinez, worked twelve-hour days, plus he had a new police dog he was training, so he wasn’t an option either.

“It turns out our hotel accepts pets.” She continued to hide half her face behind Hunch, clearly concerned about my reaction.

“They accept pets? In the hotel rooms?”

Hearing the disbelief in my tone, Amber placed Hunch into the passenger seat and pulled out her phone. She navigated to the sponsoring hotel’s website and flashed her screen to show me the words: AND YOU CAN BRING YOUR SMALL PET!

I stared at the words, tentatively allowing a spark of hope. “You want to bring Hunch on a fifteen-hour car ride?” My eyebrow was so high, I was certain it blended with my hairline.

“Why not?” Spoken like a true teenager.

“Why not,” I echoed under my breath. But I did have Hunch’s litter box and food with me for Seth. Hunch knew better than to scratch up furniture. “You’re going to be all by yourself for two days while we’re on our food tour,” I told my cat in my sternest tone.

This apparently signaled my agreement and made Amber squeal into the quiet early-morning air. She raced to the back of my car to throw her bag into the trunk.

I turned to my cat, who waited patiently on his haunches for Amber in the passenger seat with what could only be described as a look of triumph.

“You win,” I told Hunch. “Apparently, you’re coming with us.”

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