Skip to product information
1 of 2

Murder at Christmas in Honeysuckle Grove - A Mallory Beck and Tabitha Chase Mystery - Paperback ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.6 (31 ratings)

Murder at Christmas in Honeysuckle Grove - A Mallory Beck and Tabitha Chase Mystery - Paperback ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4.6 (31 ratings)

Regular price $9.99 USD
Regular price $10.99 USD Sale price $9.99 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
  • Purchase the Paperback
  • Receive Shipment in 2-3 Weeks, as well as surprise bonuses like signed book plates or bookmarks from the author.
  • Enjoy your new book!

If you’ve enjoyed the Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Capers or the Tabitha Chase Days of the Week Mysteries, you’ll love this whodunit where the sleuths team up to solve an unforgettable case.

Download your copy now and start reading today!

Main Tropes

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


Tabby’s family has busy Christmas plans, which gives her the opportunity to fly across the country and visit West Virginia for the first time. Mallory and Amber both welcome Tabby to Honeysuckle Grove with open arms, but Hunch? He’s not so sure about a woman who unmistakably smells of another cat.

They settle in to celebrate the holidays together, and when Mallory and Tabby open Christmas gifts from under the tree and find an item that has no discernible benefactor, trying to discover its origin and purpose becomes the number one task on their Christmas agenda. Is it a treasure hunt constructed by Amber? Or Alex? Or both of them?

While they search for clues, Mallory prepares for an upcoming catering event. The mysterious gift’s source doesn’t become evident until a couple days later when Mallory’s and Amber’s catering event turns deadly!

If you’ve enjoyed the Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Capers or the Tabitha Chase Days of the Week Mysteries, you’ll love this whodunit where the sleuths team up to solve an unforgettable case.

Intro Into Chapter One

I wasn’t sure if I was nervous or excited as I made my way from baggage claim to the airport exit. I hadn’t seen Mallory or Amber in almost a year, and I had only met them in person during their one visit to Crystal Cove. What if I didn’t even recognize them?

We had been emailing for months, of course—at least Mallory and I had—so we weren’t strangers. But I had never been to the east coast, certainly never to West Virginia, and a big part of me still couldn’t believe I had so quickly accepted Mallory’s invitation to visit for Christmas.

But my sister Pepper would be working long hours over the holidays at the Crystal Cove hospital back in Oregon and my parents had decided to visit Europe for the first time. Pepper wanted to stay on my houseboat where she’d have my cat Sherlock for company so there had been nothing stopping me. I still couldn’t get over the fact that my workaholic senator-dad was taking an actual vacation.

I was lost in thought and almost missed the two females frantically waving in my direction. As soon as I set eyes on them, recognition hit. They looked exactly the same as when I’d met them last April, except Mallory’s dark hair now hung a few inches longer, to her mid back, while Amber’s auburn hair had been chopped ultra-short. She wore a bright green hoodie that read:




I grinned and dragged my wheeled suitcase straight for them. I had borrowed an extra-large suitcase from my boss at the café, as not only had I packed Christmas gifts for my hosts, I had to include all the warm clothes I owned. In Crystal Cove, Oregon we rarely got more than a small smattering of snowfall, but Mallory had forewarned me that I could expect a very white Christmas at her house.

“I’m so glad you could make it.” Mallory came in for a hug, and she instantly felt like a close friend I’d known my whole life. “Too bad Jay couldn’t come,” she said as she released me.

“Jay could have hung out with Mallory’s boyfriend Alex,” Amber put in.

Mallory’s cheeks flushed, as I’m sure did mine. Jay and I had grown close, but it had taken us over a year to go on an actual date. I was certain it would be a decade before we were taking vacations together.

“I mean, they’re both detectives,” Amber went on. I didn’t know if she was trying to relieve Mallory’s shyness or mine over the subject, or if she just felt the need to explain further.

“Jay will be swamped through the holidays,” I explained. “Ever since he took the place of our Senior Detective, it’s nearly impossible for him to find time for even a single day off.”

Amber grabbed for my suitcase handle and started to wheel it toward the exit.

“Oh, I can…” but I trailed off, because she was already out of earshot.

“Don’t worry, I know where she parked.” Mallory winked as we followed Amber at a distance.

“She drove?”

Mallory nodded. “She loves driving, and even though I feel a bit of reluctance when the snow is so heavy, she really is a good driver. Probably better than me. We brought the catering van, as it does better than my little car in this kind of weather.”

I had heard all about their catering van and was excited to get to ride inside it. But when we made it through the parking lot and it came into view, Amber was slamming the back door on my suitcase, and it was immediately apparent that the front cab looked like your average vehicle.

I opened my mouth to ask if I could see inside the back, but Amber was already headed for the driver’s seat. Mallory said, “It’s about an hour to my place, so feel free to have a little nap on the way.”

The van cab contained one bench seat, so it was doubtful that would happen. I told her, “I actually slept quite well on the plane. Besides, I’ve never been to this part of the country and I’m excited to see it.”

Amber rolled her eyes as she said, “All you’re going to see this time of year is white on top of white. I hope you brought sunglasses.”

I produced a pair out of my purse while Mallory took the center seat and I got into the passenger one. As we drove out of the parking garage, Mallory directed Amber, but Amber said, “Calm down, Mom. My GPS is already hooked up.”

I loved the easy relationship between these two. It definitely wasn’t like mother and daughter. Closer to the relationship Pepper and I’d had as teenagers. As they chattered on, filling every second of dead space, I relaxed back into my seat, gazing out the window at the unfamiliar landscape of flat land and stretched-out highways. Most of their conversation came out like an argument, but I already knew them well enough to understand they weren’t truly arguing. They were just being themselves with each other. They weren’t afraid of the other getting offended and leaving. There was an importance between them that almost made me a little jealous.

“She hasn’t been here before,” Amber went on and I clued back into their conversation/argument, realizing it was about me. “We should definitely pick up a grape and gorgonzola pie.”

“I’m making her something more interesting than pizza at the house,” Mallory said. “I just went shopping and I’ve had a pot roast simmering all morning.”

Amber rolled her eyes. “You’ll just want to make her biscuits and gravy or something boring.”

“You ladies are making me hungry,” I said, chuckling.

“See?” Amber said, only looking away from the road for a half a second. She really did seem comfortable behind the wheel. “We should at least stop and get her a pepperoni roll.”

Mallory conceded, and I wasn’t sure about the sound of a pepperoni roll, but Mallory was a chef and she’d been teaching Amber to cook for over a year, so I trusted them when it came to cuisine.

Without being directed, Amber took the next exit. I was pretty tired and achy from the flight and in all honesty just wanted to get back to Mallory’s house. But if these two had come to an agreement about anything, I probably shouldn’t get in the middle and start them arguing again.

I expected Amber to pull up to a restaurant and was surprised when she instead pulled up to a minimart called the Frontier General Store. Amber opened the driver’s door, and before I could reach for mine, Mallory popped out on the driver’s side and said, “I’ll just be two shakes. Stay warm inside.”

Amber left the heat running, and Mallory was back quickly with three pepperoni rolls that, I had to admit, smelled absolutely amazing.

She passed the first one to me. “Now they’re not very big, but they are filling, so I only got you one. I’m making you dinner at home so I don’t want to ruin your appetite.”

They weren’t huge, that was true, but my first bite into the crispy bun and spicy meat was a real treat for my mouth. If this was takeout, and only my first experience with food on this trip, I was eager to see—or taste—what the rest of my trip would hold.

Soon we headed up into the mountains, and the time passed quickly with me telling them about my family’s plans for Christmas and them explaining how Amber had gotten an internship with the local police department during her breaks from college where she was studying forensic science. She had been looking at colleges on the West Coast when she’d visited Crystal Cove, but I guessed the internship had given her a reason to stick close to home. She would be working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so the two of them planned to cook for me tonight and tomorrow morning.

When Amber took the exit into Honeysuckle Grove, the colored Christmas lights lit up buildings against a mountainous snowy backdrop. It was after six and the sun had set. The architecture was such a contrast to Oregon—many colonial-type buildings and, as we made our way from the town center, several log cabins came into view as well. While Mallory’s house seemed to be beautiful-yet-average as we arrived at it, it was more sprawling than the suburban houses in either Crystal Cove or Portland, with plenty of land surrounding it.

After Amber parked, I headed for the rear of the van for my suitcase. Mallory opened the back door and I asked, “Any chance I can have a peek inside?”

Amber scoffed. “If you want to look at plain stainless-steel counters and pretty much nothing else, go for it. You’ll enjoy it more when we’re actually using it on the 26th.”

I looked to Mallory, but before I could form a question, she answered it.

“I was going to tell you… and I really hope you don’t mind. We got a last-minute booking to cater a party for the family of one of Amber’s friends on the 26th.”

“Not my friend,” Amber said, sounding a little indignant.

Mallory rolled her eyes. “Sorry, one of Amber’s former high-school classmates. The Petersons have a party at their mansion every year. It’ll be a great opportunity to get our catering business in front of an upper-class clientele. This is the first one they’ve asked us to cater.”

Amber shrugged a shoulder, and a look of distaste came over her face. “Cindra Peterson’s a snob if you ask me.”

Mallory went on as if Amber hadn’t spoken. “You totally don’t have to come if you’d rather relax, but if you’re up for it, we thought it would be fun if you joined us.”

“I’d love to!” I said, without even taking time to think about it. Not only would I get to hear about their great new catering business, but I’d also get to experience it.

“Too bad we don’t have an espresso maker, or Tabby could really help us step up our game,” Amber said.

I nibbled my lip to keep my smile at bay, because little did they know that they would have their own espresso maker after Christmas morning. It was packed snuggly in my luggage, and already wrapped in shiny blue Christmas wrap. “Yeah, too bad,” I said, turning to my suitcase and hauling it out of the van to avoid them seeing the grin on my face.

Mallory led the way to her front door. The driveway and front walkway had been shoveled, but the thick blanket of snow over everything else made the neighborhood appear quaint and untouched. I followed, shivering at the crisp air that had to be a good ten degrees colder than Crystal Cove.

Just inside the door, we were greeted by a gray cat, taller and thinner than Sherlock, and with shorter fur. He looked like he had a permanent scowl on his face, if that was possible with a cat.

“Did you miss us, Hunchie?” Amber cooed, sweeping the cat off the floor and into her arms.

“That’s my cat, Hunch,” Mallory explained. “He’s a great little sleuth, but doesn’t have much patience for anybody except for Amber.” She sounded a little forlorn and the way the cat just accepted how Amber had him curled up like a baby in her arms, I didn’t doubt this was true.

Still, the part of me that missed my own cat made me move closer and say, “Hi, Hunch.” I held out my hand for him to sniff it, and as soon as he got a whiff, he struggled to get out of Amber’s arms to smell more. “He must smell Sherlock on me.”

“Can you imagine getting both our cats working on a case together?” Amber asked, stroking Hunch casually, as though she didn’t notice his intense interest in my fingers.

“That would be a trip,” Mallory agreed.

I attempted to bring my hand up and over Hunch’s back to pet him, but he wrenched his neck to keep sniffing at my fingers, so I decided to just let him investigate the way he apparently did best.

When Mallory showed me to my room, Hunch stayed at a distance, but watched my every move.

“Come on, Amber. Let’s let Tabby get settled. We can get the sides ready to go with my pot roast. I’m sure Tabby will be ready to eat by the time she’s unpacked,” Mallory said, leading Amber back down the stairs.

Surprisingly, she was correct. I’d felt stuffed after the pepperoni roll I ate on the drive, but traveling really did take a lot out of me and I was more than ready to eat again.

But having been left on my own for a few minutes, I decided to quickly get my gift under the Christmas tree while Mallory and Amber were preoccupied. I hoisted my suitcase onto the bed and lifted out the blue foil-wrapped gift, pleased to see it had traveled quite well.

While the two of them banged pots and pans and argued over whatever they were cooking in the kitchen, I tiptoed down the stairs, into the living room and slid the gift under the tree, which was lit up with tiny blue bulbs that matched my present perfectly.

It was a real tree, and someone must have missed the watering stand at the bottom because my knees got a little moist. There were two other gifts under the tree and for a second I doubted myself again over my choice of gift. Was it too much? Would Mallory and Amber feel bad if they hadn’t gotten me anything?

But I shook off my questions when I saw Hunch out of the corner of my eye studying me. Or, rather, studying the gifts under the tree. I had no doubt the second I was out of the room he would be over here investigating.

And so I didn’t waste another minute crouched at the bottom of the tree, especially when I heard Mallory headed for the base of the stairs and calling me to come for pot roast with all the West Virginia fixings.

Purchase now to continue reading...

View full details