Welcome Judy Alter and Murder at the Blue Plate Café

Charm-Flat-smSmall town America has its charm—not to mention its fair share of romance and mystery!

SMALL TOWN CHARM, LOVE & MYSTERY BOXED SET

Blurb: Small towns are supposed to be idyllic and peaceful, but when Kate Chambers returns to her hometown of Wheeler, Texas, she soon learns it is not the comfortable place it was when she grew up.

Review: Alter serves up a delicious whodunit by stirring up a healthy serving of suspense and a splash of romance, then bakes them to downhome perfection. Add an appealing protagonist, and you have Murder at the Blue Plate Café. Highly recommended. Polly Iyer

 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | IBOOKS | KOBO | SMASHWORDS | ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS

A city girl discovers small-town Texas

By Judy Alter

Coming from Chicago, where I’d been raised, I thought I’d met small towns when I moved to Kirksville, Missouri (pop. 1960s about 12,000). But I didn’t really know about small towns until the late 1970s when I started visiting Ben Wheeler and Edom in East Texas. My good friends, Charlie and Reva Ogilvie, had a guest ranch outside Ben Wheeler, and we ate at The Shed in Edom frequently.

Ben Wheeler bothered me. It was then almost a ghost town, with boarded up store fronts, though I understand it’s had a renaissance, thanks to the man who bought Arc Ridge Ranch from the Ogilvies. It was like many small towns I had driven through: it needed a coat of paint. We went once to a dilapidated roller skating rink (my kids loved it) and more often than I liked to a dismal grocery store, since boarded up, where I trusted neither the cleanliness nor the temperature of the refrigerator and freezer units. Don’t even talk about the freshness of the vegetables. For real grocery shopping, we went to Brookshires in Canton, but I guess that’s a feature of small-town life—going to the nearest good-sized town for a lot of things.

Edom, on the other hand, delighted me. We went several years to the annual craft fair, and other times we wandered the main street which featured craft shops—pottery, leather workers, jewelry makers, and a wonderful women’s clothing store. I was amazed that the main street, a state highway, had neither stoplight nor stop sign. You took your chances and you ran like hell.

The best thing in Edom to my family was The Shed.

I suppose The Shed isn’t much different from lots of small-town cafés with chicken-fried steak, fried catfish, glorious meringue pies (Charlie told me it was all air so no calories, and I reminded him about the pudding bottom), and huge breakfasts. The thing I loved most was that everyone knew Charlie and Reva and greeted them happily. We basked in a small afterglow of fame because we were their guests.

That café and that town became so firmly embedded in my mind that they formed the setting for my mystery series, Blue Plate Café Mysteries. I changed the town name to Wheeler, but no one from that part of the state will be fooled, and I was careful to note that the murders there were from my imagination and reflected in no way on Edom or its residents. But the fictional counterpart of The Shed is central to the story.

A friend who grew up in Granbury, Texas wrote me, “You nailed small-town life.” It was the biggest compliment I could have gotten.

Judy Alter, award-winning author, penned the five books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series. With Murder at the Blue Plate Café, she moved from inner city Fort Worth to small-town East Texas to create a new set of characters in a setting modeled after a restaurant that was for years one of her family’s favorites.a Rafflecopter giveaway

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