A mystery? A love story? Or a cookbook? Gail Pallotta's new book, "Cooking up a Mystery," has a little something for everyone.


Pallotta, a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets in Destin and getting together with friends and family, wanted to write about single Christian women entrepreneurs who overcome difficult circumstances.


"When I looked for a profession to give the main character, Laney, I thought of cooking," Pallotta said. "I’ve always heard authors should write what they know, and I started cooking when I was 10 years old. According to my father, I’d need to know how when I married. He was a bit premature. I didn’t marry until I was 30. By then I’d learned how to cook some pretty tasty dinners."


When the time comes for a vacation getaway, the Georgia resident heads for Destin.


"Oh, hands down. I’ve been vacationing in Destin at least once a year since we discovered the place over 30 years ago," she said. "I can’t wait for my next visit."


And that visit might be for booksignings at two of her favorite places — Pino Gelata at Silver Sands and Sundog Books in Seaside.


A Book in the Book


An unusual twist to this book is an actual cookbook in the novel, "Chefs in the Making," with more than two dozen recipes from Laney's customers. They meet every week to talk about foods and submit recipes. Then the next week, Laney features one of the people's recipes in her restaurant. Each recipe title bears the name of one of the characters in "Cooking up a Mystery."


The credit at the end of the recipe recognizes the person who submitted it. And many of the names might be recognizable.


The recipes, except for pineapple rice, are a sampling of those submitted by members of Destin-based Mission Love Seeds.


Mission Love Seeds helps children throughout the world and responds locally after disasters to demonstrate God’s love. To learn more about the organization, write Mission Love Seeds, 55 Country Club Drive, Destin FL 32541 or email missionloveseeds@cox.net.


"Cooking Up a Mystery" e-books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Pelican Book Group, and print books will be available soon online at Amazon, Pelican Book Group and Barnes and Noble.