Author Cathy Pepe Releases First Book in Series of Grandma Gang Mysteries: Donny and Mary Grace’s California Adventures

Lompoc, CA – Author Cathy Pepe has released a new book, Mary Grace and Donny’s California Adventures: A Grandma Gang Mystery, a tale about a sister and brother moving to California to live with their grandmother who is part of a mystery-solving group known as the “Grandma Gang.” Ten-year-old Mary Grace, whose younger brother Donny has Down syndrome, finds herself trying to solve a mystery about bullying in the classroom. The book can be purchased at or by visiting Ten percent of net proceeds will be donated to Special Olympics.

Mary Grace and Donny’s California Adventures is Pepe’s first novel. She is a retired lawyer residing in Lompoc, California. The Grandma Gang book series is inspired by her late younger brother Donny, who had Down syndrome and enriched the lives of Pepe and her family. She began writing the book during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to share her brother’s joyful personality and her experience of growing up with a family member who has Down syndrome.

“I’m excited to share my memories of Donny in this fictional mystery series,” said Pepe. “The Grandma Gang books are filled with entertaining adventures, suspense, and life lessons for young audiences. I hope that readers will see what a blessing Donny’s character is and the immeasurable joy he brought to his family. The most important message for readers is how Donny lived his life to the fullest and had infectious positivity – every day was the best day of his life!”

In Mary Grace and Donny’s California Adventures, the two siblings move from Wichita, Kansas to Lompoc, California to be taken care of by their grandmother, Cathy. Mary Grace struggles with the move, not wanting to leave her hometown, but finds comfort in Donny’s cheerful attitude about the change. Mary Grace takes an interest in her grandmother’s story of solving a series of local break-ins that earned her and her friends the nickname, the “Grandma Gang.” An amateur detective herself, Mary Grace, along with Donny and the Grandma Gang, solve a mystery involving bullying in her classroom.

Ten percent of net proceeds from book sales will benefit Special Olympics, an international organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition.

“It is important to me to support the Down syndrome community with this book, so I’m proud to have a portion of proceeds benefitting Special Olympics,” Pepe continued. “Special Olympics was a significant part of Donny’s life and provided our family with countless memories over the years.”

“Donny was the first generation of Down syndrome children that survived infancy, thanks to the miracle drugs developed following World War II. The prevailing medical advice doctors told my parents was to institutionalize Donny. They chose to raise Donny at home – overcoming the challenge of little government or school assistance for Down syndrome children during this time,” Pepe continued.

Additional books in the Grandma Gang series will be released in the future, including Donny and Mary Grace and the Dognappers and Donny and Mary Grace and the Ugly Marbles. To learn more about Grandma Gang Mysteries, including how to purchase books and support Special Olympics, please visit

About Cathy Pepe

Cathy Pepe, author of the Grandma Gang book series, is a retired lawyer, mother of two and sister to three – including the real-life Donny. Cathy began writing Donny and Mary Grace’s California Adventures: A Grandma Gang Mystery during the COVID-19 pandemic, wanting to share stories inspired by her brother. She grew up in Long Beach, California, one of four children. While the Grandma Gang Mysteries are fiction, many of the characters and incidents were inspired by living with Donny and the rest of Cathy’s amazing family.

Prior to writing the Grandma Gang Mysteries, Cathy was an accomplished lawyer at an international law firm and became the first woman partner in the Labor and Employment Law practice group. She attended law school after being at home with her two sons for 11 years, paying her tuition by winning two TV game shows. She graduated summa cum laude.


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