National bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s tenth Key West Food Critic mystery is piping hot with pie-enthusiasts and murder suspects.
When a fierce rivalry between key lime pie bakers leads to a pastry chef’s murder, food critic Hayley Snow is fit to be pied.
During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the year-round population of Key West, Florida, faces a tsunami of tourists and snowbirds. It doesn’t help that outrageously wealthy key lime pie aficionado David Sloan has persuaded the city to host his pie-baking contest. Every pie purveyor on the island is out to win the coveted Key Lime Key to the City and Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is on the scene to report it.
Meanwhile, Hayley’s home life is turning more tart than sweet. Hayley’s new hubby, police detective Nathan Bransford, announces that her intimidating mother-in-law is bearing down on the island for a surprise visit. Hayley offers to escort Nathan’s crusty mom on the iconic Conch Train Tour of the island’s holiday lights, but it becomes a recipe for disaster when they find a corpse among the glittering palm trees and fantastic flamingos. The victim–Au Citron Vert’s controversial new pastry chef–was a frontrunner in Sloan’s contest.
It’s bad enough that Hayley’s too-curious mother-in-law is cooking up trouble. Now, the murderer is out to take a slice out of Hayley. Can she handle the heat of a killer’s kitchen?
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is crazy in Key West, Florida when tourists take over the area. One enterprising chef thought it was the perfect time to hold a contest to find the place serving the best Key Lime Pie. The first event to introduce the chefs participating ends with tempers flaring and pies flying. Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow was there to witness it all.
Hayley and Nathan are starting their life together. They are living with Miss Gloria waiting for their houseboat renovation to happen, Nathan is working overtime with the influx of people on the island, while Hayley is working on several articles for Key Zest. Then Nathan announces his mother is coming for a visit. With every hotel and B&B booked solid, they need to find a place for her to stay because there is no way she will appreciate sleeping on the houseboat. Nathan also explains that he is not going to have time to entertain her and apologies for putting something else on Hayley’s plate. She decides to take the woman on the Conch Train Tour to see the houses all decorated on the island and Gloria goes along for the ride. Eagle-eyed Gloria is sure she saw something at one of the houses and they went to check it out but they found much more than they bargained for . . . a dead pastry chef in a Santa suit. Her mother-in-law is intrigued and has her own ideas for investigating the death. Hayley is worried because Nathan is not going to be happy and she is afraid they may be the killer’s next victims.
I loved this story! Christmastime in Key West! What could be better?
Lucy Burdette has created such wonderful characters for this series and now she has added Helen Bransford, Nathan’s mother, and she is more than first meets the eye. She is a force no matter what character she is interacting with. I hope to see more of her in future installments because she is unique and savvy. Hayley is one busy lady but she finds time to entertain a woman she had never met, Helen didn’t attend the wedding, and who really loved Nathan’s first wife. Hayley was eager to impress and she did all she could. Miss Gloria never fails to crack me up throughout the story. Her relationship with Hayley continues to grow. They depend on each other. Thankfully, Hayley and Nathan’s houseboat is right next to Gloria. All the characters in this story are well developed and their dialogues are crisp and true to life.
Ms. Burdette was cooked up a fabulous mystery too. Plenty of suspects, plenty of twists, and plenty of turns, all leading to some great surprises. I was already totally captivated by the story when a very suspenseful part had me truly on the edge of my seat. I was also totally wrong on the guilty party too.
The setting for this series is a delight, I have loved each and every visit. I understand why snowbirds leave the cold weather as we have in Wisconsin behind to spend time at such a happening place. Hopefully without the dead bodies.
I can’t leave without the food mentioned. This time Key Lime Pie was the star and I quickly found out I didn’t know the different ways Key Lime Pie can be made. Learning something new is always a bonus.
Lucy Burdette is a fantastic storyteller who seems to keep topping herself with each book in this series. I highly recommend all 10 books. In fact, this book is one of the best cozies I have read this year earning my Paradise Rating!
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About Lucy Burdette
Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writersand shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at www.lucyburdette.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”