Death With All The Trimmings - Lucy Burdette
Christmas in Key West is anything but festive this year for Key Zest’s food critic, Hayley Snow. The boss is bringing in potential new investors and looking to revamp the magazine. This boss is no fan of Hayley at the best of times; now it looks like she’s going to take this opportunity to get rid of her. Key West is a small place. There just aren’t that many writing jobs to be had. For the moment, she’s trying to be business as usual, and up her writing game a bit in an effort to prove how essential she is to the magazine. Part of that is accepting an assignment to do a review of the new place in town, Bistro on the Bight, including an interview with the chef/owner, Edel Waugh.
Edel and her now ex-husband ran a famous restaurant in New York, and there’s rampant speculation among those in the know about how well Edel will fare on her own. The truth is, as Hayley soon discovers, Edel is not faring well, even before opening. For a start, there has been a run of little sabotages in the kitchen. Things like making changes to recipes, or, far more dangerous, substituting peanut oil for the regular cooking oil. Edel asks Hayley to look into things for her. Hayley isn’t entirely comfortable with this blurring of editorial lines, but she agrees. It all comes to a head when someone sets a fire in the rear of the empty restaurant. At first, it looks like no real damage has been done. Then a body is found in a storage shed out back. It’s the body of Edel’s ex-husband. Now the restaurant is a crime scene, the opening won’t happen as planned, and a man is dead. There’s no way Hayley can leave all of that alone.
In addition to all this, Hayley’s mom and mom’s boyfriend, Sam, decided to winter in Key West. Mom has already landed a job with a good catering firm and is well on her way to making the place her second home. It’s a subplot that will please readers who enjoy the mother-daughter relationship and it continues to develop the characters very nicely. The mystery is interesting and nicely twisty. Miss Gloria, Hayley’s octogenarian roommate makes an appearance of course, and figures into a part of the mystery. Their friendship is realistic and the very sweet and solid base on which so much of the series (previous novels listed below) rests. I really enjoy this series, and I’m happy to see there’s another installment out this month. As always, there are recipes included for those who’d like a taste of Key West.
Rating: 7 ½
ISBN# 978-0-451-46590-0 (paperback)
The rest of the series:
AN APPETITE FOR MURDER
DEATH IN FOUR COURSES
MURDER WITH GANACHE