Wednesday, February 01, 2012

An Appetite For Murder - Lucy Burdette

An Appetite For Murder
A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Lucy Burdette
Living on a houseboat in Key West should seem like a dream come true for northern transplant Hayley Snow.  Unfortunately for her, it’s where she landed (thanks to the generosity of a friend from college) after her almost-two-month-long relationship with divorce lawyer Chad imploded.  Let that be a lesson to every female: if a rich, attractive guy invites you to come to Key West and live in his luxury condo after knowing you for a couple of weeks, well, proceed at your own risk and try to act surprised when you come home and find your lothario short-term boyfriend in flagrante with another woman.
On the upside, Hayley loves everything about Key West and is currently in the running to be the food critic at a new magazine.  But there’s a snag there, too.  Her new boss would be one Kristen Faulkner.  That would be the woman Hayley caught with Chad.  Awkward?  Definitely.  But worth it for this chance at her dream job.  Then Kristen ends up dead, apparently poisoned by a key lime pie.  Suspicion instantly falls on Hayley, and she does herself absolutely no favors by entering Chad’s condo to snoop.  A neighbor calls the cops, and this time Hayley’s the one who’s caught.
Hayley is an interesting character, but she’s fairly immature for a 25-year-old.  Some of her actions are self-centered enough to make her seem like a teenager.  Fortunately, her friends (roommate Connie and therapist Eric) are pretty straightforward with her.  When she jeopardizes Connie’s cleaning business by entering Chad’s apartment, Connie reminds her that she can’t run home to mom or dad; she needs to make a living.  And there are real consequences to all of Hayley’s actions.  She’s not the plucky heroine who charms everyone into forgiving her anything.  She actually makes amends and becomes considerably more mature by the end of the story.
The author truly excels at setting the scene.  Her descriptions of locales and locals in Key West are so evocative that you’ll feel like you’ve had a mini-vacation there.  The mystery is constructed quite nicely and embedded in Hayley’s life and ambition as a local food critic.  Although I figured it out pretty early on, I’m convinced it was purely a lucky guess.  Many subsequent clues and characters made me seriously doubt my guess.  The true test of a good mystery is that, in the end, all the clues and actions of suspects make sense in the context of the solution.  That’s definitely the case here.  And for those so inclined, there are a few recipes included.
Rating: 7
January 2012
ISBN# 978-0-451-23551-0 (paperback)


At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the book. The author is one of my favorites. Hayley reminds me of myself at 25 ... only I was a complete nincompoop. Still working on becoming mature!! Thank you for the wonderful review.


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