Title: Death on the Menu
Series: Key West Food Critic Mystery
By: Lucy Burdette
ISBN: 1683317467 (ISBN13: 9781683317463)
Author’s Website: http://www.lucyburdette.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Hayley Snow, fiery food critic for Key Zest magazine, has just landed a ticket to one of the most prestigious events in Key West: a high-brow three-day conference at the Harry Truman Little White House. Even though she’ll be working the event helping her mother’s fledgling catering business, there’s plenty of spicy gossip to go around. But just before her mother’s decadent flan is put to the test, Key West’s most prized possession, Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal for The Old Man and the Sea, is discovered stolen from its case.
Unsavory suspicions point to Gabriel, a family friend and one of the new busboys working the event, who mysteriously goes missing moments later. Anxious to clear his name, Gabriel’s family enlists Hayley to help find him, but right as they begin their search, his body is found stabbed to death in the storeroom.
Hayley has no shortage of suspects to interrogate and very little time before the killer adds another victim to the menu in national bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s delectable eighth Key West Food Critic mystery, Death on the Menu. (Goodreads)
I have been on a trend lately starting new cozy mystery series not at the beginning but at say book 7 or 8! Not how I usually like to do things BUT Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette is a treasure of a cozy mystery which I am very glad to have read.
Death on the Menu begins with Hayley Snow helping her mother with a three-day event at the Harry Truman Little White House in Key West, Florida. Hayley is helping to cater a Cuban/American conference – a coup for her mothers fledgling catering business. As this is a controversial event, Hayley’s beau, Nathan Bransford would like Hayley to stay away but that won’t happen as her mother needs Hayley’s help in addition to the help of Miss Gloria – Hayley’s octogenarian roommate. I loved the inter-generational aspect as Hayley valued her friendship and the feelings of Miss Gloria – especially when Hayley fretted over who their new neighbour would be on Houseboat Row.
There are many notable guests at this conference. Miss Gloria is a big fan of one of the guests – President Obama. I loved the metaphors to describe Miss Gloria’s level of enthusiasm for these particular guests:
“She was a major fan of the past president and, even more so, his wife. She craved seeing one of them in person-the way that toast yearned for jam, that hot biscuits called for butter, that peach pie pined for vanilla ice cream.”
So Hayley and Miss Gloria are working the event and what happens? Seems that a theft may have occurred. Seems that Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal for The Old Man and the Sea, is discovered missing from its case. Unfortunately for busboy Gabriel, he is the prime suspect. Gabriel’s family ask Hayley help to clear his name. Shortly thereafter, Gabriel seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as he turns up dead. So how was he involved in all this?
The path with which Hayley takes to discover the truth is filled with many misdirection’s, funny moments (just love Miss Gloria) and a few romantic “awe” moments. I was pleasantly surprised that I did not figure out whodunit until the very end… and this makes for a very satisfying cozy mystery.
I recently went to Cuba for a vacation (in fact only a mere month before I read this book) so Hemingway and Havana were fresh on my mind. At the beginning of the conference, Hayley describes the following scene:
“The band began to warm up on the stage, delivering blasts from a trio of glorious trumpeters wearing fedoras and crooning from a sexy Cuban man in a white suit and cowboy hat. I felt as though I’d been dropped into the Buena Vista Social Club in old Havana.”
I felt like I was back on vacation as I had gone to the Buena Vista Social Club in old Havana. I listened to excellent music throughout the vacation. Reading Death on the Menu took me right back to my lovely vacation – minus being part of solving a murder.
The descriptions of the food were spot on and I could just smell the food and the feel of the daiquiri slowly going down my throat. It was tiring to say the least to this reader trying to keep up with Hayley juggling her sleuthing along with her day job as a food critic at Key Zest magazine.
While this is the first book by Lucy Burdette that I have read, I predict it will not be my last. In fact, I have the next installment of the Key West Food Critic Mystery series, A Deadly Feast, already downloaded from the publisher ready to read.