by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of Christmas mystery, Death With All the Trimmings, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL.
It may be Christmastime in Key West, Florida, but Hayley Snow is definitely not feeling the holiday spirit. Her position as a food critic for Key Zest magazine is in flux. The co-owner despises Hayley and has brought in potential buyers who would take the magazine in a more social media-focused direction. Hayley’s editor—and potential boyfriend—Wally has been absent due to his mother’s battle with cancer. As much as she loves her own mother, Hayley isn’t quite prepared for Janet Snow’s move to town and the inevitable encroachment on her daughter’s independence. Hayley is excited to interview Edel Waugh, a talented New York restaurateur opening her own restaurant in Key West. It is Haley’s reputation with murder investigations and not her food credentials that interests Edel though, as she believes that Hayley is the key to solving incidents of sabotage.
Bistro on the Bight endures mixed-up recipes, peanut oil swapped for olive oil, and eventually arson and murder. Hayley has little chance of remaining uninvolved, considering how Edel manages to gain the Snow family sympathies. This is not the time for Hayley’s insecurities to pop up, especially with her athletic golf pro cousin visiting and stirring up childhood memories of shame and inadequacy.
Fans of the Golf Lover’s Mysteries, written under Burdette’s name Roberta Isleib, will be delighted to see the reappearance of Cassie Burdette and sports psychologist Joe Lancaster, now Cassie’s husband and steadfast supporter. Just as enjoyable are the celebrations unique to Key West in December, including the tropically themed parades—the Hometown Holiday, lighted boats, and the Dachshunds. A Key West Food Critic Mystery means that there will be tantalizing descriptions of food, along with recipes at the end.
What makes all of these mysteries such standouts are the psychological perspectives given to the characters to make them all so real. The author uses her background as a clinical psychologist to add dimension to backstories. Just like in real life, some characters face obstacles that cannot quickly be tied up with a bow, yet they find enough resolution to satisfy the reader. Always a delight is how Hayley eschews the more conventional psychotherapy for her friend Lorenzo’s tarot card reading, an entertaining contrast to Cassie’s coping mechanisms.
The author delves deeply in the life of a struggling chef and the minutiae involved in opening a restaurant, both fascinating arenas teeming with intrigue. Layers of depth added to the characters elevate this above other food-orientated mysteries and ensure the plot remains as delectable as the irresistible cuisine.
To enter to win a copy of Death With All the Trimmings, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Trimmings,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 20, 2014. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
If you enjoy food mysteries, why not check out our monthly food column by Alicia Lieu, along with recipes, How I Met My Dinner.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
Click on this link to purchase this book and you will be supporting an indie bookstore & a portion goes to help support KRL.