Thursday, September 15, 2022

A Dish to Die For by Lucy Burdette

About the Book

Peace and quiet are hard to find in bustling Key West, so Hayley Snow, food critic for 
Key Zest magazine, is taking the afternoon off for a tranquil lunch with a friend outside of town. As they are enjoying the wild beach and the lunch, she realizes that her husband Nathan’s dog, Ziggy, has disappeared. She follows his barking, to find him furiously digging at a shallow grave with a man’s body in it. Davis Jager, a local birdwatcher, identifies him as GG Garcia, a rabble-rousing Key West local and developer. Garcia was famous for over-development on the fragile Keys, womanizing, and refusing to follow city rules—so it’s no wonder he had a few enemies.
When Davis is attacked in the parking lot of a local restaurant after talking to Hayley and her dear friend, the octogenarian Miss Gloria, Hayley is slowly but surely drawn into the case. Hayley’s mother, Janet, has been hired to cater GG’s memorial service reception at the local Woman’s Club, using recipes from their vintage Key West cookbook—and Hayley and Miss Gloria sign on to work with her, hoping to cook up some clues by observing the mourners.
But the real clues appear when Hayley begins to study the old cookbook, as whispers of old secrets come to life, dragging the past into the present—with murderous results.

My Review

This is an entertaining cozy mystery. It is a good book for readers who love novels with lots of references to food. Since the main character is a food critic, there are plenty of restaurants mentioned and delicious food described. And, thankfully, Burdette has added some yummy recipes for the tantalizing foods, such as banana cream pie.

I liked the setting of Key West. We are immersed in the culture and atmosphere of the island community. The spiritual atmosphere was evidenced by a tarot card reading with a view to aiding in the solving of the mystery. I appreciated the descriptions of places Hayley went, like paddling a kayak around exposed mangrove roots.

Burdette has a good writing style, making this novel an easy and enjoyable one to read. It is part of a long series. While it reads well on its own, it seems more character development may have occurred in earlier novels. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the novel, including the food and the setting and will be looking for the next in the series.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib, aka Lucy Burdette, is the author of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. You can find out more at   
Author photo by Coppola Photography

Crooked Lane Books, 288 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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