Death on the Menu (Key West Food Critic Mystery, #8)

Death on the Menu (Key West Food Critic Mystery #8) by Lucy Burdette

Published August 7th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books

When a killer strikes just before flan time, beloved food critic Hayley Snow is forced to sniff out the killer before someone else bites the dust.

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.

3.5 Stars:

This is the first book I have read in the Key West Food Critic Mystery series, but I had no problem following the story of figuring out the characters. The backdrop for this mystery is a Havana/Key West conference with the hope of developing some business and economic partnerships. During the opening event of the conference, there is the theft of an important Cuban artifact as well as a murder which causes many of the delegates to boycott other events. The murder victim;s family has asked Hayley to find out what happened to him, and she can’t resist to do some sleuthing. There was quite a bit of political undertones to the story that involved the cuban population in the US as well as the anger from Cuba toward the American Government allowing these refugees to remain in the country.

Hayley Snow is a food critic for a magazine in Key West, FL. She finds herself investigating this case much to the chagrin of her boyfriend and Detective Nathan Bransford. I liked the character of Hayley. She’s funny, headstrong, smart, a great daughter and friend. She is helping her mom with the catering during the three-day event and when she is asked to help with a different activity, she jumps right in, of course getting information is always a motivator as well. There is also a personal story going on as well, with Hayley’s friend and neighbour Miss Gloria worrying about what will happen with the houseboat next to them. Hayley also has her magazine writing to do so she is kept hopping in this one. Death on the Menu contains good writing and engaging characters. Lucy Burdette has done a great job with the setting of Key West, including various shops and sites. Of course, no story set in Key West would be complete without mention of Ernest Hemingway. The story itself was a bit slow for me. It had a lot of build up to the reveal, but just never really pulled me in like I had hoped. I also figured out the culprit relatively early in the story, which might be why I did not enjoy it as much as others. Because I enjoyed the characters and setting, I will give another in this series a try, perhaps going back to the beginning might benefit me.

Photo by Carol Tedesco

About the Author: Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mystery series, including  AN APPETITE FOR MURDER, DEATH IN FOUR COURSES, and TOPPED CHEF  (NAL.) MURDER WITH GANACHE  DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, FATAL RESERVATIONS, and coming in April 2016, KILLER TAKEOUT.

Lucy’s alter-ego, clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib, has published eight mysteries including the golf lover’s mystery series and the advice column mysteries. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and a past-president of Sisters in Crime.

Lucy posts recipes every other Thursday on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram or on her group blog, Jungle Red Writers. Jungle Red is a daily blog shared with six other best-selling women crime fiction writers. It’s The View. With Bodies!