Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: Death With All the Trimmings by Lucy Burdette

Death With All the Trimmings: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Series: Key West Food Critic (Book 5)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Obsidian(December 2, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0451465900


The only snow in Key West this Christmas is Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, who is not getting time off for the holiday…or time off from murder.

It may be Christmastime, but thoughts of peace on earth, good will toward men, don’t seem to extend to the restaurant biz. Hayley has been assigned to interview Edel Waugh, chef/owner of Key West’s hottest new restaurant. But off the record, Edel reveals someone’s sabotaging her kitchen and asks Hayley to investigate.

Things heat up fast when the restaurant is set on fire—and a body is discovered in the charred wreckage. Is someone out to destroy the chef’s business—or actually kill her? Amid holiday festivities like the lighted boat parade and visiting relatives who stir up mixed emotions, Hayley needs to smoke out an arsonist and a killer who may turn up the heat on her next…

Includes recipes!



The restaurant business is a great setting for a mystery with conflict.  It seems the closer to the 'haute cuisine' end of the spectrum, the nastier the competition.  And that is certainly true off Death With All the Trimmings.  New York chef Edel Waugh comes to Key West to open a restaurant.  But there is the soon-to-be-ex-husband chef with whom she partnered a restaurant in New York.  And the new restaurant is set on the 'ruins' of a restaurant closed for health violations - with the down-on-his-luck restaurateur still hanging around.

I liked the tense dynamic at Hayley's work, Key Zest.  Three staffers against 'the boss', one who especially does not like Hayley, who was I think at one time a suspect in the boss's sister's death.  Not only is there the tension there at the beginning, but then the e-zine is seeking investors, and at one point, Hayley is sure her job is toast.

Death With All the Trimmings is like life with all the trimmings.  Hayley's mom is in town for a season, doing catering work on the side.  She's living in a house rented by her male friend (who hopes to be her fiance - but we don't know that at the beginning).  Hayley herself lives on a boat with an older lady.  Not sure how all that came about, but her roomie is one feisty woman!

If you like the 'whole experience' when you dine out - ambiance, good food, good friends, great aromas and tastes - you will enjoy Death With All the Trimmings.  Hayley's life - likes, troubles, adventures - become like our own.



Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries, including DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, as well as the advice column mysteries and the golf lover’s mysteries, written as Roberta Isleib. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.


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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of Death With All the Trimmings from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.)