A DISH TO DIE FOR by LUCY BURDETTE

A Key West Food Critic Mystery

Can we all just appreciate the tropical beauty that is this cover? So peaceful and lush.

But not for Hayley Snow, the food critic for the Key Zest Magazine. Things almost never slow down in the Keys and Hayley’s hot cop husband is as busy as she is. Not to mention that his father is in town and Hayley has yet to meet the imposing man.

When Hayley and a friend take their pups over to Geiger Key for a peaceful lunch and dog run, it should be relaxing enough. And it is. Until Ziggy digs up more than sand on the dunes. Local Davis Jager, an avid and very serious birdwatcher, who is also out on the beach identifies the body as one GG Garcia. Garcia has a lot of enemies. He’s loud and brash and is buying up all the real estate he can get his hands on to create even more tourist destinations. The locals aren’t so happy with that idea.

Of course, Hayley isn’t going to just let a dead body go without an investigation. When she and her trusty sidekick, Miss Gloria pay Davis a visit they find out later he was attacked in the parking lot. So, he isn’t a suspect? Maybe.

They find more mysterious things as they help Hayley’s mother with the funeral reception at the Women’s Club. A very old cookbook and a box of notes about some of the members. What a find! Full of recipes from the original cookbook the women put out in the 1940s. Some of them sounded gross, but some of them weren’t recipes at all, but a diary!

This was a good installment of the series. Hayley and Nathan are getting into a married routine and things are looking up for her at work as well!

And as usual, Ms. Burdette has included all of the delicious recipes!

Netgalley/ August 9th, 2022 by Crooked Lane Books

DEATH of an ICE CREAM SCOOPER by LEE HOLLIS

A Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery

Hayley Powell is back writing her food and cocktails column in Bar Harbor, Maine and she is busy as ever. It’s always a pleasure to hop in and see what she is up to.

The last thing she and her friend Lydia, owner of Bar Harbor Ice Cream, expect to find in the freezer truck is a dead body. Especially not the dead body of Miranda, an employee!

Shocked and looking to protect Lydia, Hayley is doing her best to come up with suspects that don’t include Lydia or her husband who may or may not be cheating. Everyone is keeping secrets. Some are deadly and could make sure this is her last case! Hayley needs to untangle Miranda’s public and secret lives before anyone else is hurt. It won’t be easy.

Always a pleasure. Especially the recipes!

NetGalley/July 26, 2022, Kensington Books



Mint Chocolate Murder by MERI ALLEN

An Ice Cream Shop Mystery #2

Riley Rhodes returns in the second delicious cozy set in a New England ice cream shop, Meri Allen’s Mint Chocolate Murder!

We are back in New England with Riley Rhodes of Udderly Delightful Ice Cream Shop, which she manages for her best friend.

Riley is surprised to be asked out to Peeniman’s Moy Mull Castle. The famous Maud Monaco, former supermodel, and wife of a very rich man. She has turned the castle and the extensive grounds into an art colony and she is hosting an art show and an ice cream social. Bitsy will be catering but Riley will provide the luscious fall flavors of ice cream she has dreamed up. And they sound dreamy!

The featured artist is photographer Adam Blasco. He has a rather dark reputation and sounds like a creep, so when he is found dead in a locked room, Riley ( a former CIA Librarian), figures out that more than one person had an ax to grind with Blasco and motives abound!

The biggest mystery is the locked room. How did someone kill him and get out without unlocking the door? Was it the famous Weeping Ghost? Or did this Scottish castle come with a secret as well as a ghost?

The food descriptions had my mouth watering! A book series about ice cream? Yes, please! I can’t wait for the next one.

NetGalley/ July 26, 2022, St. Martin’s Press




LOVE & SAFFRON by KIM FAY

Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love

This witty and tender novel follows two women in 1960s America as they discover that food really does connect us all and that friendship and laughter are the best medicine.

It’s the sixties in America. Joan Bergstrom is just twenty-seven. She lives in Los Angeles with her mother and is writing for the newspaper. Imogen lives outside of Seattle and has a small cabin on Camano Island as well. She writes a monthly column for a magazine. Joan and her mother are big fans so one day Joan writes her a letter and encloses some saffron.

And just like that their lives are changed. Enriched by a love food. While Imogen is much older than Joan, the language of good food and exotic spices know no age limits. They begin a fast friendship through letters that take them through many sad times and even unexpected events in their own personal lives.

Soon Imogen’s husband is caught up in the food experience. The saffron has unlocked a memory and from there he is invigorated and excited about life again. Joan introduces them to the multi-cultural food found in Los Angeles as well as a secret about her own love for a man of Mexican descent.

The food made my mouth water, the women made me laugh and cry. This was just what I needed at this moment. Human connections. This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read.

NetGalley/February 8th, 2022 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons


Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Black Cake

In this moving debut novel, two estranged siblings must set aside their differences to deal with their mother’s death and her hidden past–a journey of discovery that takes them from the Caribbean to London to California and ends with her famous black cake.

This story begins in the present with siblings, Byron and Benny dealing with their mother, Eleanor Bennett’s death. Once very close, the siblings have barely spoken since Benny walked out the day she tried to explain who and what she was to her family.

Neither of them wants to be sitting with their mothers’ long-time friend and lawyer listening to what their mother has left for them. Recordings of a story. Of her past and how they all came to be what they are now. A story that starts on an island and goes to London and California. A story of a girl who loved the sea. A girl whose drunken father sold her to a horrible excuse of a man. A girl who runs into the sea in her wedding dress to escape.

It is also about friendships, race, and betrayal. About long-held secrets and even a secret child. And of course, the black cake. Their inheritance. The cake they will share with their sister when they find her. Full of misunderstandings, secrets, and injustices, this is one of the most beautifully written books I have read. What a joy to have read this debut novel!

NetGalley/February 1st, 2022 by Ballantine Books




MISS ELIZA’S ENGLISH KITCHEN by ANNABEL ABBS

Miss Eliza's English Kitchen: A Novel of Eliza Acton, Pioneering Victorian Food Writer

The story of two real-life women who together create a cookbook at a time when women were not expected to even venture into the kitchens. Eliza Acton and Ann Kirby become unlikely friends and brought forth the first cookery book for private homes. They were the first to list ingredients as well as cooking times. Later their work would be ‘borrowed’ for Mrs. Beeton’s cookbook.

The year is 1837 and Eliza Acton has no desire to be anyone’s wife. She is a poet. A very determined poet. But when her book of poems is rebuffed by her publisher, she is crushed. Especially when he suggests she write a cookery book. Eliza is furious. But then things go awry in her family with her father losing everything and fleeing the country. Leaving his wife to depend on Eliza alone to restore the family’s wealth.

As her mother leases a boarding house, Eliza needs to learn to cook. As she collects recipes she finds that she loves cooking. The flavors blending like poetry itself. But she needs help.

17 -year- old Ann Kirby has lived in poverty and uncertainty her entire life. Her mother is supposedly mad and is put in an insane asylum without her knowledge. Her father is a drunk as well as crippled. It’s a dark life and a hungry one.

When Eliza hires her to help her she knows nothing about cooking. However, she can read and write and her palate is spot on and her descriptions of the flavors are poetry itself. They take ten years to perfect their book. In that time they become more than employer/employee. They become friends. They make each other bolder, stronger, and better.

I enjoyed the back and forth viewpoints. No time hopping, just their own perspectives and thoughts. The descriptions of everything they create are much like poetry and I could smell the herbs and taste the tart lemon on my tongue.

After reading this I googled Eliza and Ann and their book. They introduced spaghetti! And Brussel Sprouts.

Very well written!

NetGalley/October 26th, 2021 by William Morrow Paperbacks