Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Murder with Ganache

Author: Lucy Burdette
Genre: Light (cozy) mystery
Pages: 320
Type: Paperback
Source: directly from author
Series: #4 in the Key West Food Critic mystery series
Publisher: Signet
First Published: February 4, 2014
First Line: "Faster than a speeding KitchenAid mixer, I scraped the freshly squeezed lime juice and lime zest into the bowl and beat the batter into a creamy pale green."

Book Description from GoodReadsHayley Snow, the food critic for Key Zest magazine, has her plate heaped high with restaurant reviews, doughnut and sticky bun tastings, and an article on the Hemingway cats. But this week she’s also in charge of her best friend’s wedding. And then someone adds a side of murder…

For better or worse, Hayley has agreed to bake over 200 cupcakes for her friend Connie’s wedding while still meeting her writing deadlines. The last thing she needs is family drama. But her parents come barreling down on the island like a category 3 hurricane and on their first night in town her stepbrother, Roby, disappears into the spring break party scene in Key West.

When Hayley hears that two teenagers have stolen a jet ski, she sets aside her oven mitts and goes in search of Rory. She finds him, barely conscious, but his female companion isn’t so lucky. Now Hayley has to let the cupcakes cool and assemble the sprinkles of clues to clear her stepbrother’s name—before someone else gets iced.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to author Lucy Burdette for providing me with a paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: This is a cozy mystery with some good twists, a warmth in the relationships that you can connect with and delicious descriptions of food (with recipes at the end of the book t'boot).  Yup, this book (and series) has it all for the cozy mystery buff.

I'm not one to just jump into the middle of a series of books.  I hate that not knowing feeling about characters and larger story arcs so I was happy to receive not only this fourth book but Lucy Burdette's first book in her Key West Food Critic series, An Appetite for Murder, which I read and reviewed a few weeks ago.  I'm glad that I read the first book because it really gave me the background needed to really understand the relationships between the characters and where the larger story arcs began. 

Like the first book in the series, I enjoyed this latest installment too.  Hayley seems to have grown quite a bit from the first book in the series where she came off as a little naïve.  In Murder with Ganache Hayley is right there in the middle of everything - juggling family issues, work and even a murder.  She's grown up a lot over the past few books and now comes off as competent but still realistic as we see her struggle to maintain order in her complex life.  

While the murder aspect of the book was good I can't help but feel that Hayley's family drama took more centre stage than I was hoping.  A little more action would have been appreciated throughout the book.  That said, I love the dynamics between Hayley and her extended/step family.  Hayley's devotion to her family is clear and I like that there aren't clichéd characters (ie. the despised evil stepmother) and I really respect that.  The addition of the homeless characters as well as street kids into the plot were an interesting addition and socially conscious too.  Personally, I didn't miss the fact that Hayley's tarot card reader from the first book didn't make an appearance in this book.  I thought he felt a little out of place in the first book.

Overall, this is a solid series.  It has characters that you can care about, a good mystery and tasty recipes (that you can even try at home).  With the added oomph of action at the end of this book (that had me on the edge of my seat) I think that that makes for a very delicious series in my book.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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