A fun-packed mystery with food for thought and thought for food

A Deadly Feast, by Lucy Burdette. Crooked Lane. 228 pages. Hardcover $26.99.

It may be that calling a book and its main character “delightful” does not seem like a term of high praise. However, how much in our lives is delightful? How often might we wish to be delighted? Like its eight predecessors, this latest title in the “Key West Food Critic Mystery” series will put a smile on your face while keeping you engaged with suspenseful plot details and the charms of idiosyncratic Key West.

Exuberant, curious, and good-natured Hayley Snow is the restaurant columnist for Key Zest magazine, and as readers now expect, doing her job is likely to lead her into trouble. She is covering a seafood tasting tour orchestrated by her friend Analise, an event meant to show off Key West cuisine, when things go wrong. One of the customers mysteriously dies while feasting at the tour’s last stop. Analise enlists Hayley’s help, and the game is on.

It’s not that Hayley has nothing else to do but go sleuthing. On the schedule is a special Thanksgiving celebration tied to Hayley’s marriage to her handsome, protective beau Nathan – a police detective stressed out by a dangerous case he’s working on, the impending marriage, and the need to meet many of Hayley’s relatives for the first time.

Lucy Burdette / photo credit Carol Tedesco

So, we have a recipe for stress and mayhem.

Oh, one more thing: Hayley and Nathan are hoping to have a houseboat restored in time to move into soon after the wedding. As is so often the case with such endeavors, things are not going well and contractors are not showing up to meet the schedule.

Was the victim killed by something she ate at that last tour stop? Did something go wrong with chef Marsha Hubbard’s Key Lime pie – her virtuoso signature item? Is Marsha’s career doomed? Was the event – and the pie – sabotaged? Will the restaurant’s reputation collapse?

And then there’s a second death!

The police, including Nathan, are on the case, and the lovers have their usual conflict over Hayley’s need to get involved and Nathan’s need to keep her safe and perform like the professional that he is.

It’s all about friends, relatives, food, excitement, and danger. Readers will enjoy the spunky Miss Gloria, who has shared her houseboat with Kayley and is a “poster girl” for active, insightful octogenarians. Lorenzo the Tarot Card guru is another loveable Key Wester. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the August 21, 2019 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the August 22  Charlotte County and Venice editions, and the August 29 Naples  edition, click here: DeadlyFeast

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