A Key West Food Critic Mystery, No1
Jan 2012/ ISBN: 978-0-451-23551-0
by Laura Hinds
met the man of her dreams, and quickly left her New Jersey home
to follow him to Key West, Florida. Convinced her passionate relationship
was true love, she had a rude awakening when she found him in bed
with another woman. He kicked Hayley to the curb in short order,
along with most of her belongings. She picked herself up and moved
in with college friend, Connie, who had a tiny spare room on her
houseboat. Hayley·s cat took up residence too, and soon Hayley
found an opening for a job she really wanted -- that of a Food Critic
for a new magazine, Key Zest.
and another friend, Eric, go to Seven Fish Restaurant so she can
write a restaurant review to show her skills to the editor of Key
Zest they run into the jerk, Chad Lutz, who dumped her. To make
matters worse, he is with the 'other woman' Kristen Faulkner, who
just happens to be Hayley's potential new boss at Key Zest. The
next morning, Kristen is dead, murdered, and Hayley is the number
one person of interest.
Naturally, situations arise that make Hayley feel it is necessary
for her to solve the crime alone, since the police aren·t
looking any further than her. She even has a lousy lawyer who doesn't
believe in her innocence. Hayley blathers, bumbles, and makes one
bad decision after another. Could she possibly have the smarts to
find the killer?
Burdette also writes as Roberta Isleib, and I have really enjoyed
her previous work. However, this book annoyed me a great deal. There
were loose ends, albeit small ones, that were never tied up. For
example, after the houseboat Hayley is living on is ransacked, the
police instruct Haley and Connie to get new locks. Yet there is
never any mention of this again, unless I missed it entirely. The
protagonist, Hayley, knows she freezes up with writing deadlines,
yet she expects a career as a food critic? She has no source of
income that I could see, and while she does review downscale restaurants
to save money when writing audition reviews, she has $20 a week
to spend on tarot card readings from a street vendor and money to
buy food at an expensive bakery. She also buys food to cook at home
and to cook for friends. In particular, one situation bothered me.
Hayley is forced off the road in a borrowed car, then shot at and
the police have no leads on a suspect. Yet the next morning, Hayley
is right back out on the road on her usual mode of transport, a
scooter. She even debates wearing her safety helmet at one point.
By then I had decided that this character is one dim bulb.
We got through
most of the book without Hayley becoming attracted to Detective
Bransford, who is investigating the murder. That was a redeeming
feature for me, because it is so cliché. Sure enough, towards
the end, Hayley starts noticing how cute he is, and even agrees
to go out with him.
If you can
overlook some things that bothered me, (perhaps your willing suspension
of disbelief is stronger than mine) the murder mystery itself is
a good one. I didn't guess the final twist or who the killer was.
Both points in the book·s favor. If you are a die-hard fan
of Isleib, definitely read this book. I've read the preview of the
next book, and will read the entire book in September 2012 with
the hope that the author has matured Hayley and given her a rational
brain. One can always hope!
Reviews of other titles in this series
Appetite for Murder#1
In Four Courses #2
with Ganache #4
on the Menu #