Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Reviewed by: Dez Nemec
Fiction Addict Scorecard: B
Hayley Snow is a food critic living in Key West, FL. In addition to her writing responsibilities at Key Zest Magazine, she has agreed to help her mother’s catering company. When she lands a big gig (the Havana/Key West Conference) it’s just what her mother’s fledgling business needs to boost her bookings. The three-day event is booked at the Harry Truman Little White House. But it’s not all clear skies. Right off the start, the Havana dignitaries and Key West council members bicker and argue among themselves. Then Ernest Hemingway’s Nobel Prize gold medal (which left Cuba for the sole purpose of being displayed during the conference) goes missing. The Cuban VIPs are wholly enraged at the loss of the precious medal.
Despite the missing medal, the opening party commences. A few big names kick off the event including Jimmy Buffett, Barack Obama, and Diana Nyad. Just as dessert is about to be served, a scream erupts from the kitchen. Maria, one of the cooks, has just found her brother stabbed in the closet. Hayley has a few articles to write, catering to do, and murder to solve.
While I haven’t read all the Key West Food Critic mysteries, I have read most of them and enjoyed them quite a bit. This is a solid, entertaining series. Plus, the books can stand on their own. This book has a lot more of the history of Key West than most of the others, which may or may not appeal to some. It is not burdened with too much information, however, as part of the history does apply to the story. It’s always nice when the history isn’t simply gratuitous information being overloaded on the reader.
Overall, the mystery was interesting, the characters fun and charming. There was a lovely little surprise at the end which I won’t spoil but I thought was a great touch. Plus, I just got what appears to be a good Black Bean Soup recipe out of the back. What more can one ask for?!