Books


Posted on July 24, 2015 - by

The Latest Press on FATAL RESERVATIONS

Lucy celebrates at RJ Julia Booksellers with a Fatal Reservations Cake

Lucy celebrates at RJ Julia Booksellers with a Fatal Reservations Cake

So happy to report that sales are going well with FATAL RESERVATIONS–and even more important, reviewers are delighted with the book.

With no further ado, here’s what they’re saying about FATAL RESERVATIONS:

Complete with a clever plot, a cast of familiar and amiable characters, a buffet of food and all the wackiness of Key West, “Fatal Reservations” displays Burdette at peak form and whets the appetite for Hayley’s next case.–Jay Stafford, Richmond Times-Dispatch

 

Final Thoughts: Reserve your time to read this series, it’s delightful. Fatal Reservations digs into the community to create an entertaining book full of characters that jump off the page and mouth-watering food.  Jennifer Rummel, YA BookNerd

 

Fatal Reservations is a fast paced, well plotted mystery full of quirky characters and local color. Between the setting, the guilt-free pleasure of reading about amazing food, and the cats, this has become one of my favorite mystery series. Ingrid King, The Conscious Cat

 

Hayley’s knowledge of the psychology behind diners’ choices is just the final seasoning on this fun, smartly plotted mystery. Cynthia Chow, Kings River Life

 

Burdette is clearly on a roll here — like her most recent two books in the series, Death With All the Trimmings  and Murder With Ganache, FATAL RESERVATIONS is tightly plotted, quick-paced, and full of unforgettable characters, dead and alive. Beth Kanell, Kingdom Books

You can buy the book wherever books are sold!


Posted on May 6, 2015 - by

What I’m Writing @LucyBurdette

 

LUCY BURDETTE: You wouldn’t believe the things I do in the name of research. Last fall, we arrived in Key West earlier than usual–October–so I could observe the wildest festival of the year–Fantasy Fest. Even after the week was over, I couldn’t pretend to understand the grand appeal of walking up and down Duval Street basically naked except for creative body paint. But hey, it makes for a fabulous backdrop–though sorting through what can go into a cozy mystery from this week of events was a bit challenging.

But John and I promptly signed up to train as Fantasy Fest parade ambassadors, and I ordered tutus in several colors (the men got camo tutus, including Tonka,) and made appointments for face-painting for the Zombie bike ride.

So that’s the book I’m writing now! Without further ado, here’s the opening for KILLER TAKEOUT, coming to bookshelves next April:

–>

KILLER TAKEOUT: Chapter One
Resident islanders couldn’t remember a hotter Key West summer. Not only hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, they agreed, but hot enough to crisp bacon, too. So far, the advent of fall was bringing no relief. Today’s temperature registered 93° and climbing–fierce-hot for October, with the humidity dense like steam from my grandmother’s kettle. And the local news anchor promised it would get hotter as the week continued, along with the party on Duval Street.

 

Me? I’d rather eat canned sardines from China then march down Key West’s Duval Street wearing not much more than body paint. But 100,000 out-of-town revelers didn’t agree. They were arriving on the island this week to do just that—or watch it happen—during Fantasy Fest, the celebration taking place during the ten days leading up to Halloween, including a slew of adult-themed costume parties culminating in a massive and rowdy parade.

 

Worse of all, the Weather Channel was tracking the path of a tropical storm in the Eastern Caribbean. They had already begun to mutter semi-hysterical recommendations: Visitors should prepare to head up the Keys to the mainland and take refuge in a safer area. But based on the crowds I’d seen, no one was listening. These hordes weren’t leaving until the event was over. Besides, with a four-hour drive to Miami on a good traffic day, getting all those people out would be like trying to squeeze ketchup back into a bottle. Might as well party.
Since no right-minded local resident would attempt to get near a restaurant this week, I had fewer food critic duties at my workplace, the style magazine, Key Zest. I was looking forward to covering some of the tamer Fantasy Fest events for the magazine, including the Zombie bike ride, the locals’ parade, and a pet masquerade contest. And since restaurants are my beat, I’d promised my bosses an article on reliable takeout food too. If that didn’t keep me busy enough, my own mother, Janet Snow, and Sam, her fiance, were arriving for the week to visit with my dear friend Connie’s new baby, and then get themselves hitched on the beach.

 

In a weak moment, I’d allowed Miss Gloria, my geriatric houseboat-mate, to talk me into being trained as a Fantasy Fest parade ambassador. Our job would be to help patrol the sidewalks, which would be lined with costumed and tipsy revelers scrambling for the colored glass bead necklaces thrown off the floats.

 

“If we aren’t going to go to the foam party, or the Adam and Eve bash, or the Tighty Whitey party, we should at least attend the parade,” Miss Gloria said.

 

I closed my eyes to ward off the image of my elderly friend at any of those events.

 

“And if we’re working as ambassadors, we’ll be stationed inside the crowd control barricades. We’ll have the best seat in the house. Get it? Seat.” She broke into helpless giggles.


            At the time, the idea seemed palatable. Barely.

Meanwhile, FATAL RESERVATIONS will be on bookshelves July 7. But you can pre-order it now!

Posted on February 15, 2015 - by

Here’s What They’re Saying About DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS

Burdette infuses the mystery with Key West spirit and holiday fun along with delicious food references and recipes. This strong series continues a unique blend of island mayhem and sparkling characters surrounding a layered mystery. Fans of Julie Hyzy and Laura Childs may also enjoy.
— Amy Alessio, Booklist December 2114

From Fresh Fiction: DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is just sheer fun. This is my first time reading the Lucy Burdette series, but I’ve already downloaded the first book to my Kindle as I want to visit more with the quirky and oh-so-likeable characters. The twists and turns keep the reader guessing until the very end as Lucy Burdette serves up a spectacular mystery.

A contemporary comedy of manners sprinkled with gastronomical glitter, delectable danger and good will, Death with All the Trimmings is delightful. Phil Jason, Florida Weekly

Burdette successfully blends murder with menus, furthers Hayley’s development and paints a loving portrait of Key West’s wackiness, including the town’s annual Dachshund Parade and the appearance of a Chihuahua flash mob. Her mix of food, felonies and fun is a tasty seasonal treat. Jay Strafford, The Richmond Times Dispatch

As the beleaguered chef in “Death with All the Trimmings” tells her staff: “Never forget the people who will be eating the dishes we prepare. They are what matters — they are eating the products of our care and love. If we cook with that in mind, our customers will feel it in their hearts.” Change this language to reflect novel-writing, and this is what Burdette does — she creates a product of care and love for her readers.  JennyKales.wordpress.com

“Like a spiked glass of eggnog or s’mores over a cold night’s cozy fire, Death with All the Trimmings is a holiday treat that any book lover should be pleased to find stuffed in their stocking or neatly wrapped beneath the tree.” Florida Book Review 
“Hayley may be a foodie, but she’s no snob: Burdette treats readers to mouthwatering descriptions of both elegant restaurant meals and take-out Cuban sandwiches. Burdette also includes recipes for six dishes featured in the story, including Scarlett O’Hara Cupcakes and spaghetti Bolognese. Juicy, entertaining and twisty without being gruesome, this is a perfect seasonal treat for readers who love both a turkey dinner and a good mystery.” —Katie Noah Gibson, Shelf Awareness, and blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

I love when a book keeps me on edge and this one had me going right to the end. This fast paced and action-filled drama quickly became a page-turner, as I had to know what happens next. All the main characters had a role in this latest caper as Hayley’s search for the culprit hits a little bit closer to home. The author does a wonderful job in bringing Key West alive through her and Hayley’s eyes that puts me smack dab in the middle of all the action. This was a great read boasting great conversations, a lovable cast of characters, a feel-good atmosphere, and a warm and friendly place to visit and I can’t wait to see what Hayley and her friends next adventures are in this delightfully charming and entertaining series.  Dru’s Book Musings

The pace of the book keeps readers moving from one event to the next without any lag time to get bored. It is a delightfully fulfilling read, although you might end it hungry.  Story Circle Book Reviews

Although the series is technically a “cozy” — no foul language or explicit sex, killings that take place offstage — the Burdette books have a sophisticated tone that separate them from the pack. She includes subplots, such as editor Wally coping with his mother’s cancer, that never overshadow the mystery, but deepen our affection for the wonderful cast of characters who surround Hayley.” Joe Meyers,  CT Post


Posted on November 17, 2014 - by

What I’m Writing @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: After I describe what I’ve been up to, you might wonder that I’ve written anything in the last two months.

As you know by now, DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be published on December 2. (Pre-order link right here!) The modern way to publicize a new book, especially a cozy mystery, seems to be the blog tour. So I’ve been writing blogs—lots of them—about Christmas in Key West, writing a foodie character, why I love cozy mysteries, and a day in the life of Hayley Snow, just to name a few.

Lucy Burdette and John Talbot

Three of us Reds also had a fantastic long weekend at the New England Crimebake, a conference founded to celebrate crime fiction, especially from New England. I had the honor of co-teaching a class with agent John Talbot on writing and selling the mystery series, doing manuscript critiques for aspiring writers, and attending many wonderful panels.

Angelos Pompano, Lucy, Craig Johnson, Chris Falcone

We all enjoyed the folksy humor and good nature of our guest of honor, Craig Johnson.

And then we wrung out our tension by learning line dances in our best Western garb! That’s me in the cow skirt, with Hank and her hub, the hanging judge. He’s such a good sport…

Lucy with Lorenzo, aka Ron

But woven around all these activities, I’ve been working on the sixth food critic mystery, called FATAL RESERVATIONS. I tried to take a little of my own writing advice, LOL, and think deep and long about Hayley’s stake in a sixth mystery. Why would it be her business to get involved in solving yet one more crime? Why does she care? And who would listen to a food critic’s suggestions about clues and suspects anyway? The answer came from finding one of her Key West friends in trouble—Lorenzo, who reads tarot cards at the sunset celebration every night on Mallory Square. Here’s a little snippet:

A noisy rustling burst out in the audience and the man with the palm frond hat staggered up toward the podium, shouting. “You people have been looking for any excuse to take over. Damn it, this is none of your business! The trouble with the Artistic Damn Preservation Society is right here in this room.” He spun around to point a shaky finger at a tall man several rows behind me: my friend, the tarot card reader. Lorenzo.
“You need to sit down or you’ll be removed from the premises,” said Commissioner Greenleigh. But the palm hat man darted down the center aisle, heading for Lorenzo. He flung himself across two startled women and circled his hands around my friend’s neck. Lieutenant Torrence and a uniformed cop yanked him off Lorenzo, whipped his hands behind his back, and cuffed them. He fought and cursed as they ushered him out of the room and down the stairs.
“Are you all right, sir?” the mayor asked Lorenzo.
“I think so.” Pulling a white handkerchief from his pants pocket, he patted his face and neck, now mottled red, and smoothed his hair.
“If you’re able to speak, sir, it’s your turn at the microphone,” said the mayor.
Lorenzo nodded, adjusted his collar, and came forward. By dress alone, he stood out from most everyone in attendance: long-sleeved white shirt, high-waisted black pants, black tie. All very proper and distinguished. But his face shone in the spotlight and large damp circles spread from his underarms to the body of his shirt. He looked very hot. And rattled.

And that’s only the beginning of his troubles…

Before I get back to working on the story, I can’t help sharing this advance review of DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, from Booklist:

Burdette infuses the mystery with Key West spirit and holiday fun along with delicious food references and recipes. This strong series continues a unique blend of island mayhem and sparkling characters surrounding a layered mystery. Fans of Julie Hyzy and Laura Childs may also enjoy.

Readers, picture me dancing…


Posted on November 8, 2014 - by

Surviving the Holidaze @LucyBurdette #recipe

Blog by Dr. Rebecca Butterman from Roberta Isleib’s (aka Lucy Burdette’s) advice column mysteries

My name is Dr. Rebecca Butterman. I’m a psychologist and I also write an advice column for the brokenhearted readers of Bloom! magazine. Family dysfunction? I know about this both professionally and personally LOL.

And don’t you find that the holiday season sometimes makes problems feel worse? Hollywood movies and Norman Rockwell paintings twist us up by having us believe that everything should be perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s and Hanukkah. The holidaze, I like to call them.  You pull together full-grown members of a family and put them in close contact for days—they are going to fall back into ugly, old patterns. I promise you that!

Even my friends at our picture-perfect church on the town green aren’t exempt from problems. I found that out recently when our minister called me at midnight to talk about the death and possible murder of another church member. Whoa! And naturally, he wants me to help figure things out.

Some people wonder how I—being a professional—handle my stress. One of my favorite distractions is cooking. It doesn’t have to be fancy, as long as it’s good old-fashioned comfort food.

Here’s my easy recipe for baked apples, which will make your house smell like you’ve scored the best of Christmas. And make your stomach happy and turn your heart in that direction, too.

This recipe serves two, but it’s easy to double or triple it up.

Ingredients:

Two of your favorite apples (I like Mcintosh or Macoun)
2 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 tablespoons rolled oats
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Half a teaspoon cinnamon

Core the apples, making sure not to cut all the way through to the bottom. In a small bowl, mix the butter, oats, sugar, and cinnamon well. Divide the mixture into two parts and stuff into the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes in a 350 oven, until the filling is crispy and bubbling, and the apples soft. You can add ice cream or whipped cream if you wish, but I find these apples are perfect by themselves.

The first advice column mystery, DEADLY ADVICE, is also available as an ebook. And Lucy Burdette’s fifth Key West mystery, DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be in bookstores December 2. You can preorder it now!

More breaking news! If you *forgot* to buy your ebook copy of AN APPETITE FOR MURDER, it’s on sale for $1.99 through the weekend!

Here’s the Amazon link, and here’s the link for Barnes and Noble.


Posted on October 25, 2014 - by

Trouble in Paradise #KeyWest

 

by Lieutenant Steve Torrence from Lucy Burdette‘s Key West food critic mysteries


People seem to have this idea that cops in paradise (the island of Key West in this case) have an easy life. Shovel in a couple of doughnuts, walk along the beach, drink a cup of Cuban coffee, ride our (fill in the blank) cruiser/bike/horse up and down Duval Street–plum assignment right?

What they probably don’t know is that our little island gets a couple million visitors a year. That’s right, a couple million. Spring breakers, New Year’s Eve revelers, FantasyFest attendees–we’ve got a party for every occasion and all the trouble that goes along with that.

We attract a lot of homeless “tourists” too. And believe me, our residents and visitors don’t care to see those folks on the streets. They don’t want to see them panhandling or drinking or sleeping or worse…it’s a delicate balancing act, keeping the peace.

 

The real Steve Torrence

I have a little extra on my plate too, in the form of a new island resident named Hayley Snow. She’s a nice kid, with a nice family–and I’m glad I was able to help out with her brother this spring. But she scares me–she’s gotten the idea that she notices things the way a cop might. And she takes that further than she should.

 

How many ways can I think of to say “stay of out of it” in a nice way? Got any ideas about how to get the message across so she stays safe?


Add caption

MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West mystery, is in stores now!

DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be out on December 2, but you can pre-order wherever books are sold…

Follow Lucy on Facebook

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And Pinterest.


Posted on October 20, 2014 - by

Killer Menus in #KeyWest @LucyBurdette

by Edel Waugh from Lucy Burdette‘s Key West food critic mystery, Death with All the Trimmings
  

You’ll hear the whole story in December, but let me say that starting a new restaurant is a killer proposition. So far, Key West feels even harder than New York City, if you can believe that. Here’s my theory: Established eateries don’t welcome newcomers who can cook circles around them. People don’t like it when someone else is in the limelight. A chef who can cook both new dishes and old standbys better than anyone else on the island is considered a threat. And when people feel threatened, they lash out.

Photo by Jay DeFehr

You know what’s been the hardest? Finding good help. Maybe you’ve heard what they say about this southernmost island: Turn the state of Florida on its end and and shake it hard. All the loose nuts fall down to Key West.

I did manage to bring down some of my people from New York City, because I know I can rely on them. Even so, bad things are happening in my kitchen. And no, I can’t take it to the police. I can’t afford one sentence of lousy publicity. That old saw “any publicity is good publicity”doesn’t work for a restaurant. One hint of cockroaches or spoiled fish or food poisoning, and the amateur food critics will be all over the Internet dissing the Bistro on the Bight.

The best I can do is try to cultivate my employees’ loyalty, and make them see that if I succeed, they succeed. And the only way I know to do that is by example–cooking like I’m on fire. Tonight I’m trying to win them over by serving my grandmother’s recipe for Bolognese sauce at the family meal. Do you think that will help?

If that doesn’t work, I may call that food critic, Hayley Snow…people say she’s good at nosing out a mystery…

DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be on bookshelves on December 2. But you can pre-order it now:

Independent bookstores

Barnes and Noble

Amazon


Posted on October 15, 2014 - by

Like a Little #Romance in Your #Mystery?

LUCY BURDETTE: DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS comes out on December 2, so I’m obviously not working on that. Other projects have surfaced of course…

In the early days of my marriage to John (when most things were still mysterious,) one of the biggest mysteries about my husband was this: What in the world he could possibly be discussing with his buddies over a 4 to 5 hour golf round several times a week?

So I asked him. What do you talk about?

His answer?

Relationships.

Even a new wife couldn’t argue with that!

And that’s what I’m writing about now in the sixth Key West food critic mystery, which will be called FATAL RESERVATIONS, and will come out next July. Hooray! Did I forget to mention that I signed a contract for two more books in the series?
Anyway, back in the third book, TOPPED CHEF, I thought I had figured out the relationships in Hayley Snow’s life. But it turned out, I wasn’t feeling the zing between her new detective boyfriend and her. So I looked around to see who else might come into the picture. And I’ve been heading in that direction ever since.

Until I got a fan email from Sue P. last week that made me question, well, everything…

I recently found this series and love it. I do have a complaint though. I was just getting interested to see how the romance would work out between Hayley and her detective. And you bring back his ex and she gets dumped! I was not a happy camper at this development. I still would like to see where this would go, more so than with her boss, which is where you seem to be leading. I think she needs a challenge and this is not her boss. Bring him back!! Just my opinion. Thanks.

So like I said, I’m puzzling over relationships…here’s a snippet from FATAL RESERVATIONS:

Fifteen minutes later, I climbed the very steep steps to the Old City Hall building, an imposing red brick structure with ornate black railings and a bell tower. For a hundred years, the city commission had been meeting here on Greene Street, a half block from Sloppy Joe’s bar and the chaos of Duval Street. I doubted that visitors had any idea how much city business was conducted while they swilled beer and shouted choruses of Buffet’s Margaritaville and Kenny Chesney’s Key West theme song No shirt, no shoes, no problems.

The hall was cavernous, handsome, and clearly set out to differentiate the commissioners and city staff from any interested onlookers. A text from Wally buzzed in, reminding me to turn off the ringer on my cell phone.

Let me know outcome tomorrow? Mom’s chemo was brutal today. I’m going to watch a marathon of Breaking Bad and then crash. See you a.m.at staff meeting.

As my relationship with Wally took a turn for the better over the last couple of months, his mother’s health had taken a turn for the worse. In that sense, our new half-owner Palamina Wells had been a godsend. She was smart enough to step right in and run the day to day nitty-gritty details of Key Zest while Wally took care of his mom. She was also smart enough to recognize the attraction between me and Wally, and to remove me from reporting directly to him, so we could see where this love train might take us.

All I can say is, stay tuned to see where this is going. And thanks Sue!


Posted on October 4, 2014 - by

Schnootie the Schnauzer Has Her Say #cozy #mystery

 

Schnootie with her family

by Schnootie the Schnauzer and Evinrude the cat from Lucy Burdette’s Key West food critic mysteries

Schnootie: “Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, bacon, woof, woof. Woof, woof, Evinrude. Woof, woof, woof, Santa, woof woof! Damn cat!

Evinrude: “That dumb dog can’t even speak English. And she gets riled up in the flick of a cat’s tail. I think she’s trying to tell you that she has a big part in the next book. I’ll show you–big deal.”

Evinrude looking fierce

From DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, coming December 2:

Schnootie began to bark furiously and flung herself to the end of her leash. She choked and sputtered and started to bark again.

Mr. Renhart, who had been sleeping in a hammock on their boat, struggled to sit up, finally tipping out of the sling and slamming onto the deck. “Shut up, damn dog!” he yelped.

Mrs. Renhart rushed out to check on the commotion.

“What’s the problem, silver beastie?” she asked as she scooped up the dog and buried her nose in her fur. “Did Daddy scare you?”

Mr. Renhart struggled to his feet, scowling, and stomped back indoors. Schnootie tried to wiggle out of her arms, still barking. Mrs. Renhart looked over at us.

“Schnootie,” she said, “it’s only Santa’s elves. Were you a good doggie this year? Mommy’s going to take you to the drag bar later to have your picture taken with Santa and those great big pretty ladies.” She cracked a huge smile. “That’s going to be our Christmas card photo this year.”

Miss Gloria burst out laughing. I bit my lip to keep from joining her, not wanting to hurt our neighbor’s feelings. But Schnootie posing with drag queens? I started to giggle.

“Anyway, so sorry about all the ruckus,” Mrs. Renhart said. “Schnootie didn’t recognize you in those outfits. She must have thought you were men. She doesn’t even like Mr. R., especially since he’s started growing that silly beard.” 
She ducked her chin at the door through which her outraged husband had retreated.

Schnootie wasn’t the only one with mixed feelings about Mr. Renhart.

Still chuckling, Miss Gloria and I both removed our hats and the dog quieted immediately. Mrs. Renhart motioned good-bye with Schnootie’s paw and returned to her houseboat’s cabin.

DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS is available for pre-order at your favorite independent bookstore, or Barnes and Noble, or Amazon, or wherever books are sold!


Posted on September 28, 2014 - by

Best Fudge #Recipe for #Bookclubs


LUCY BURDETTE: At least once a year, we have Book Club Week at one of my group blogs, Mystery Lovers Kitchen. I love book clubs–love belonging and love visiting. And I love recommending books for clubs to consider:). This time around I suggested MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth in the Key West food critic mystery series.

As you probably already know, MWG is a cozy mystery starring Hayley Snow, a food critic who lives on a houseboat in Key West. Her extended family is descending on the island like a category 3 hurricane for her best friend’s wedding. When her stepbrother disappears into the spring break party scene, she must put the baking of cupcakes and other wedding chores on hold in order to search for her brother. The book features Hemingway cats, and cupcakes, and wedding drama, but in the end it’s about finding and embracing family in whatever form they come.

If you are going to choose MURDER WITH GANACHE for one of your book club selections this year (and I hope you will–I love this book, and there are so many things to talk about), as the hostess, you must resign yourself to providing something chocolate.

You might choose hot fudge pie or chocolate cake, both swoon-worthy, but here is an easy alternative. This recipe began as Chocolate Nutella Fudge from the Tasty Kitchen–until I read the list of ingredients on the Nutella package. At that point, thinking there must be something better, I searched for a substitute, and found an organic chocolate-hazelnut spread that is really quite incredible.

Nocciolato Fudge

Ingredients

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (make these good quality, as it will show)
1 cup Nocciolato (organic chocolate-hazelnut Spread–I used the whole 9.5 oz jar)
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon sea salt or pink salt

To make the fudge:

Line an 8 by 8 inch pan with two layers of parchment paper, overlap on the sides.

In a stainless steel bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, chocolate chips, hazelnut spread, and butter.

Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. (The pan should not touch the water.)

Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.

Scrape the mixture into the papered pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with sea salt. (I would have used some of Krista’s pink sea salt if I’d had it on hand–so pretty!)

Refrigerate until the fudge is firm, at least 2 hours. Lift the fudge out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut the fudge into bite-sized pieces and arrange on a pretty plate. Store leftovers (if there are any) in an airtight container in the fridge. This can also be made ahead and frozen.

As for what to discuss while enjoying the fudge, here are some questions to get things going:

1. Hayley’s mother says that “life develops around the kitchen table” and that “kids need to understand how food connects the people in their lives.” Hayley’s stepmom insists that life develops at work–who cares whether a mother uses a cake mix or serves macaroni from a box? Where would you stand in this argument?

2. Hayley’s parents have a disagreement about social justice on the way to the marina. How do you feel about the homeless people as presented in the book? Have you had any personal experience with homeless folks?

3. When Hayley’s brother Rory gets into trouble, the family struggles with how much to tell the police. They wonder whose side the cops are on. How do you think you might react in a similar situation? Would you trust the police to have your interests at heart?

4. Hayley says “Food meant comfort and love and even peace in my family.” If you had to sum it up, what would you say food meant to your family?

5. Hayley tells Rory “I’ve discovered that family has less to do with biology than it does with who cares enough to make the effort.” Does this statement ring true for you? Talk about a person who isn’t a blood relation in your life who feels like family.

6. When spirits are low, Hayley and her mom make comfort food for the extended family–spanakopita and Greek salad and strawberry whipped cream pie. What menu would you design to cheer up a troubled family member or friend?

 If you’d like to read some of the reviews on MURDER WITH GANACHE, you can do that right here. I was completely delighted this spring, when Woman’s World magazine selected MURDER WITH GANACHE as a pick for a foodie book club. As you can see in the photo, they also recommended reading with a daiquiri in hand:).  Sounds like a good idea, right? Recipe here.

And, if you think your book club might like signed postcards from the Key West mysteries, leave a comment today with your email.

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mystery series. DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS will be on bookshelves on December 2. You can preorder it now, from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite independent bookstore.

Follow Lucy on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

DEADLY ADVICE, the first advice column mystery (written as Roberta Isleib) is finally available as an ebook.



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