Posts Tagged ‘Death in Four Courses’

Posted on August 24, 2014 - by

You Can Lead a Cat to Water by Lucy Burdette


Lucy Burdette (1985) with Jack the cat, model for Evinrude


A post written by Evinrude the cat, from Lucy Burdette‘s Key West food critic mysteries

You’ve probably heard it said that cats aren’t flexible; that we don’t travel well. I, Evinrude, handsome gray tiger, am here to say it all depends on how our people handle things. Take my person, Hayley Snow. First she pops off and moves us from New Jersey to Key West to live with some guy she hardly knows, who can’t stand cats because of our litter boxes. Believe me, there were plenty of other places I was thinking of going by the time we left his inhospitable home–like in his polished oxfords or his basket of clean laundry.

Anyway, I digress. Anyone with four feet and a tail could have told you that relationship wasn’t going to work out. So then she moved us to her friend Connie’s houseboat. After I got over the shock of me, Evinrude, a cat from Jersey, living on the water, I’ve gotten to enjoy the lifestyle. There was a murder of course (AN APPETITE FOR MURDER), and as one fan so kindly pointed out, it would have been nice if Hayley had looked a little harder when I went missing.

But now all is forgiven and we’re living on Miss Gloria’s houseboat (DEATH IN FOUR COURSES) with her pesky little cat Sparky. Don’t tell Hayley, but it’s kind of fun to have someone to pal around with. The only thing I don’t like about the whole Key West situation is how Hayley comes back from the sunset celebration all worked up about Dominque and his flying house cats. If she thinks I’m going to jump through flaming hoops for a little taste of sushi, let’s just say she’s meowing up the wrong tree.

How about you cats? Have your people put you through more than you should be expected to handle?

The Key West food critic mysteries featuring Evinrude the cat are available wherever books are sold. You can also follow Lucy on Twitter @lucyburdette, “like” her on Facebook, follow her on Pinterest

Posted on September 28, 2012 - by

Reviews and News

I’m delighted about the reviews that have been coming in for DEATH IN FOUR COURSES.

Here’s one from Phil Jason in the Florida Weekly: “I’ll say it unashamedly: “Death in Four Courses” is mouthwatering. Hay- ley Snow is delicious. This humor- seasoned food for thought will tickle your mental taste buds.”

And from Booklist: “This enjoyable mystery series, with its attractive tropical setting, is also seasoned by the appealing characters and meals. The novel, done in the style of the Joanne Fluke series, is sure to attract food-fiction fans and will also appeal to Key West readers, although the combination of the two here is unique.” Booklist

And from Story Circle Book Reviews: “By the second book, Hayley has settled into her role more, though we rarely see her at her computer and we agonize with her over looming deadlines. Then magically she turns in that stunning article. Would that it were that way in real life. Still Hayley and the series show growth, and I’m eagerly looking forward to Topped Chef, next up in the Hayley Snow series.

From Shirrel Rhoades in the Key West Citizen: “The Food Critic series may feature Key West cuisine but I’d compare these tasty books to Chinese food: After reading one, in a half hour you’ll be wanting to read another.”

And I have new recipes up on Mystery Lovers Kitchen–fried okra from me, and recipes for roach poison and cough remedy from my grandmother’s recipe box: here’s a photo of the recipe for poison, in my grandmother’s handwriting. I can’t help saying that the handwriting was on the wall that I’d become a mystery writer–way back in my gene pool:).

And here’s Screw the Roux stew, which is one of the dishes Hayley makes in DEATH IN FOUR COURSES. I guarantee this will turn out to be a family favorite.

And last but not least, Back to School Hotdog Casserole: (embarrassing to admit, but this one actually appeared in a cookbook!)

As always, happy reading and I will so appreciate anything you do to help spread the word about the food critic mysteries!

Posted on September 20, 2012 - by

Catching up with Lucy Burdette

DEATH IN FOUR COURSES is now officially launched! Here are some of the stops along the way. (And trust me-this last few weeks has been hectic!)

I enjoyed writing this piece about where ideas and books come from for the New Haven Register’s blog.

Here’s a fun interview done by Susan Boyer at Get Lost in a Story:

And Ed Irvin of the Florida Book Review said of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES: “In a crowded cozy market, Lucy Burdette’s Key West Food Critic series stands out among its peers.”
Mixed in among the book events and blogs over the last couple of weeks, I had great fun as part of the Sisters in Crime publishers summit team, chatting with publishing gurus across New York about where our industry is headed. Here’s a photo in the Penguin offices, with my editor at NAL, Sandy Harding, author Laura DiSilverio, Berkley editor Natalee Rosenstein, and me.



I also just completed the annual Seascape “Escape to Write” workshop in Chester CT with my fellow authors and teachers, Hallie Ephron and Hank Ryan. This weekend is a wonderful opportunity to meet with other serious aspiring mystery writers and work on a manuscript. We’ve already had our first reservation for next year’s workshop, September 27-29, 2013.

And just in case anyone’s interested in reconstructing the past (and who would be??), my Ph.D dissertation is now online.

Posted on September 6, 2012 - by

And there’s lift-off!

The book launch party for DEATH IN FOUR COURSES was a grand success! Thank you to RJ Julia Booksellers for hosting the night and to all my friends and fans for coming out to support me!


The ladies at the local Stop and Shop bakery made this fabulous cake, continuing the tradition…

And then all my friends below–it couldn’t have been a better evening!



Posted on September 4, 2012 - by


We admit, we’re sizzling over the release of the second Key West food critic mystery, DEATH IN FOUR COURSES. Here are a few of our favorite reviews so far:

“All the elements of a winning recipe: Key West, food and fun! The not-so-secret ingredients? Lucy Burdette’s exquisite plotting and sly prose set her apart. Death in Four Courses is a full course feast!”
~~Julia Spencer-Fleming, NYTBS author of ONE WAS A SOLDIER 

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY: “Near the start of Burdette’s yummy sequel to An Appetite for Murder, Key West food critic Hayley Snow brings her mother down from New Jersey for a visit… Outspoken Mom provides tart commentary as Hayley once again turns sleuth. Anyone who’s ever overpaid for a pretentious restaurant meal will relish this witty cozy.”

“What fun! ….Key West and food — a winning combination. I can’t wait for the next entry in this charming series.”
~~ New York Times bestselling author Diane Mott Davidson

“An excellent sense of place and the occasional humorous outburst aren’t the only things An Appetite for Murder has going for it, though: There is a solid mystery within its pages….Not only does Burdette capture the physical and pastoral essence of Key West, she celebrates the food.”
~~Ed Irvin, The Florida Book Review

To read about how I see the process of writing a book, here’s an essay on the New Haven Register’s book blog, hosted by the fabulous writer, Sandi Kahn Shelton.

And Susan Boyer’s terrific interview on Get Lost in a Story.

Did you know that early sales make a huge difference in whether a series is continued? Thanks for all your support–You can buy DEATH IN FOUR COURSES anywhere books are sold!

Barnes and Noble



Your local independent bookstore

Posted on September 1, 2012 - by

Counting Down: 2 Days to Blast-off!

I can hardly wait until Tuesday when the new book is officially released! Don’t forget to call RJ Julia Booksellers 203-245-3959 to either reserve a seat at the September 5 book party, or to have them send you a signed copy!

I loved coming across this review  of AN APPETITE FOR MURDER, from Hayley’s new fan, YA Book Nerd.

And see you soon! Lucy


Posted on August 30, 2012 - by


I can’t wait for Tuesday when DEATH IN FOUR COURSES will be in stores and out on shelves! Because of the Labor Day weekend, I’m launching the book today on Jungle Red Writers. I’ve told the story behind the story of the book–and we have a contest running!  Do leave a comment so your name will be placed into the drawing…if you’re thinking you’ll buy the book, remember that pre-orders make a huge difference when decisions are made about continuing a series-so thank you in advance!

I’ve posted discussion questions for DEATH IN FOUR COURSES right here:  If your book group would like to read this book as one of your selections, let me know-I’d be delighted to send out a batch of signed bookmarks. Or meet with you by Skype!

And because chocolate goes so well with reading, my namesake Lucille Burdette’s easy chocolate cake recipe can be found right here on MYSTERY LOVERS KITCHEN!

The book launch party for DIFC will be held at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison CT. If you’re in the area, I would love to see you there. There’s no charge but you can click here to reserve your seat.

Here’s an article about the new book from our local Connecticut paper, The Source:

And last but not least, I enjoyed writing this post for Lois Winston on my evolution as a culinary mystery writer. You might get a kick out of it too!

More coming soon! Love, Lucy

Posted on August 30, 2012 - by

Discussion Questions for Book Groups: DEATH IN FOUR COURSES


1.  Hayley has mixed feelings about inviting her mother to the food writing conference. Why? How does this affect your feelings about her a character?

2. The role of food in the families of the conference speakers varies widely. How was food seen in your family? Who cooked the meals and what were they like? How has that history affected your relationship with food today?

3. What is your favorite recipe? Cookbook? Do you prefer to stick to old standbys or are you adventurous in cooking and eating?

4. How has Hayley changed since AN APPETITE FOR MURDER? Or hasn’t she? What would her best friends Eric and Connie say?

5. Hayley is surprised by her mother in several ways over the course of the book. Have you had an experience where someone close to you does something unexpected? Do you think this happened because you had a certain view of them that proved to be incorrect or because they actually changed?

6. Hayley’s friend Eric says “At first it might feel good to confess, but honesty can have terrible consequences for the people who have to hear the so-called honest truth. ” Do you agree? why or why not? How can we decide when telling the truth will cause more damage than good?

7. How does Hayley see her mother’s life choices at the beginning of the book? How does that change?

8. Which of the fictional speakers’ books would you be interested in reading? Which might you want to have at your book group meeting–and why?

Posted on August 13, 2012 - by


When Madison, CT resident Roberta Isleib began writing a mystery about a lady pro golfer back in 1999, she never imagined she’d have ten books published in ten years. DEATH IN FOUR COURSES, the second installment in Isleib’s Key West food critic mystery series, will be published by NAL/Penguin on September 4. Isleib is writing her new series using the pen name Lucy Burdette, borrowed from her maternal grandmother.  The books feature Hayley Snow, an aspiring food critic and amateur sleuth living in America’s southernmost island paradise.

The new book is set at the annual Key West Loves Literature conference, which draws the biggest names in food writing from all over the country, and Haley Snow is there to catch a few fresh morsels of insider gossip. Superstar restaurant critic Jonah Barrows has already ruffled a few foodie feathers with his recent tell-all memoir, and as keynote speaker, he promises more of the same jaw-dropping honesty. But when Hayley discovers Jonah’s body in a nearby dipping pool, the cocktail hour buzz takes a sober turn, and Hayley finds herself at the center of attention—especially with the police. Now it’s up to her to catch the killer before she comes to her own bitter finish.

Publishers Weekly called DEATH IN FOUR COURSES a “yummy sequel” and said: “Anyone who’s ever overpaid for a pretentious restaurant meal will relish this witty cozy.”

TOPPED CHEF, the third book in the Key West series, is scheduled for a May 2013 release. Isleib’s first mystery series included 5 books featuring Cassie Burdette, an aspiring golf professional.  Isleib’s Advice Column series featured Rebecca Butterman, a fictional psychologist who lived in Guilford near the Stone House restaurant with a private practice in New Haven. Isleib’s books and short stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She is a past-president of Sisters in Crime, a national organization founded to support women crime fiction writers.

Isleib will appear at RJ Julia’s Booksellers on September 5 at 7 pm to launch DEATH IN FOUR COURSES. Call 203-245-3959 to reserve a seat.

Posted on July 8, 2012 - by

Lucy’s Recipe Round-Up

I realized that since joining the wonderful mystery writer/recipe blog Mystery Lovers Kitchen, I’ve been lax about posting recipes to this blog. But I have been cooking–and eating–so here I’ve gathered a few of my favorites.

Good for anything granola–I call it that because I’ve served it everywhere from a wedding brunch to a sailboat and it’s always popular!

I served these scalloped potatoes at our bi-monthly supper club–they were rated swoonworthy, even if not on anyone’s diet.

These stuffed mushrooms are an oldie but goodie–an easy appetizer that’s a step up from cheese and crackers.

My mother-in-law loves these stuffed peppers. In fact the whole family does too!

When we go out to an Italian restaurant, guaranteed either my husband or I will order the broccoli rabe. Here’s my version–easy and good for a family supper.

Don’t forget this strawberry-rhubarb coffee cake–it’s one of the recipes coming in DEATH IN FOUR COURSES–September!

I’m a huge sucker for sesame noodles, but this recipe is my favorite outside of what you get in a Chinese restaurant.

I know it’s not exactly pea soup season, but bookmark this for the fall–pea soup and cornbread, couldn’t be better on a cold night!


New recipes are posted every day of the week on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, from my fellow writers Krista Davis, Avery Aames, Ellery Adams, Cleo Coyle, Sheila Connolly, Wendy Watson, and Peg Cochran, plus lots of guests too. Please stop by! And we’ve got less than two months to go before the publication of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES! If you haven’t already, I’d love to have you follow me on Twitter, or facebook, or Pinterest.