Posts Tagged ‘Lucy Burdette’


Posted on September 21, 2019 - by

Shoreline AAUW Scholarship Luncheon

Lucy will be the luncheon speaker for the CT Shoreline AAUW scholarship fundraiser on November 2. There will be a short interactive mystery, delicious food, good books, and a great cause! Click here for more information and tickets: https://shoreline-ct.aauw.net/


Posted on September 1, 2019 - by

New England Library Association, Sisters in Crime booth


Posted on August 31, 2018 - by

The Chugs of Key West

LUCY BURDETTEAbout 10 years ago my sister and her husband were visiting us in Key West, but had taken two days to camp on the nearby Dry Tortugas National Park. My sister called me from the boat on the way back. 


“You’d better get over to the dock quickly,” she said, “we picked up a group of Cuban refugees.” 

Photo from Wikipedia

We hurried over. The refugees were huddled on the bow of the boat, faces impassive, dressed in clothing and blankets loaned by the staff of the Yankee Freedom. Who knows how long they’d been at sea, and on what craft? And it was chilly! A group of their relatives had gotten the word about their rescue and gathered on the dock. The tears and the joy were amazing to witness.

Since Key West is only ninety miles from Havana, we hear a lot about the island and many Key Westers have an intense curiosity about Cuba and what life might be like for its inhabitants. Up until 2014, when the wet-foot, dry-foot policy (in which Cubans who reached the US were allowed to stay,) changed in the Obama era, frequently we heard news stories about Cubans who attempted to reach the US in a variety of homemade, unseaworthy vessels— even windsurfers—with some disastrous results. Many of these crafts are on display at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden on Stock Island. I’ll show you a few–hope you get a sense of the shakiness!

When I wove some of that backstory and conflict into DEATH ON THE MENU, I had no idea that immigration would become such a national hot button issue. But whatever a person might think about the special Cuban  policy that was in place for years, it seemed to me that it would be hard not to be moved by the dangerous attempts immigrants made crossing the Straits of Florida. 

I knew it might be considered risky to weave this subject into a cozy mystery, but it felt more impossible not to do so. Despite our differences in politics, I think we need to remember that the policies that governments make affect real people with sometimes heart-breaking results. 

across from the Statue of Liberty

When it came time to choose a dedication for this book, this is the only thing that came to mind:


Where did your family come from and how did they get to the US? 


Posted on August 26, 2018 - by

Delicious Mystery Discussion at Savoy Bookshop

Savoy Bookshop & Café is delighted to present an evening of food and mystery with New England authors Lucy Burdette and Maddie Day. This event is free and open to the public.


Posted on August 26, 2018 - by

Mojito Cake #recipe #booklaunch @lucyburdette

LUCY BURDETTE: In the eighth Key West mystery, Hayley and her mother Janet are catering a Key West/Havana conference at the Truman Little White House. This is the dessert they serve for the final dinner. And it is the perfect recipe to celebrate the arrival of DEATH ON THE MENU!

The basis of this recipe came from a cookbook called Cuba! – Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen. I love lime cake and yellow cake and whipped cream, so you can imagine that this recipe was irresistible. I know Mojitos require rum, and yet I am not a big fan of alcohol-flavored desserts. So I chose to leave the rum extract out of the cake, and instead add a teaspoon of rum. This gives it a little soupçon of flavor without overwhelming the cake. I also reduced the salt in the batter and the rum in the frosting. You can adjust the rum upward to a tablespoon if you choose.

 

Ingredients for the cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder (low-sodium works fine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Two sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
Four eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Half cup whole milk
1 teaspoon rum

For the lime mint syrup

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon dark rum

Thin slices of lime, or lime zest, or mint leaves, for decoration

Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by buttering them and lining with parchment paper. Butter the paper too. Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the dry ingredients for the cake together and set this aside. In your KitchenAid, food processor, or with an electric beater, beat the butter well with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract, the lime zest, and the rum. Fold in the dry ingredients, don’t overmix. Stir in the milk.

Divide the batter into the two prepared pans and bake about 30 minutes until the cakes spring back when touched. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove them from the pans and cool completely.

For the lime mint syrup, heat the sugar and water in a small pan until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and stir in the mint leaves. Let them steep for 10 minutes, then strain them out and stir in the lime juice. Paint this glaze onto each layer of cake with a pastry brush.

Whip the cream and sugar until stiff, and stir in the rum. Drop half of the whipped cream onto the first layer. Place the second layer on top and spread the remainder of the cream over that. Decorate with thin slices of lime or mint leaves as desired.

Death on the Menu, the 8th Key West food critic mystery, hit bookstores on August 7 from Crooked Lane Books. You can buy it in hardcover, e-book or audio book, wherever books are sold.


Posted on September 9, 2016 - by

Character Assassination

 

Killer Takeout Cover SmallLUCY BURDETTE: You may well have read on Facebook that Penguin Random House is not renewing the Key West foodie mystery series. Though I’m sad about this, I’m not taking the news personally. Here’s why:

  1. I don’t think it has much to do with either the quality of the books or the sales. Lots of mass-market cozy folks are ending up in the refugee boat with me—it’s a mysterious corporate decision over which we have no control.
  1. It’s happened before and I’ve survived and thrived.
  1. I will most likely continue the series in another form in the future.
  1. The support and enthusiasm of readers has been a huge comfort!
  2. This is not official yet, but I am working on book #8 and hope you will see it in the summer 2018–yay!

But I thought it might be interesting to look back on my reaction to the news that the golf lovers’ mystery series was not getting renewed. (Hint: devastated.) I called this essay “Character Assassination.”

Losing a special friend hurts, even if you’re mourning a figment of your own imagination.

I’ve been getting to know my protagonist, professional golfer Cassie Burdette, since scratching out the opening paragraphs of my first mystery in January 1998. As with most fictional detectives, Cassie wrestled with skeletons in her closet: her father’s desertion, a melancholy, alcoholic mother, a fog of self-doubt. Ambivalence infused her relationships with men and she tended to defer soul-searching in favor of the anesthetic effects of Budweiser. Notwithstanding these conflicts, I imagined Cassie eventually thriving on the professional golf circuit through a combination of talent, spunk, and the right friends.

With five golf mysteries in print by March 2006, Cassie and I have spent the better part of eight years together. I finally talked her into starting psychotherapy (with the help of a couple of other characters) to address her low self-esteem and self-destructive tendencies. She began to play better golf, choose kinder men, drink less, and reconnect with her dad.

Meanwhile, researching Cassie’s world took me on some amazing adventures. I spent most of my first (modest) advance paying to compete in a real professional-amateur LPGA tournament so I could absorb the correct ambience for book two.

And I played golf at Pinehurst, Palm Springs, and in the Dominican Republic—all tax-deductible without stretching the IRS code. I met and corresponded with professional golfers, and many fans—mystery fans, golf fans, and best of all, fans of both. These people worried about Cassie: how can she drink that much before a tournament? How can she eat like that and stay in shape? Lose the boyfriend—he’s a bum! Over coffee, my friends were more likely to ask what was new with Cassie, than with me. And reviewers hailed Cassie as “a character readers can root for.”

I’d begun plotting the skeleton for the sixth installment, involving a golf reality show, a hunky cop, and murder, of course.

Then the word came from my editor: “We’d rather see a new idea—the numbers just haven’t been that good…”

Surprised or not, I was flooded with sadness and disappointment. No more Cassie Burdette mysteries? Like the end of a souring romance, I wished I’d been the one to call it quits.

Days later, waiting to sign books at the Malice Domestic mystery convention, I sat next to an older man with a soft voice and a full beard. He introduced himself as H.R.F. Keating—the Malice honoree for lifetime achievement, including twenty-five novels in his Inspector Ghote series. In response to his kind interest, I spilled the news that Cassie’s series was being killed. I’m quite certain that I cried. He assured me that he’d often thought his series went on too long, that perhaps years ago he’d said all he really had to say, and that seven books might be the optimum length for a series. Then the doors opened and a crush of fans queued up to have him sign books that spanned forty years.

Twenty-five novels, each one nudging back a little further the curtain obscuring Inspector Ghote’s personality: I realized there are many things I’ll never know about Cassie. Will she win a tournament? Have a relationship with golf psychologist Joe Lancaster? Get married? Overcome her fear of kids? Hey, I’ll never know if I’m a grandmother.

But life in the publishing business lumbers on: I’ve signed a contract for my next writing adventure. The new series will feature psychologist and advice columnist, Dr. Rebecca Butterman, a woman who made cameo appearances in several of the golf mysteries. 

Cassie wasn’t crazy about her—I can hear her voice now: “You’re writing about a psychologist? Rebecca Butterman? Bor-ing.”

And PS, back to me in the present, wasn’t I so lucky to be seated next to that sweet man at the exact moment I needed his calm? And ps, Cassie did make a brief appearance in ASKING FOR MURDER and DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS. I am a fictional grandmother.

Meanwhile, I am working madly on several projects, but I’m feeling very superstitious. So I decided not to say much about them…I’m not being a tease, I swear, just nauseously nervously anxiously cautious.

And meanwhile, all 7 books in this series can be found wherever books are sold!

Killer Takeout Cover Small


Posted on August 21, 2016 - by

Fresh Cherry Cobbler with whipped cream #recipe

LUCY BURDETTE: My hub and I are mad for cherries when they are in season, and trust me we’ve eaten pounds and pounds of them this summer. But we’ve never done anything except eat them from the bowl. I couldn’t imagine pitting all those little guys. But then I got the image of a cherry cobbler in my head, and it would not be denied. (Sadly, I went to the grocery store yesterday and the cherries were GONE FOR THE SEASON! I’m quite certain you can use this same recipe for blueberries or peaches. Back to the story…)

So I went in search of a cherry pitter and found this one on Amazon, which handles 6 pieces at a time. So it still takes a while (maybe half an hour) to pit enough for the cobbler, but this time it’s worth it. Be careful because one diner did find a pit in her portion. You don’t want your guests cracking their molars on your dessert! (Recipe has been adapted for low-sodium diets.)

For the cherry filling:

Six cups pitted cherries
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
Half a lemon, squeezed

Place the cherries in an 8 by 8 Pyrex pan, ungreased. Mix in the cornstarch and sugar, and squeeze the lemon over the top.

For the crust:

6 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon no sodium baking powder
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cream or milk
1/2 cup sugar

Combine the dry ingredients and then cut in the chilled butter, using a pastry cutter. When the lumps are pea-sized, stir in the cream or milk. Do not over mix. With a large spoon place blobs of the crust over the prepared cherries. Do not worry about smoothing the crust or covering every square inch.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. The cherries should be bubbling and the crust a light brown. Let the cobbler cool a bit and serve with almond-scented whipped cream.

For the cream:
1 cup organic whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 tablespoon sugar

Whip the cream with the almond flavoring until thick. And the sugar and stir that in. Serve with the cobbler and swoon. (This is very rich–serves 6-8.)

It’s perfect for celebrations, like the publication of a new book! Or simply reading a great book.


Posted on March 24, 2016 - by

KILLER TAKEOUT: Key West book launch!

For immediate release: MARCH 24, 2016

KEY WEST MYSTERY CHARACTERS CONVERGE ON FLEMING STREET BOOKSTORE TO CELEBRATE “KILLER TAKEOUT”
Killer Takeout Cover SmallKiller Takeout (NAL/Signet), Lucy Burdette’s 7th Key West mystery, will be launched with a book signing party at Key West Island Bookstore on April 7 from 5 to 7, with many of Lucy’s “characters” in attendance.

“I was delighted when bookstore owner Suzanne Orchard invited me to launch the book at her store,” said Burdette, a Key West resident. “And then I cooked up the idea of inviting my characters to attend and sign books too. Recurring characters based on Key West people such as Lorenzo the tarot card reader (aka Ron Augustine) and Officer Steve Torrence have become beloved to my readers. Sharing the day with them feels special.”

KILLER TAKEOUT, the seventh installment in the Key West food critic mystery series, features Hayley Snow, an aspiring food critic and amateur sleuth living in America’s southernmost island paradise. Key West residents will recognize local details such as Houseboat Row, Robert the doll, the zombie bike ride, Mallory Square, and local eateries including Garbo’s Grill.

In KILLER TAKEOUT, the action kicks off during Fantasy Fest week, with a possible murder during the zombie bike ride, and a major tropical storm gathering speed below Cuba. Key Zest magazine has assigned food critic Hayley Snow to write a piece on the fest’s grab-and-go food, so she’s planning on hitting up the mobile eateries while checking out the party preparations. Meanwhile, Hayley’s office mate, Danielle, recently elected Queen of Fantasy Fest, is also buzzing between festivities and fundraisers. But when Danielle’s former royal rival gets taken out, Hayley needs to put down her party hat and her pen and figure out who served up a side of murder—before her friend gets crowned a killer.

Burdette’s (aka Roberta Isleib) first mystery series included 5 books featuring Cassie Burdette, an aspiring golf professional.  Her Advice Column series featured Rebecca Butterman, a fictional psychologist who lived in Connecticut. Isleib/Burdette’s books and 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.

About the Key West mystery series:

“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

And the Florida Book Review has said “in a crowded cozy market, Lucy Burdette’s Key West Food Critic series stands out among its peers.”

For more information, contact Roberta Isleib/Lucy Burdette raisleib at gmail dot com or Suzanne Orchard, (305) 294-2904.


Posted on January 16, 2016 - by

The Agony of Writing @LucyBurdette

writerwordsLUCY BURDETTE: Since the mayhem of the holidays has finally subsided, I can turn my thoughts to the new year, wondering what I’ll write and how I’ll get it done.

First of all, I always have doubts! Every book. KILLER TAKEOUT will be my fifteenth published book and I still get stuck every time in the middle. Where is this book going??? What’s the point? Why is she doing this? Who will ever want to read this?

A few things help keep me sane in this situation. One is to keep writing. Apply butt to chair and write 1000 words a day. It also helps to write out a sentence or two the night before about what I will cover the next day. Another good tool is brainstorming with my writer friends. They are invariably generous, and fresh eyes can see paths out of my plot when I feel hopeless.

I also heard two wise quotes while I was at the New England Crime Bake in November that I plan to keep right beside my computer. The first from Elizabeth George:

“When your story stalls out on you, you’ve played your hand too soon.”

And Peter Abrahams/Spencer Quinn suggested when a writer gets stuck: “Think about the engine that drives the story.”

How about you dear readers? Do you ever have doubts when you are in the middle of the writing, or other non-writing projects? How do you get past them?


Posted on January 3, 2016 - by

Resolution: Changes in Attitude

First of all, Happy New Year! I’m grateful for each one of you readers. And now, in the first week of the new year, I thought I’d share my resolution…

John by our post

In Key West we have been assigned a horrible parking space. (I know, first world problem, but hear me out.) The driver must back in, with only about 6 inches of clearance between the car mirrors and two enormous concrete pillars on either side. I confess that I have avoided driving just because of this parking problem. But a couple of
weeks ago, I watched John as he swung gracefully out toward the opposite cars, and then glided backwards into our slot.

“You consider this a challenge, don’t you?” I asked in an accusatory voice.

He grinned and agreed that he did. And right then I decided since I have no other options, I might as well try to take that approach too.

Set that story aside for a minute.

In September, I was diagnosed with a disease called Meniere’s. The experts seem to think it involves too much fluid in the inner ear, resulting in vertigo, nausea, and tinnitus along with some deafness, among other symptoms. Though it could be a virus or any number of other possibilities. It’s not life-threatening, but it is life changing. For example, it’s important to reduce stress. (As one of my “spin” buddies said, I actually didn’t feel like I was that stressed until I got Meniere’s and uncontrollable vertigo!!!!!”)

There’s no cure at this point, since no one has a good grip on what actually causes it. But the main treatment is a low sodium diet, a diuretic, and staying away from caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, and salt. (Maybe you heard the screams as this was explained to me last fall.) And using a list of drugs to help manage the dizzy episodes when they recur. (Which they do.)

Lucy in 2013

This has been a hard adjustment, as I’m used to feeling healthy. And I love food. I write about food, I talk about food, I get enormous pleasure from cooking and eating good food. I identify as a foodie. I boast that my maiden name “Isleib” means “is stomach” in German. So while I’m trying to do what I was told would help, I’ve done it with a lot of grumbling.

I’m no Pollyanna. I do have days when I feel lousy and tell my hub that maybe it’s time to push me out into the harbor in an old leaky boat.

“But wait,” I say, “I’d better take the old cat with me–he’d be too much for you. You guys don’t really connect.”

“And Tonka will want to go with you, no matter what the circumstances,” says John. “And you aren’t leaving me behind!”

And then we laugh like crazy imagining the Coast Guard or the Navy Seal divers coming to scoop the four of us out of the harbor. And I start poring over the No-Salt cookbooks again.

This is where the story of the parking space comes in. Somehow this year I am going to try to adjust my attitude about having this bizarre chronic disease, and about eating. No salt? No problem.
And that is my resolution, a change in how I view this condition, from yawping and yammering to acceptance.

How about you readers? Are you facing any big challenges this year? Or do you have tips to share about surviving one in your past?

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries. KILLER TAKEOUT, coming in April, is available for pre-order now.



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