Read Death in Four Courses: A Key West Food Critic Mystery Online

Authors: Lucy Burdette

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Death in Four Courses: A Key West Food Critic Mystery

BOOK: Death in Four Courses: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
11.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



“What fun! Lucy Burdette writes evocatively about 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

“When her ex-boyfriend’s new lover, the co-owner of
Key Zest
magazine, is found dead, Hayley Snow, wannabe food critic, is the first in line on the list of suspects. Food, fun, and felonies. What more could a reader ask for?”

New York Times
bestselling author Lorna Barrett

“For a true taste of paradise, don’t miss
An Appetite for Murder
. Lucy Burdette’s first Key West Food Critic Mystery combines a lush, tropical setting, a mysterious murder, and plenty of quirky characters. The victim may not be coming back for seconds, but readers certainly will!”

—Julie Hyzy, national bestselling author of the White
House Chef mysteries and Manor House mysteries

“Florida has long been one of the best backdrops for crime novels—from John MacDonald to Carl Hiassen—and Burdette’s sense of place and her ability to empathize with a wide strata of Key West locals and visitors bode well for this new series.”

Connecticut Post

“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…. Although you might want to skip the key lime pie, don’t skip
An Appetite for Murder
. Let’s hope it is just an appetizer and there will be a feast of Food Critic mysteries to follow.”

—The Florida Book Review

“Burdette laces
An Appetite for Murder
with a clever plot, a determined if occasionally ditzy heroine, and a wealth of local color about Key West and its inhabitants. You’ll eat it up.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Burdette cleverly combines the insuperable Key West location with the always-irresistible hook, food…. Hayley is a vibrant young character to watch, and she writes scrumptious food reviews as well.”

Mystery Scene

“Hayley herself is delightful. Exuberant and naive, rocking back and forth between bravado and insecurity, excitable and given to motormouth nervousness, she’s a quick study who has a lot to learn. I’m sure that many readers will be happy to make her acquaintance and follow her through future adventures.”

Florida Weekly

Also by Lucy Burdette

An Appetite for Murder


A Key West Food Critic Mystery

Lucy Burdette



Published by New American Library, a division of

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,

Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

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New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,

Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Printing, September 2012

10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

ISBN: 978-1-101-59950-1

Copyright © Roberta Isleib, 2012

“I Like Meat” by Roy Blount Jr. Reprinted by permission of the author.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

OBSIDIAN and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Printed in the United States of America


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”



For my sister Sue,
who never seemed to mind how closely I followed
on her heels, and who, like Hayley, is always
always ready for the next meal


Many thanks to Dr. Kiel Christianson for advice on how to think like a food critic, to Mary Kay Hyde for MK’s Screw the Roux Stew, Linda Juliani for the fudge pie, and Nikki Bonanni for the gnocchi.

The Key West Literary Seminar provided unlimited inspiration for this book, though any similarities to the seminar staff or the writers who appeared are purely coincidental. Thank you to Arlo Haskell for putting me in touch with Roy Blount Jr. And to Roy Blount Jr. for allowing the use of his perfect little poem “I Like Meat.”

Thank you to Steve Torrence, Cory Held, Fritz Ewing, Eric, Bill, and Toby for the use of their names for my utterly fictional characters.

I’m deeply grateful to the usual suspects—Chris Falcone, Ang Pompano, John Brady, Hallie Ephron, Susan Hubbard, Susan Cerulean, and Mike Wiecek—for reading, brainstorming, tweaking, and supporting! Thanks also to Ang for the photo that inspired the book cover and a last-minute read-through. And a big shout-out to all my mystery writer friends, especially my blog sisters at Jungle Red Writers, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, and Killer Characters.

Thanks always to Paige Wheeler and the good folks at Folio. Sandy Harding is a terrific editor and advocate—
thank you! And thanks to all the other people at NAL/Penguin, seen and unseen, who’ve shepherded this book to publication.

A great big thank-you to librarians and booksellers everywhere who put books in the hands of readers, especially Sandy Long, head librarian for forty-one years at the EC Scranton Library in Madison, Connecticut, and Roxanne Coady, founder and owner of RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison.

I lost my father this year. He was an amazing champion of all my dreams. My love and thanks to you, Dad—I miss you every day….

Lucy Burdette

March 2012

Still, his diners are newly accessorizing the table setting: fork on the left, knife on the right, iPhone top center. It’s chew and review, toast and post.

—Ike DeLorenzo

Table of Contents



























Key West Food Critic Mystery


If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.

—Manuel Rouvelas

My new boss, Wally, slid his glasses down his nose and squinted over the top of the black frames. “Don’t even think about coming back with a piece telling us offal is the next big foodie trend,” he said. “I don’t care what’s in style in New York and L.A. We eat grouper and key lime pie in Key West, not entrails.” He leaned back in his weathered wicker chair, fronds of faux tropical foliage tickling his hair. “Clear?”

“Aye-aye, Captain.” I snapped my heels together and saluted; it wasn’t easy to be serious with a man wearing a yellow silk shirt dotted with palm trees. Our company uniform. Which made my complexion look a little sallow, but I would have worn the houseplant and the straw lamp shade that matched the other furniture were those required for the job.

Right before Thanksgiving, I was astonished and grateful to be hired as the food critic for
Key Zest
, the new Key West style magazine. They sure hadn’t planned on shelling out big bucks so I could attend the “Key West Loves Literature” seminar barely two months later. But after I explained how most of the top food writers and food critics in the country would be there and we’d look like foodie fools if we missed it, Wally finally caved. With the caveat that I kept up my schedule of local restaurant reviews and wrote a couple of snappy, stylish feature articles about the seminar as well.

At the time, that had all sounded doable. But right now I had big-time nervous jitters about meeting my writing idols and trying to sound smart. And I wished that my Christmas-present brainstorm for my mother had been something other than tuition to this seminar. She was completely thrilled to be visiting here from New Jersey, and who wouldn’t feel good about making her mother happy? But for one of my first major (and paid!) journalistic assignments, having my mom tethered to my side felt a little like looking through the oven door at a falling soufflé.

Wally fidgeted with his glasses, opened his mouth once, then closed it again. “Listen. I don’t mean to up the ante on this weekend, but I figure you’re a grown woman and you should know.”

My heart thunked to my gullet and despite the warm, dry air in the office, I felt cold. “Know what?”

“Ava Faulkner has been pressuring me—she’s trolling for a reason to let you go.”

My eyes bulged. Ava was Kristen Faulkner’s sister—the sister of the woman who’d stolen my boyfriend last fall and then gotten herself murdered. “But why? She can’t still think I killed Kristen. That’s all been settled.”

Wally smoothed a hand across his desk blotter. “She’s not a rational woman, Hayley. But since she owns more than fifty percent of the magazine, I have to listen to her. It’s just—I need your very best work this weekend.” He looked up and met my gaze. “If you can come up with something exclusive, like an interview with the keynote, all the better.”

BOOK: Death in Four Courses: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
11.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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