Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: October 23, 2022 by Crystal Uys

Joe DiMaggio, one of the Hemingway cats, endorses Death on the Menu

Cats, a tropical setting, mouth-watering food (with some recipes included), and did I mention cats? Lucy Burdette’s Key West Food Critic mystery series has all the right ingredients for some fun summer reading.

In this latest installment in the series, Death on the Menu, food critic Haley Snow gets drawn into a murder investigation after a man is killed during a high profile three day conference at the Harry Truman Little White House on Key West.

From the publisher:

Even though Haley will be working the event helping her mother’s fledgling catering business, there’s plenty of spicy gossip to go around. But just before her mother’s decadent flan is put to the test, Key West’s most prized possession, Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal for The Old Man and the Sea, is discovered stolen from its case. Unsavory suspicions point to Gabriel, a family friend and one of the new busboys working the event, who mysteriously goes missing moments later. Anxious to clear his name, Gabriel’s family enlists Hayley to help find him, but right as they begin their search, his body is found stabbed to death in the storeroom. Hayley has no shortage of suspects to interrogate and very little time before the killer adds another victim to the menu.

My favorite part of the series is the vivid descriptions of Key West and its inhabitants. I’ve only been to Key West once, in the 1980’s, but I still have fond memories of the visit and this series always takes me back to that simpler time. The cats in the book, including Haley’s cats Evinrude and Sparky, are not central to the mystery, but they make frequent appearances, as do the cats at the Hemingway House.

The story is fast paced, with an immensely likeable protagonist and an assortment of quirky secondary characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The setting, the cats, and the guilt-free pleasure of reading about amazing food make this one of my favorite mystery series.

Death on the Menu is available from Amazon.

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