(1. - 1116.) The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette - My last post was a review of An Appetite for Murder, the first in the Hayley Snow series which I purchased at Key West Books. While at the store I asked Paul about a second book in the series and he recommended The Key Lime Crime. It is a few books later in the series rather than the second book. Readers who intend to read the series in sequence should not read this review as they will get information they would probably prefer to acquire through reading the series.
The Key Lime Crime sees Hayley now a veteran food critic for Key Zest magazine and married to KWPD detective Nathan Bransford. They are living with Miss. Gloria on her houseboat until renovations are completed on their own houseboat.
It is the week between Christmas and New Year’s, the busiest week of the year in Key West with tens of thousands of tourists flooding the island. One of them is Nathan’s mother, Mrs.Bransford, making an unexpected visit to the newlyweds.
The bubbly outgoing Hayley is more than a little intimidated when Mrs.Bransford. arrives. Mrs..Bransford is an austere, tall, slim, perfectly coiffed, well dressed woman indifferent to food. Hayley welcomes Mrs. Bransford by thanking her for “reproducing” Nathan. A couple of days later she asks Hayley to call her Helen. The gesture gives Hayley fleeting relief.
Helen’s visit gets off to a very dramatic start.
At the local library, promoter extraordinaire David Sloan, has a gathering to display entries vying for his Key Lime Key to the City Award. In a city obsessed with key lime pie it is a significant award.
For a pie with few ingredients the variety of pies is impressive.
Sloan is outraged when Claudette Parker, from the newly opened Au Citron Vert, opens her box to display a key lime pastry. He immediately and loudly disqualifies her as her entry is not a pie. She responds by throwing a pie in his face.
Later that evening on a Conch Train tour of the residential Christmas lights the observant Miss Gloria sees a kitten and Helen notices a drunk Santa Claus figure upon a porch. Each wants to know more. Returning to the house they find the kitten in the bushes and the Santa Claus is actually the body of Claudette. Once again Hayley is caught up in murder.
Nathan sternly directs Helen and Hayley not to investigate. Hayley is willing to listen but Helen, sensing danger for her son, ignores Nathan. Hayley is quite willing to help Helen.
Assigned to write about the pie contest Hayley has a ready cover for asking questions of contestants, librarians and Claudette’s colleagues.
The intrepid trio (Miss Gloria makes it three) are all inquisitive. They eat (Helen barely tastes) a lot of key lime pies.
Anger over the library kerfuffle hardly seems a reason for murder but other motives are in short supply.
As the dynamic trio gather information Hayley and Helen assess each other.
It may be an Inappropriate and in poor taste comment but Burdette makes reading about murder fun. To endure a mystery series needs a memorable sleuth and Hayley is a great character. I know a sleuth resonates when I wish I could visit with them. For Hayley it would be a long chat while sampling key lime pies.
Burdette, Lucy - (2022) - An Appetite for Murder