The Key Lime Crime by Lucy Burdette

The Key Lime Crime

THE KEY LIME CRIME is the tenth in Lucy Burdette’s  Key West Food Critic Mystery series.  I’ve been a fan since reading AN APPETITE FOR MURDER which was the first in this series.  This is what they call a cozy mystery and it’s set entirely in one of my favorite locales: Key West, Florida.  These books are filled with great food, atmospheric pages and all the crazy-wonderful spots  you love in this amazing old city. And there are cats. And the main characters live on houseboats. How cool is that!

In this newest installment we find Hayley Snow up to her last nerve dealing with work angst and personal stress. You see, her new husband Nathan who is a police detective,  has just announced a big surprise. His mother who was not able to attend their recent wedding, is coming for a visit. Could the timing be worse? Probably not. Key West the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is exploding with snowbirds and tourists.  Plus, Haley works for Key Zest magazine and will be covering a big bash:a key lime pie baking contest that all the pastry chefs on the island are wild about. And there are a lot of them.

Key West Houseboats

Haley and Nathan live on a houseboat that they share with an elderly housemate of Hayleys. They’re in the midst of renovating their own boat but it’s far from ready.  So they set Helen, Nathan’s mom, up with Hayley’s mom and dad not far from old town.  I have long been intrigued with the houseboats of Key West and so I thoroughly enjoy this aspect of the stories.  Throw in Hayley’s housemate Miss Gloria who is somewhere in her eighties and I am all in.

The Conch Train is a great way to see the island  especially when all the holiday lights are offering such a show. It’s during one of these island tours one evening that Miss Gloria spots something awry on one of the conch cottage porches and so she returns to the cottage after the train tour with Haylee and Helen to do some sleuthing.

T-bone

And low and behold while she’s sniffing out an orange tabby kitten under the house, Helen unearths a dead body dressed in a Santa costume on the porch. Let the mystery begin.

I’ve loved Key West since my first visit thirty some years ago. I love its quirkiness, it’s be-who-you-are atmosphere, and all the  food. And the cats.

Haylee begins to see her mother-in-law is a very curious woman.  Helen is all over this murder. Why?  And we find that the murdered woman is a very high profile  pastry chef who has already caused plenty of trouble surrounding this pie contest. But why would anyone want to kill her?

I started reading this novel jonesing for key lime pie. My hunger for it just kept getting crazier. But, to tell you the truth, by the end of the story I was sick to death of it. Yes, more than enough pastry shops offer amazing key lime confections. They are ubiquitous in Key West.  I remember the mile high meringue on the Blue Heaven creation.  Love Blue Heaven. Have enjoyed many a breakfast outside with the chickens pecking around my feet.

We at Copperfish were lucky enough to have Lucy Burdette

Lucy Burdette signing books at Copperfish Books (2019)

speak and sign her books last spring as she traveled back north to her summertime home. She was delightful and everyone fell in love with her. It’s then that she told us about adopting T-Bone, her orange tabby kitten. And she’s incorporated him perfectly in this new crime caper. She also mentions Evinrude who is another Key West kitty. Love it.

I loved disappearing into this novel. I was hunkered down in the Key West I know and love. Back walking the atmospheric tucked away streets, eating in my favorite restaurants, and enjoying everything the island on the rock offers. If you haven’t been to Key West you have no idea what you are missing. And did I  even mention the sunset events?

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

As I was enjoying reading the acknowledgements at the end of the book I was thrilled to see Lucy had mentioned me and Copperfish Books. How cool is that!

THE KEY LIME CRIME will be published in hard cover on Tuesday, August 11 by Crooked Lane Books.  Cathy and I will be hosting the virtual book launch at 5 o’clock on the 11th. You can sign up through eventbrite on the Copperfish website. The event is free. Just click on eventbrite above and follow the directions. We sure hope you’ll be able to join us for what is sure to be a fun time for us all. After all, we’ll be talking about Key West and asking Lucy to tell us about her writing process. And since it’s 5 o’clock, maybe we’ll have a happy hour cocktail 😽

You’ll be able to purchase copies of THE KEY LIME CRIME on Tuesday, August 11. We will be discounting them 20%. All the paperbacks will also be available. When you spend $35 the shipping fee is free. A good choice would be the new book plus at least one of the paperbacks. They are all delightful! And Lucy’s sending signed book plates to go with…. Thanks Lucy.

 

 

Deceived By Randy Wayne White

Hannah

Deceived

Okay, you Randy Wayne White fans. Here’s  the second in the Hannah Smith series. Now you can look forward to two Randy White novels each year. And now he’s really tied Hannah in with Doc Ford. You are in for another treat.

The beauty of these novels is their locale. In the first Hannah Smith novel Ford had Hannah all over South West Florida. This time he has narrowed her territory closer to my neck of the woods. I have lived and worked in this part of paradise for 35 years. I love the place. And for those of you who are seasonal or occasional visitors, these novels are a perfect way for you to get your tropical fix.

Hannah Smith is a fishing guide who has gotten herself hooked up romantically with Marion Ford. Doc to those of you who are familiar with the wildly popular Doc Ford series.  The first in the series is called GONE. It instantly hit the New York Times bestseller list last year. Randy Wayne White readers thoroughly embraced the new character of Hannah Smith with open arms.

Is there a mystery to solve here? You betcha! In this complex thriller Hannah once again jumps into a harrowing mess. This time while enmeshed in a new romance; with you know who. It sure does add to the story-line.

Randy White

Randy Wayne White

Since Randy White has been a fishing guide in these local waters, he is able to bring so much local color to the table. Mostly penned at tables in one of his restaurants on Sanibel Island or Fort Myers Beach ( Doc Ford’s Rum Bar), these novels are jam- packed with everything you need for a great local mystery.   And he just keeps getting better and better.

I truly love this new character and can’t wait to find out what other chaos she will get herself involved with. These novels are so well-written, but are not literary tomes. They are a perfect respite from book club must-reads. Plus, they are so much fun. Thank you so much, Randy. We love ya around here.

My galley came from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Penguin Group. Thanks a bunch.

Hidden History Of Everglades City by Maureen Sullivan Hartung

author of Hidden History of Everglades City

Maureen Sullivan Hartung

Maureen Sullivan-Hartung is the perfect choice to have written the only comprehensive book about Everglades City, Florida. Her HIDDEN HISTORY OF EVERGLADES CITY is hot off  the press.

Years ago, Maureen took me for a tour of Everglades City and regaled me with stories that made me not only smile but laugh out loud. When I tell you that she not only knew Totch Brown but was a confidant, well, I am not kidding. You can read about it right here. Maureen’s lovely voice comes shining through her writing and makes you feel as if she is sitting right next to you in a big fan-back chair, maybe sipping a cup of tea or a glass of  wine and letting you in on the latest gossip. But it is not gossip. It’s all true. That’s what makes this “history book” such a compelling read.

As residents of S.W. Florida, whether part-time or full, we all can use a dose of good old fashioned history. And when you can find it written in such a readable format, well, you should grab it.

Maureen Sullivan-Hartung has worked as a journalist, has written more articles for local zines than you can toss a stick at and is well known for her work with Friends of the Collier County Library. I can not mention all the organizations she is attached to because we do not have enough time or space. She is an amazing woman who is making her mark on S.W. Florida through her love of the local people and their back stories.

Every single soul living in this area should visit Smallwood  Trading Post. Yes, it still exists. It’s alive and kicking on Chokoloskee Island.

Speaking of Chokoloskee, that’s where Maureen went all those years ago to meet up with the colorful character of Totch Brown. Here you can see a photo Maureen took of Totch on their first outing.

Totch Brown

Totch Brown

Another colorful character from this area was Edgar Watson of KILLING MISTER WATSON fame.  This now famous novel is based on a true story of the miserable Edgar and his shenanigans. Not to be missed.

Sullivan-Hartung has totally done her homework here. Her research is impeccable. Her sense of story makes you flip through the pages as if you were reading a thriller. The photos alone are worth the price of admission. And believe you me getting all these pictures and getting them into the right format must have been difficult at best.

Hidden History series

Hidden History of Everglades City

Maureen will be making appearances for the next several months. You can also catch her January,19th at Books&Books in Coral Gables, Florida. I was thrilled to hear she would be signing at this quintessential bookstore.  HIDDEN HISTORY OF EVERGLADES CITY is on sale at all the local bookstores and online.