Monday, August 9, 2021

Book Review: A Scone of Contention by Lucy Burdette (Key West Food Critic Mysteries #11)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters, travel and mystery combined
Cons: Climax is weak
The Bottom Line:
A trip to Scotland
Filled with conflict and murder
Detour fans will like

Food Critic in Scotland

I’ll admit, I was a bit worried when I learned that the eleventh Key West Food Critic Mystery wasn’t going to be in Key West.  But, being a fan of the series, I had to go along on Hayley’s latest adventure.  Turns out, I mostly enjoyed A Scone of Contention.

Hayley and her new husband, Nathan, are finally getting their delayed honeymoon.  Well, sort of.  For their honeymoon, they are going to Scotland to visit Nathan’s sister Vera, and they are taking along their neighbor and friend Miss Gloria.  Oh, and Nathan’s mother has decided this is the perfect time to visit Vera as well.  Sounds like the honeymoon every newlywed dreams of, right?

It turns out that Vera is trying to put the finishing touches on a book about Scotland she’s working on with college friends.  But an attempted poisoning followed by a mysterious death lead Hayley to believe that the visible tension in the group of coauthors is over more than creative differences.  Can she figure out what is really going on?

Vera’s project gives this book a reason to turn into part travelogue while keeping all the suspects involved in the story.  I appreciated the creativity shown and the way that the tourist portions didn’t slow down the plot.  If you’ve always wanted to visit Scotland, this book will only make you want to go more.  Author Lucy Burdette brings Scotland to life like she does Key West.

Speaking of which, Key West is a major character in the series, which was one reason why I was worried about this book.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about leaving it behind.  Fortunately, we don’t leave it behind completely, and the characters who aren’t part of the trip are still given cameos.  That’s all I’m saying about this, I’ll leave the rest for you to discover.

As much as I found the set up a little hard to believe, I did enjoy having all the characters who are major presences in this book.  Miss Gloria is a hoot, and I definitely would have missed her if she had only gotten a cameo.  Nathan’s mother is an interesting character, and I appreciated seeing her again.  And the new characters got their moments to shine as well.

The plot was interesting and kept me engaged.  My frustration is that the wrap up felt rushed.  Don’t get me wrong, it answered all our questions, but it felt anti-climactic.  I actually felt the same way with the sub-plot.  It was like the author ran out of time.

As always, this book will leave you hungry – which means the recipes at the end are a good thing.  There are recipes for a variety of Scottish foods, including several varieties of scones.

Fans of the series will be glad they, too, can crash Hayley and Nathan’s honeymoon.  A Scone of Contention will definitely leave you hungry for more.

 Don't miss the rest of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. Rushed wrap ups are an issue I seem to have run into a lot lately with cozies. It's not my favorite. I read the first book in the series a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I need to continue with the series!

  2. I love the set-up of tension leading to murder amongst a group of writers! But it's a shame the ending felt rushed, it does sometimes feel like authors want to wrap everything up neatly within two pages, rather than letting it end properly. I'm glad you enjoyed it overall and that the series is still a favourite for you!