Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters, Key West
Cons: Mystery, while good, could be a little stronger
The Bottom Line:
Key lime pie contest
Murder on crowded island
Enjoy this escape
Murder Never Takes a Holiday
Ever since I started reading the Key West Food Critics Mysteries, I’ve been dying to visit the island. I almost got the chance one year for New Year’s. After reading The Key Lime Crime, I think I’m glad that didn’t work out – and that’s not even factoring in the murder.
You see, this book is set during that week between Christmas and New Year’s. Newlywed Hayley Snow is having to adjust to married life while working hard. In addition to her normal column for Key Zest, she has been assigned the key lime pie contest that is happening this week. As if the island weren’t already crowded with visitors trying to enjoy a tropic new year, people are coming to sample the various key lime pies the pastry chefs on the island will be entering. All of the visitors are keeping Hayley’s husband, cop Nathan Bransford, busy with overtime.
As if life weren’t chaotic enough, Nathan’s mother decides to come for a surprise visit. Hayley has never met her mother-in-law and wants to make a good first impression. However, that doesn’t happen when the pair find a dead body dressed like Santa. Mrs. Bransford seems to be invested in figuring out what happened. The victim was one of the chefs in the key lime pie contest, and she’d had a very public fight with the contest’s organizer. Is that the motive for murder? Or is there something deeper involved?
I’ve got to admit, this book made me glad my trip a couple years ago didn’t work out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still dying to visit the island, but the constant talk of the crowds there that week made me think another time of the year would be a saner choice for a visit.
The mystery in the book is good. While it could have been stronger overall, there were several decent suspects, and I didn’t guess who it was until the villain was revealed. I was engaged the entire time I was reading.
The characters really stepped up in this book. We learned something about a character here that really explains a lot about their behavior in previous books. In fact, it’s made me warm up to them in a new way, which made me happy. Yes, I’m being vague on purpose. I enjoyed getting to spend time with the rest of the regulars and getting to know the suspects as always.
A word of warning – this book will make you crave key lime pie. I went out and bought one while I was reading, the desire was so strong, so plan accordingly.
Ironically, key lime pie isn’t one of the recipes at the end of this book. We have gotten a recipe for it in a previous book in the series, however, so I’m sure that’s why it wasn’t included here. One of the eight recipes is for a key lime parfait, so there is something fitting the theme at the end to enjoy later. As always, all the recipes sound delicious.
Someday, I will get that trip to Key West. But until that happens, I’ll be content to visit in the pages of this series. If you are looking for a virtual trip to Key West, then you’ll be happy to visit the pages of The Key Lime Crime.
Enjoy more trips to Key West with the rest of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.