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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Murder with Ganache (Key West Food Critic Mystery, #4)

Murder With Ganache: A Key West Food Critic Mystery - Lucy Burdette

This series and I must part ways.  We are not a good match and I definitely don't feel as though my needs as a cozy reader are being fulfilled.  I've tried and tried - four times over now, and though there was a brief interlude of optimism that third time, I realise now that things will never change and it's just best to make a clean break and move on.

 

I'm not a big fan of Haley, the MC.  I don't actively dislike her but, in spite of signs of growth, she still strikes me as immature.  Or shallow, I can't figure out which.  There are quite a few likeable secondary characters, but most of the "permanent cast" play very small parts in this book - including the bride and groom.

 

I LOVE the Key West setting.  Being a Florida Cracker myself, it's a little slice of home to read about Duval street, Mallory Square, Sloppy Joe's, etc.  It's by far the best character in this book and it's what has kept me coming back for four books, in the vain hope that the rest would catch up.

 

They didn't.  Now, I don't have kids of my own, so quick show of hands:  how many of you would let your 15 year old son go out on their own, late(ish) at night, during Spring Break to the center of Key West?  Is it just me who thinks there isn't a chance in hell?  This event is central to the setup of the plot, so I was already arguing with the book before the 3rd chapter.

 

The plot was not done well.  I knew exactly who the killer was before the damn body was found.  Even though the reader was never given any clues about who he might be.

 

When you write a story where every major character has a specific part to play, don't suddenly give a walk-on role more dialogue than all the others.  Ms. Burdette spent too much time on a single random person, and only one random person, for him to be anything but the killer.

(show spoiler)

 

What else?  Each chapter of the book starts with a quote by either a famous chef/author or from another cozy mystery, which is cool.  But then she actually quotes herself:  the author used a quote from the previous book in this series as a chapter heading.  It felt tacky as hell.

 

The investigating detective is a previous almost-romantic interest of Haley's, and I think the author is trying to make it easier on her readers by making him somewhat unlikeable.  I say this to add context to the next part of my complaint, which is the following quote:

 

"You're probably not aware that the girl your son was seen with last night expired."

 

Expired?!?  Really?  Is she milk?  An old gift certificate someone found at the bottom a drawer?  Expired?!?

 

I'm truly sorry this series and I didn't work out.  I'll miss reading about Key West.  But life's too short to skip dessert or stay with bad books.