Murder With Ganache’s Characters Have Substance


By Diane Johnson


Murder With Ganache is Lucy Burdette’s fourth book in the Key West food critic mystery series. Published by the Penguin Group, this book was released in February 2014. Lucy’s real name is Roberta Iselib, a clinical psychologist who lives right here in Key West and is a prolific writer with 11 other mysteries to her credit.



As a Key West restaurant reviewer for Konk Life, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Murder With Ganache. The plot has twists and turns that are unpredictable. The characters have substance, immediately inspiring a relationship with the reader. I identified with Hayley Snow, the food critic and in whose voice the story is written. Mysteries are my favorite genre. Fair warning to those who haven’t read this story yet: Do not read this book on an empty stomach!



Adolescence is a challenging time for any parent. In this story, a young man named Rory gets caught up with a runaway and the unsavory drug trade. His divorced parents are ill equipped to deal with the fallout. In walks our heroine Hayley Snow, and Rory’s sister, who lives on a houseboat and is a food critic for Key West Zest. She has her own set of challenges starting with pressure at work coupled with taking care of her family, leaving her personal needs at the bottom of the totem pole. Hayley is way over-extended. She is simultaneously under a deadline to deliver four stories, working on finding out who murdered a runaway, worried about her brother and preparing food for a friend’s wedding. The term codependent screams out from the pages.



According to Roberta, “Hayley Snow comes from my imagination. She belongs to a family of foodies, and she uses food to connect with people, to calm herself down and to wrangle information from suspects and witnesses. To write about it, I have to cook and eat and try local restaurants. And that makes my husband happy. It’s a hard life, but Hayley and I are willing to do it!”



The characters and their family relationships are messy, much like real life. Murder With Ganache is an interesting example of dysfunctional families who somehow get by as they muddle through life’s challenges.



Unique to Lucy’s Food Critic Mystery series are recipes at the end of the book. Mix in a bit of psychology combined with local good eats and out comes a fun read that makes you hungry! The most appealing recipe was strawberry cream pie with a chocolate graham cracker crust. Made with plenty of fresh strawberries, butter, sugar, chocolate graham crackers, cream cheese and, of course, whipping cream, this is a dessert I could inhale.



Murder With Ganache can be found locally at Island Books located at 513 Fleming St. in Old Town Key West, where they always keep Lucy’s books in stock. Follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyBurdette or “Like” her on Facebook.

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