Posted by Barbara Ross, working on her big front porch overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, on about the most beautiful Monday ever
Hi All–The Wickeds’ friend and mentor Lucy Burdette has guested before. (You can read the prior interviews here and here.) Today, we’re honored to have her on the actual release day for her latest Key West Food Critic Mystery–Fatal Reservations. I love this series!
Take it away, Lucy.
LUCY BURDETTE: I was asked to participate on an alumni panel a few weeks ago that asked this question: Is America food-obsessed? Looking at the world of mystery readers and writers, I’d say a definite yes. When I first began writing the Key West mysteries, I knew that I was joining a long tradition of cozy foodie mysteries. I’d been a fan of Diane Mott Davidson’s popular series about an amateur sleuth/caterer in Boulder CO since her first book was published. And since then, the field has mushroomed with wonderful foodie novels, including of course, several Wicked Cozy writers.
But I was feeling my way with food in books. My first series character (Cassie in the golf lovers mysteries) was no foodie—her best and only recipe was hot dog casserole. Rebecca Butterman in the advice column series was an excellent cook, though far from a professional chef. But her home-cooked meals comforted friends in trouble, calmed her own nerves, and served to distract people while she grilled them (sorry!) for information. My third character, Hayley Snow, is a food critic as well as a good cook. In other words, food is a huge part of her life, as well as her livelihood.
Are readers buying these books for the recipes? I don’t think so. (Some of the fans I hear from don’t cook at all.) My theory? They are drawn to the community and the sense of connection that they find in foodie mysteries. As I did while reading about Diane Mott Davidson’s caterer, they like to imagine sitting in the characters’ kitchens and eating their food. And that’s the kind of character I’ve tried to write—a woman who loves food, but loves her family and friends even more. When someone’s in trouble, like her tarot-card-reading pal Lorenzo in FATAL RESERVATIONS, Hayley’s first instinct is to feed them. This doesn’t always solve the problem, but her friends always know she cares. Here’s an example of how she thinks, as she’s deciding to make nocciolato fudge for her beleaguered pal:
It was the kind of treat that read: “You deserve this lump of sweetness. We love you. We’re so, so, so sorry.” Half frozen oatmeal raisin cookies simply couldn’t do the same job. They couldn’t shoulder the same emotional load as organic hazelnut fudge sprinkled with pink sea salt.
Readers, are you a fan of foodie fiction? Whose kitchen table would you like a seat at?
About FATAL RESERVATIONS: In the sixth Key West Food Critic mystery, Hayley Snow’s beat is reviewing restaurants for Key Zest magazine. But she sets aside her knife and fork when a dear friend is accused of murder…
Hayley Snow looks forward to reviewing For Goodness’ Sake, a new floating restaurant that promises a fresh take on Japanese delicacies like flambeed grouper with locally sourced seaweed. But nearby land-based restaurateurs would rather see their buoyant competition sink. Sent to a City Commission meeting to cover the controversy, Hayley witnesses another uproar. The quirky performers of the daily Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square are struggling to hold onto their performance space. And this fight has renewed old rivalries between Hayley’s Tarot-card reading friend Lorenzo and a flaming-fork-juggling nemesis, Bart Frontgate. Then Frontgate is found murdered. If Lorenzo could read his own cards, he might draw The Hanged Man. He can only hope that Hayley draws Justice as she tries to clear him of murder.
Fatal Reservations is on sale today. You can buy it wherever books are sold. http://www.penguin.com/book/fatal-reservations-by-lucy-burdette/9780451474827
About the author: Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 14 mysteries, including FATAL RESERVATIONS, the latest in the Key West series featuring food critic Hayley Snow. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a past president of Sisters in Crime. Lucy blogs about food and mysteries at Mystery Lovers Kitchen (www.mysteryloverskitchen.com) and Jungle Red Writers (www.jungleredwriters.com). You can also find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lucyburdette), Twitter (www.twitter.com/lucyburdette), Instagram (www.instagram.com/lucyburdette) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib).
Recipe for Hayley’s fudge: http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com/2014/09/murder-with-ganache-and-noccialato.html
Recipe for Cassie’s Hot Dog Casserole: http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com/2012/09/lucy-burdettes-back-to-school-hot-dog.html