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Topped Chef: A Key West Food Critic Mystery Mass Market Paperback – May 7, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Key West, Food Critic series praise:


“What fun! Lucy Burdette writes evocatively about Key West and food—a winning combination. I can’t wait for the next entry in this charming series.”—New York Times bestselling author Diane Mott Davis

“Food, fun, and felonies. What more could a reader ask for?”—New York Times bestselling author Lorna Barrett

“For a true taste of paradise, don’t miss An Appetite for Murder. Lucy Burdette’s first Key West Food Critic mystery combines a lush, tropical setting, a mysterious murder, and plenty of quirky characters. The victim may not be coming back for seconds, but readers certainly will!”—Julie Hyzy, national bestselling author of the White House Chef mysteries and Manor House mysteries

“[A] yummy sequel to An Appetite for Murder...anyone who’s ever overpaid for a pretentious restaurant meal will relish this witty cozy.”—Publishers Weekly 
 

About the Author

Clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib, aka Lucy Burdette, has had ten previous mysteries published. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.
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Product Details

  • Series: Key West Food Critic (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; 4.7.2013 edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451239709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451239709
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nancy Narma on May 7, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Red-sneakered Food Critic, Hayley Snow has done what she has dreaded since she was hired--write a bad review on a local restaurant. She had given the place three tries with mediocre to poor meals each time. She had to be honest, for "Key Zest Online Magazine's" sake as well as her own integrity. This added more stress to her already "full plate". She goes to scope out the "Key West Food and Wine Festival" for a future article but has the upcoming date with the off-times sarcastic, "I'm-to-sexy-for-my-badge" Detective Nate Bransford in the back of her mind, as well as her duties as "Maid of Honor"
in her best friend, Connie's wedding.
When her boss, Wally, hoping for some good publicity for the magazine as well as some "Inside Skinny", assigns Hayley to be a judge for the reality cooking show "Topped Chef", being filmed in Key West, she agrees, figuring it will be fun as well as help her career. Little does she know that one of the judges is the owner of the sub-standard restaurant she just reviewed! You'll enjoy the zany and sometimes pompous chefs vying for this thrust into culinary stardom as well as the varying personalities of the judges. Everything seems to be going along fairly smoothly until, in a bizarre twist of fate, one of the judges is murdered, followed by several strange coincidences. Would one of the chefs want the honor of "Topped Chef" that badly, that they would kill for it? Or is another judge at fault?
Or are the remaining judges in danger also? Will Hayley and Nate finally "find each other"? Will Connie and Ray have a "Pirate-themed" wedding? I enjoyed this book immensely.
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This is a fun series. All the characters are likeable and real. Hayley is smart and unlike some protagonists in these kinds of books, she doesn't jump to wild conclusions and when she learns something the cops should know about, she actually TELLS them. Good for her.
You can tell the author knows and loves Key West. I felt like I was right there.
There was one thing that didn't make a lot of sense though.
Hayley is one of 3 judges for a cooking competition but the final winner is not decided by the judges but is decided by the volume of applause from the audience. What was the point of the judges?
The identity of the murderer was a surprise but the motive for the murder was a little lame.
But all in all, I loved it and can't wait for the next installment.
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In Key West, Florida, Hayley Snow is tooling around town on her little pink motorcycle, tasting and reporting in the KEY ZEST MAGAZINE, on all the restaurant meals she has eaten there. Too bad that she had to pan the last restaurant, but Sam Rizzoli was a selfish councilman and an even worse restauranteur. She loves her new job and her life with elderly, Miss Gloria, and their two cats aboard Miss Gloria's docked boat. The hope of great dates with dreamy detective Bransford kept her blood warm also. But when her boss all but forced her into the roll of Topped Chef judge for the new reality TV show, trouble brews when Sam is murdered.

This third book in the Key West Food Critic series is a real treat, full of references to true life chefs and wonderful sounding foods, plus literary references to foods from other books that head every chapter. My favorite is a take on the French phrase for preparing individual ingredients before putting a food dish together--mise en place. The quote from Pete Wells that Lucy Burdette used was: " Mise en place ( meez en PLASS) comes from restaurant kitchens, where a brigade of helpers spends the day gathering everything ready for the dinner rush. It comes from the French phrase meaning 'make the new guy do it."

Loads of humor, food references, and a delicious mystery fill the pages. Her interesting characters return in this book, including her homeless characters that Burdette wonderfully humanizes, her Tarot card reading friend, her gay psychologist best friend, and her take-charge mom from New Jersey. This mystery draws you in immediately and keep you on a merry chase through food exploits and near dangerous escapes till the culprit is finally captured In the end. I think this book builds interest with the great fun of food and mysteries in Key West.
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If I lived in Key West, I would read Key Zest magazine and want to befriend Hayley Snow! Lucy Burdette created a character who is charming, smart and not always perfect - just like real life!
This story is about a reality TV cooking show. Anyone who watches this kind of program can believe all of the craziness Hayley deals with. She's a really good cook, too; and lives on a house boat with a sweet elderly lady (who is another fun character). Too bad Hayley can't find a guy. In Topped Chef, it looks like she might have a relationship with one of the investigating officers...no spoiler here!
There's food, murder (in true cozy style - not so graphic as to be repugnant) and lots of real-life like situations. Cozies are a favorite genre and I'm ready to start another Hayley Snow adventure!
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