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An Appetite for Murder is perfectly analogous with its main McGuffin, a key lime pie. It’s fluffy, too sweet, and if you try to lift it off of the plate it’s presented on, everything sort of falls apart. Yeah, sure, it tastes good and goes down easily (kinda like your mom), but you wouldn’t want to eat it for dinner every day.
We open in Key West, Florida, as author Lucy Burdette demands you acknowledge fifty times a chapter. To be fair, Ms. Burdette must have more than a passing acquaintance with the town, as landmarks are referenced and an actual geographical pattern begins to emerge with a consistent community feel. Unfortunately, that motif is if Jimmy Buffett and San Francisco had a baby; tacky flamingos and high cost of living everywhere.
Hayley Snow is our protagonist and narrator, because all light and breezy mysteries have to be first person. She lives in a borrowed houseboat room with a college friend due to one hell of a month. She moved to Key West during a whirlwind romance from New Jersey, found the boyfriend cheating on her, and got kicked out. She uses this time to have overly-efficient phone conversations with several people, including a best-friend psychologist. What is this, The Room? Oh hai, murder mystery!
|You will never convince me this isn't what the book character looked like, too|
Yeah, so the woman her boyfriend was sleeping with turns up dead weeks after the whole fight goes down, Haley’s the main suspect, it’s a whole thing. Not only was she the other woman, the corpse was also shaping up to be her prospective new boss at a lifestyle magazine where Haley wants to be a food critic. That’s also a whole thing.
Honestly, at this level of inspection, the plot functions well. We’re introduced to a shapely little who-dun-it, with appropriately paced clues, false leads, and danger to the people around Haley. It’s like a Raymond Chowder novel. Get it? Popular mystery author, eh what do you know about funny.
Haley’s a food critic, right, so the whole murder thing sometimes takes a back seat to her going to restaurants and eating things and then typing on her phone. She doesn’t bring a pad and paper because she wants an honest meal, which I can appreciate. But dawg. Your phone? Typing anything longer than “yep” or “damn I’m out of Pokeballs again” is impossible.
If your favorite part of the Game of Thrones books was the weird descriptions of the suppers they ate, you probably still shouldn’t read this book. It even ended in recipes!
I can’t give the whole plot away, cause it’s a mystery and all. It’s pretty well done, all in all, and unlike a steak, that’s a good thing. So, I thought I should give in to that Key West kitsch and review this book based on taste.