I am so happy to welcome Lucy Burdette here today.
“One cat just leads to another. . . . The place is so damned big it doesn’t really seem as though there were many cats until you see them all moving like a mass migration at feeding time. . . .” Ernest Hemingway
I’m so pleased to be invited to post today on Dollycas’s blog in celebration of Murder With Ganache–-the fourth book in my Key West foodie mystery series. Following along with the theme of “escapes,” I thought I’d chat about my idea of a perfect escape on this island.
Key West, where I live most of the year and where my food critic series takes place, is a busy, lively town, chock full of tourists, and artists, and homeless folks, and people yearning to dodge a dreary winter. Oh yes, it can be crowded and noisy. But there are several spots visit when I need a little peace to unwind.
One of these special places is the estate where Ernest Hemingway lived from 1931-1939. It’s a gorgeous, private piece of land, including a wonderful old home, the attached studio that housed Hemingway’s office, and an amazing pool with tropical gardens. One of the most-loved features of the property is the colony of cats who live on the premises, allegedly descendants of Hemingway’s felines.
When I met a woman who worked as one of the cat caretakers at the Hemingway House and began to learn more about the cats, I knew I’d want to use this place in my next book. Here’s how my main character Hayley describes it in Murder With Ganache:
It’s almost impossible to enter the grounds inside the wall surrounding Hemingway’s house without feeling your blood pressure drop a few points. The house is gorgeous–a two story white structure with tall arched windows flanked by lemon-colored shutters and porches that wrap all the way around both floors. And the landscape is green and tropical, a haven for the fifty plus glossy, polydactyl felines that make their home here. My favorite vacillated between Rudy Valentino, a yellow tiger, and Duke Ellington, a gray striper who spent his afternoons stretched along a railing near the entrance so visitors could admire him. Evinrude hated it when I came home smelling of Hemingway cats, turning his nose and whiskers up at my feeble explanations.
If you look carefully at this photo of the new book (shown here with one of Hayley’s favorite cats, Duke Ellington), you’ll see that the Hemingway House made the cover! In Murder With Ganache, Hayley’s best friend Connie is getting married and all of Hayley’s family has come to help her celebrate. That includes her father, stepmother, mother, mother’s boyfriend, and her grumpy teenage stepbrother. Juggling the personalities and making sure everyone gets enough of what they need–let’s just say Hayley’s got a very full plate.
This book may be about Hemingway cats, and cupcakes, and wedding angst, and a murder mystery, but in the end, it’s also about finding and embracing family in whatever form they come. I hope you’ll settle in and enjoy a few hours of tropical escape–but fix yourself a snack first–you’re going to need it!
About This Author
Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 12 mysteries, including 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.
Murder With Ganache:
A Key West Food Critic Mystery
4th in Series
An Obsidian Mystery (February 4, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
E-Book File Size: 1598 KB
Hayley Snow, the food critic for Key Zest magazine, has her plate heaped high with restaurant reviews, doughnut and sticky bun tastings, and an article on the Hemingway cats. But this week she’s also in charge of her best friend’s wedding. And then someone adds a side of murder…
Connie and Ray are getting married. Connie’s family is Hayley’s family since her mom passed away and she hasn’t seen her father in years. So Hayley’s parents and their significant others have arrived in Key West for the wedding and brought all the family drama with them. That includes Hayley’s teenage stepbrother Rory. The last thing a teenage boy want to do is attend a bridal shower or go sightseeing with his mother and stepfather. He convinces his mother to let him go off my himself for just a couple of hours but of course he misses his curfew. In fact he still has arrived back my morning. This sets off a search for him and leads to all kinds of trouble. Will Hayley be able to get Rory out of the hot water he has gotten himself or will be extending his stay in a Florida jail cell.
Oh I would love to be in Key West right now instead freezing here in Wisconsin. Thanks to Lucy Burdette I was able to have a mini escape there. She really has outdone herself with this installment.
Hayley is a super strong character that just jumps off the page but really struck me with this story was the interaction between her mom and step-mom. The usual angst was there of her mom being jealous of the relationship Hayley has with her step-mom but the way a tragedy brings these women together just warmed my heart. In this day and age it is sometimes hard for divorced couples to put their children first whether the children are 2, 15, or 30. I was really happy to see the two sides of the family come together.
The story had a wonderful mystery and plenty of twists in both the main plot and the subplot. There were a lot of characters in this story but it was very easy to follow. I missed the tarot card reader that was prevalent in the previous books. We had a glimpse of him but not the usual Hayley visits.
Lucy Burdette is a great cozy author. I look forward to my visits to Key West. I can’t wait for my next trip.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”