Lucy Burdette's amateur sleuth Hayley Snow has always seemed overwhelmed by her life. And, nothing could be worse than what she faces in Murder with Ganache, but she handles all the turmoil with panache.
Hayley's problems begin when she's baking cupcakes for her best friend's wedding, and her cats tear across the cupcakes as they escape from the neighbor's dog. She's trying to balance her maid of honor duties, including baking two hundred cupcakes with her food critic job at Key Zest magazine. Throw in the job of hosting her divorced parents and their current partners. Does she need a sullen fifteen-year-old stepbrother in the mix?
Events spin out of control beginning at the wedding shower when Hayley persuades Rory's mother to allow him to go out to Duval Street for the evening. When the teen doesn't return, Hayley spends a sleepless night looking for the boy who's now a suspect in the theft of a Jet Ski. That's bad enough, but he disappeared with a runaway girl. When Rory turns up bleeding and unconscious, and the girl is found dead, it's easy to suspect him. Food might be soothing in the crisis, but Hayley has to probe into her stepbrother's secrets in order to help him.
To be honest, I haven't always been a fan of Hayley Snow. She was originally too naive for my taste, and seemed too ditzy. But, in Murder with Ganache, she's the linchpin. She successfully juggles complex family relationships, wedding preparations and complications, and taste-testing food for her day job. The author focuses on difficult family relationships in this well-developed mystery. Oh, yes. Don't forget there's an investigation involving a dead teen. Lucy Burdette skillfully brings all those elements together in a strong mystery that manages to showcase Key West and food while bemoaning the tragic loss of a young girl.
Lucy Burdette's website is www.lucyburdette.com
Murder with Ganache by Lucy Burdette. Obsidian. 2014. ISBN 9780451465894 (paperback), 307p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.