photographing, cooking, laughing through life

Book Review: Death of a Kitchen Diva by Lee Hollis

I picked up this book at our local bookstore (if you are in Emporia support Town Crier!! because I was in need of an “antonym” book.  I’m participating in a reading challenge this summer over at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life and read a book last month called “The Life List.” While I was perusing the shelves at Town Crier, I decided to search out a book with death in the title – so I could check that category off my list. I also realized that I needed to read a mystery for the summer reading challenge at the public library, so I figured I would check out the paperback mysteries.

I discovered the book “Death of a Kitchen Diva,” by Lee Hollis.  Lee Hollis is actually the brother/sister writing duo of Rick Kopp (who was a writer for “The Golden Girls”) and Holly Simason (a food columnist).  The book is considered a Cozy Mystery – which basically means it takes place in a picturesque little town (this one is in Bar Harbor, Maine), doesn’t have too many gory details or adult situations, and deals with some colorful characters. This particular book series (and this one is the first in the series) is about a divorced newspaper office manager – turned food and cocktails columnist who ends up playing detective in a murder investigation where she is the prime suspect.

The novel begins with the main character Hayley Powell being arrested for the death of rival food columnist Karen Appelbaum when Appelbaum is found dead (by Hayley) in a bowl of Hayley’s clam chowder soup.  The book then goes back in time to how we ended up at that moment she was arrested.  The cast of characters include Hayley’s brother, who is partners with the local police chief, Sergio; her best friends – one who is a real estate agent up on the latest fashions and the other who is a perpetually pregnant lobster woman; along with two men who are vying for her attention – fellow newsroom worker Bruce and Lex, a man with some mystery of his own.

First off, I wasn’t really expecting much from this book – I wanted a quick and easy read, and that’s exactly what I got.  I did enjoy the journalistic side of things (surprise, surprise) and I enjoyed reading Hayley’s columns which are interspersed throughout the book and include recipes.  The story itself wasn’t spectacular, but it did keep me guessing. I also enjoyed the colorful supporting characters.

If you are looking for a quick read that doesn’t require a whole lot of thinking, pick up one of the Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mysteries (there are now 5 in the series).

Book Review: “Death of a Kitchen Diva,” by Lee Hollis 3/5 stars.


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