Topped Chef, by Lucy Burdette

I am not ashamed to admit how much I love cooking shows, especially the competitions. I love watching people sweat it out, come up with unique dishes and “stand by” their dish, even when it sucks. Naturally, when Topped Chef arrived at my doorstep, I was intrigued. This is the latest installment from Lucy Burdette, featuring Hayley Snow, food and, of course, murder. 

The book came out about a month ago, but if you have not read it yet, it is a good addition to your summer beach bag, Taking place the weekend of the Key West Food and Wine Festival, our reluctant heroine once again finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation, and once she figures out what is going on, she finds herself at gunpoint. Oops. You will have to read the whole thing to see how it turns out.

Meanwhile, Hayley is a judge at a new cooking competition that will launch one of the contestants into national stardom with a TV show of their own. While she takes herself, and her duties as judge, a little too seriously, it is hard not to root for her the entire time. Maybe she just has bad timing (much like Jessica Fletcher, who always seemed to be around murder in the tiny Cabot Cove…)

Any way you slice it, this book is a lot of fun. Follow Hayley through the annual Food and Wine festival (you can come down yourself, next year. Stay tuned for a coupon code as we get closer), enjoy the tales of great food (they have no calories when you just read about them), and if you feel calorie-deprived, check out the recipes in the back of the book.

This is the third installment in the series, and I am already looking forward to number four.

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