Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Date of Publication: August 8th, 2023
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
Series: Key West Food Critic Mystery
An Appetite for Murder—Book 1
Death in Four Courses—Book 2
Topped Chef—Book 3
Murder with Ganache—Book 4
Death With All the Trimmings—Book 5
Fatal Reservations—Book 6
Killer Takeout—Book 7
Death on the Menu—Book 8
A Deadly Feast—Book 9
The Key Lime Crime—Book 10
A Scone of Contention—Book 11
A Dish to Die For—Book 12
A Clue in the Crumbs—Book 13
Food critic Hayley Snow and her pal Miss Gloria are overjoyed to welcome Violet and Bettina Booth, aka the Scottish Scone Sisters, to Key West. The sisters will host The UK Bakes!–Key West Edition. But the same day they arrive, the bed and breakfast the sisters are staying in gets torched.
The contest begins the next morning featuring three local bakers. One is the inn owner’s wife, Rayna, who is not only the most talented chef of the group, but now a person of interest in the fire. The next night, a dogwalker discovers a body near the bed and breakfast. The victim appears to be Rayna’s husband and the murder weapon points directly to the Scottish Scone sisters.
But the show must go on. In between filming sessions, the three elderly ladies and Hayley must search for clues to the brutal murder in order to find out who wants to force them out of the kitchen. But as they draw closer to the answer, the threats from a murderer grow closer too. Are they now in danger of getting baked off?
Since when has a bad resturant review been a motive for murder? That’s precisely what my boss at the style magazine Key Zest texted me when I expressed my rather dramatic reservations about the possible consequences of trashing local eateries.A Clue in the Crumbs by Lucy Burdette
Hayley and her elderly best friend/former roommate, Miss Gloria, were excited to welcome the Scottish baking sensations, The Scone Sisters, to Key West. The trip is to be part pleasure and part work. The sisters are hosting UK Bakes!-Key West Edition and spending time with Hayley and Gloria. Things get off to a rocky start when the bed & breakfast the sisters were supposed to stay at catches on fire. The next day, a murder occurs, which ends up being the husband of one of the contestants and the owner of the B&B. In between taping and sightseeing, Hayley and the girls search for clues. Can Hayley and her friends discover who the killer and arsonist are?
A Clue in the Crumbs was the last of the five books I snatched from Crooked Lane Books on their NetGalley page. As mentioned in previous reviews, I needed to improve in the reading department, mainly the cozy mystery department. So, I went and downloaded five books that were Read Now. The books I downloaded were different, and they varied with how much I liked them. I went from “meh” to “awesome.” A Clue in the Crumbs was on the latter end of that scale. I enjoyed reading it.
A Clue in the Crumbs is the 13th Key West Food Critic Mystery series book. Yes, you read that right; it is book 13. I winced when I noticed that (and I don’t pull them up on Goodreads before I accept them). I figured I would have difficulty keeping up with the storyline. Picking a book that is 13 books in a series made me wonder. But, surprisingly, I didn’t have that issue. Yes, the author mentioned previous books but didn’t make it a point to rehash them. So, what I am trying to say is that, yes, you could read this as a standalone. But I do suggest reading the books in order. That way, you can better grasp Hayley’s relationships with various characters in the book.
A Clue in the Crumbs is a medium-paced mystery. It took me over a day to finish it. The pacing in this book suited it. With everything going on, if the book had gone any faster, it would have taken away from the story. Also, I am notorious for getting lost or forgetting things if the book goes too fast. That didn’t happen here.
This book takes place entirely in Key West, Florida. Key West is somewhere I have been wanting to visit but haven’t had the chance. I liked that the author took real places and used them in the book. It made the book feel more authentic to me. It also made me want to visit Key West.
A Clue in the Crumbs main storyline is the mysteries Hayley and her three elderly friends are trying to solve. The first mystery is who set the fire at the bed and breakfast and why that person did that. The second mystery was who killed the bed and breakfast owner and why. I liked that the author kept the storylines separate but simultaneously similar (if that makes sense). There was some lag in the middle (right around when Bettina got attacked), but the author did a great job of getting the book back on track.
I liked Hayley. I loved that she had such a great relationship with Miss Gloria, and her caring for Gloria was the reason Gloria wasn’t in a retirement home. I also liked that Hayley was human. She made mistakes (like trusting Gloria, Violet, and Bettina not to get into trouble). I wish more background had been given on her job as a food critic in this book. It was mentioned once or twice. But I feel the author gave more attention to her profession in the previous twelve books, which means I need to read them.
Miss Gloria, Bettina, and Violet were the most fabulous old ladies I have ever read. Their shenanigans throughout the book cracked me up and made me fear for their safety. I wanted them to adopt me as a grandmother(s).
The secondary characters also made the book. Each one has a presence that adds extra depth to the book.
The mystery angle of A Clue in the Crumbs was well written. The author started with two mysteries, and she connected them at the end of the book. While I wasn’t surprised at who the arsonist/killer was, that person wasn’t at the top of my suspect list. The author did a great job of diverting my attention from the baking show (which was featured heavily in both mysteries). I did get a small laugh at how everything came together, and I was a bit sad at why that person did what they did.
The end of A Clue in the Crumbs was interesting and exciting. I liked how the author wrapped up the mystery storyline. I was a little miffed at how Miss Gloria’s sons treated her and how they treated Hayley. I also liked the recipes the author included at the end of the book. I also can’t wait to read book 14 in this series.
I recommend A Clue in the Crumbs to anyone over 16. There is mild language, violence, and no sexual situations.
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books, NetGalley, and Lucy Burdette for allowing me to read and review A Clue in the Crumbs. All opinions stated in this book are mine.
If you enjoyed reading this review of A Clue in the Crumbs, then you will enjoy reading these books:
Other books by Lucy Burdette: