MISS GLORIA: I hate to see my roommate Hayley so worried and sad. I know she’s thinking about Valentine’s Day, wondering whether the man she loves will come through. She imagines that if she just bakes the right cake, he’ll feel how much she cares and then open his heart to her. It’s so sweet, but it breaks my heart a little bit, too. I want to take her hand and tell her that she’ll know the time’s right when a man makes it clear that he’s crazy about her. She’ll know then, whether the cake has fresh raspberries in the frosting, or is covered with Swiss chocolate ganache, or whether it’s stale coffeecake from the grocery store. She’ll know. And then I want to take that man by the shoulders and shake him until his teeth rattle. I might even tell him she’s worth a hundred of him. An old lady should have the right to speak her mind, don’t you think?
And though Hayley hasn’t said it out loud, I know she doesn’t like my new job as tour guide in the Key West cemetery. I love wandering through that beautiful, peaceful space right smack in the middle of busy Key West and learning the stories of the people who came before us. Some funny, some tragic, some ordinary, but all worth remembering.
The dead don’t scare me a bit—it’s the living we have to be afraid of sometimes.
Hayley thinks all that death will rub off on me and I’ll drop over stone cold one day. Good gravy, as she herself would say, I’m hovering on the edge of eighty—it’s going to happen sometime. So in the meanwhile, seize every minute, right? Have a piece of cake—have two, if it’s homemade! And tell the people you care about how much you love them. That’s it for an old lady’s advice today. I’m going to take a little nap with the cats before my shift starts.
You can read more about Miss Gloria in Fatal Reservations, the sixth book in the “Key West Food Critic” mystery series, published by Obsidian. The first book in the series is An Appetite For Murder.
About FATAL RESERVATIONS
In the sixth Key West Food Critic mystery, Hayley Snow’s beat is reviewing restaurants for Key Zest magazine. But she sets aside her knife and fork when a dear friend is accused of murder. . .
Hayley Snow looks forward to reviewing For Goodness’ Sake, a new floating restaurant that promises a fresh take on Japanese delicacies like flambeed grouper with locally sourced seaweed. But nearby land-based restaurateurs would rather see their buoyant competition sink.
Sent to a City Commission meeting to cover the controversy, Hayley witnesses another uproar. The quirky performers of the daily Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square are struggling to hold onto their performance space. And this fight has renewed old rivalries between Hayley’s Tarot-card reading friend Lorenzo and a flaming-fork-juggling nemesis, Bart Frontgate. Then Frontgate is found murdered. If Lorenzo could read his own cards, he might draw The Hanged Man. He can only hope that Hayley draws Justice as she tries to clear him of murder.
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About the author
Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) is the author of 14 mysteries, including Fatal Reservations, the latest in the Key West series featuring food critic Hayley Snow and her houseboat roommate, Miss Gloria. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a past president of Sisters in Crime. In the throes of a mid-life crisis, Lucy realized that the work of the detective in a mystery has quite a bit in common with long-term psychotherapy: Start with a problem, follow the threads looking for clues, and gradually fill in the big picture. So her career move from clinical psychologist to mystery writer turned out to be a natural progression. Like her food critic character in the Key West series, she is passionate about food. [Photo by Carol Tedesco]
Visit Lucy at www.lucyburdette.com