Death of a Kitchen Diva has probably been my favorite cozy mystery since I started reading cozy mysteries--and that's saying something, since I read a lot. I thought it might be nice to share my observations on what makes this book special to me:
- The author's outrageous sense of humor. Now, whenever I pick up something by Lee Hollis, I know I'm going to be delightfully surprised and possibly falling off my chair. This book is funny with a capital F.
- The amazing character development. Hayley Powell is one heck of a character. She's relatable, funny, going through problems like all of us, and while she isn't perfect, she tries her best, and that's what makes her awesome. I'd like to know this sleuth in real life!
- The well-woven inclusion of the "theme." I've read cozy mysteries that are supposed to be out, say, birdwatching, and instead, the entire book is focused on sleuthing. While reading a mystery does indicate reading about a fair amount of sleuthing, I pick up most cozy mysteries because I want to know more about the theme. Hayley Powell, our delightful sleuth, writes a food & cocktails column in the local newspaper, and I'm reminded of that often. Hayley loves what she does, and it's very clear in this book. The fact that the recipes at the end of the book turned out amazing definitely helps!
- The subplot. I love Hayley's interactions with her kids, the way she solves her other problems while still being actively involved in the murder. The town she lives in is absolutely charming, and her two best friends have made me laugh so hard my stomach ached. The subplots in this series are a treasure trove of humor and wonderful storytelling.
I'm sure most authors know that humor, character development, inclusion of the theme, and subplots are all good ways to write amazing cozy mysteries--but Lee Hollis does it like no one else. Not only is this book a great example, it's a great read!