Monday, October 12, 2015

Cozy Monday

The Big Chili (Undercover Dish Mystery #1) by Julia Buckley (Berkley Prime Crime mass market paperback, 6 October 2015).

Lilah Drake has a secret.

When she's not working at her parents' real estate agency, she cooks for other people who don't have the time/energy/skill to do it themselves.   These people also don't want it known that the food they're serving was made by someone else.  Lilah doesn't mind (too much), as the money she earns is being saved for her Catering Business fund.

She's had no trouble with her deceptions, until the unpleasant Alice Dixon dies after tasting Lilah's chili con carne at a church function.  Nonetheless, Pet Grandy, who is taking credit for the dish, urges Lilah to keep her secret.  Lilah is uneasy about this, but agrees.

She feels even worse when she meets the detective in charge of the case, Jacob (Jay) Parker. Not only does Jacob happen to be the son of Ellie, one of Lilah's best customers, he's very handsome.

Lilah tries hard to convince herself she's not attracted to Jay, has to be very careful not to spill the beans (pun intended) about who really made the chili.  To assuage her conscience, she begins her own investigation into the murder.

Unusually for a cozy, the story is told in the first person, from Lilah's point of view.  As a result, we are able to identify with her strongly as we follow along with her thought processes while she conducts her investigation.

The town of Pine Haven, Illinois, and its residents are believable without being either clich├ęd or abnormal. Lilah is a smart, likeable protagonist, though she does tend to overthink things.  

Recipes for some of Lilah's creations are included at the end of the book.

The publisher has generously offered a copy of THE BIG CHILI to one of my readers. Please comment below by 12:01 a.m. on October 19, and don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of the book.


  1. I am unfamiliar with Julia Buckley, but LOVE culinary mysteries, and this looks to be a good one. Great post, and please put my name in the hat. pattie.tierney@gmail.com

  2. This sounds like a good start to a new series. Thanks for the giveaway! dmskrug3(at)hotmail(dot)com

    1. I think so, Daniele. Thanks for dropping by!

  3. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy. stoeser1@pie.midco.net

  4. Oooo, this one sounds yummy.
    lizstraw at sbcglobal dot net

  5. Undercover Dish Mystery - I love this idea! I'm not a big chili fan but if someone with a terrific recipe would make it for me and my unsuspecting guests I could learn to love it.

  6. This sounds like a fun new series. Thanks for the review

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

  7. I am not familiar with this author. This looks like a fun book.
    lraines78 at gmail dot com

  8. I love the cover. It looks as if you could step right into it for a taste of the various chilis. Thanks for the review and for the chance to win a copy of the book. robeader53@yahoo.com

  9. Would love to read this series!!! Especially love it when there are recipes!!!!!!!

  10. Sounds great! I always love culinary mysteries! Thanks for the chance!

  11. This sounds like a delightful read! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win! NRNMG@aol.com