Secret chef Lilah Drake has a killer casserole to deal with in the latest Undercover Dish mystery from the author of Cheddar Off Dead....
Customers trust Lilah Drake to keep her mouthwatering meals under wraps, but when a millionaire meets his untimely end, some sinister secrets become the main course. . . .
Spring is right around the corner, and with the warmer temperatures come plenty of food requests from Lilah Drake's covered-dish clients. Lilah pulls out all the stops with a sweet new casserole for the birthday party of Marcus Cantwell, a wealthy curmudgeon who has some angry ex-wives and more than a few enemies.
When he's found facedown in Lilah's casserole, it's anyone's guess as to who might have wanted the old man dead. A possible new heir to Marcus’s fortune adds some unexpected spice to the investigation, but Lilah fears that the old adage is true, and "the proof is in the pudding."
Third book in series!
Pudding Up with Murder by Julia Buckley is the third cozy mystery in An Undercover Dish Mystery series. Lilah Drake works as a secret chef in her spare time (when not working at Pine Haven Caterer’s). Lilah along with her dog, Mick are attending the birthday party of Marcus Cantwell. She prepared a rice pudding for her client, Ellie Parker to take to the event. After speaking with Marcus, Lilah is given a tour and the dish on the family by Cash Cantwell. When Lilah goes back to the kitchen, people are enjoying the rice pudding. Marcus enters the kitchen with an empty bowl of rice pudding and collapses. Thankfully, Detective Maria Grimaldi was on hand to secure the scene and quickly gather evidence. Who disliked Marcus enough to murder him? When Cash ends up being a prime suspect, Lilah starts looking at the extended family to find the real killer.
I found Pudding Up with Murder to be easy to read and it had a decent pace. The mystery was straightforward and one detail gives away the identity of the murderer. I could pinpoint the killer early in the story. I felt the romance dominated the book (I like a little romance, but I this was over-the-top). I quickly tired of Lilah mooning over Jay and Jay’s jealousy over Angelo Cardelini (it was ridiculous). I wanted more investigation and less day-to-day activities. There is cooking, walking the dog, dates, friends, and work. These elements make up a significant portion of the book. My rating for Pudding Up with Murder is 3 out of 5 stars. I do not quite buy into concept of a secret chef. Why would anyone be ashamed about not cooking or not wanting to cook? What am I missing? I was not enthralled with Lilah, but I did enjoy Mick, the dog (a cutie). Pudding Up with Murder can be a standalone. For cozy mystery readers who prefer the emphasis on cozy, then you will appreciate Pudding Up with Murder.