Book Review - Death of a Kitchen Diva


By Craig Thornton

Like a luxurious foot massage, a huge mug of hot chocolate with a mountain of whip cream or your favorite glass of Pinot Grigio on a Friday after a grueling work week, Death of a Kitchen Diva, by Lee Hollis takes you to your happy place.

Set in Bar Harbor Maine, Death of a Kitchen Diva follows the often hilarious misadventures of food columnist turned sleuth Hayley Powell.  A single mother of two teenagers, Hayley is the lively office manager of the small town paper “The Island Times.”  When the nonagenarian food columnist finally resigns, Hayley takes on the job.  After all she is a whiz in the kitchen and she needs the extra money desperately.  This fun and lucrative plan turns serious quickly as Hayley’s rival, Karen Applebaum (food columnist at the “Bar Harbor Herald”) is murdered with a deadly Clam Chowder recipe and Hayley becomes the prime suspect.

 This comic mystery is chock full of small town intrigue and hysterical, deftly drawn characters.  These include a mysterious, sexy landscaper, an unbathed survivalist who lives on the far side of the island, a gay Brazilian chief of police whose trouble with English provides funny malapropisms and a mother, with a slew of children, who drives a Lobster boat.

 The comic elements don’t deter from the impeccable structure, which keeps you turning pages as quickly as you can stir your Lobster Bisque recipe. Hayley dogs down every lead possible, putting her own life in jeopardy to uncover the real killer as she tries to clear her name.  Sprinkled throughout the novel are great recipes taken directly from Hayley’s columns which are published as separate chapters in the book.  At the end of the book, there is a complete dinner menu with cocktails, appetizers and dessert. It is a comic recipe mystery!


Lee Hollis is a nom de plume, for a brother/sister writing team and art imitates life in Death of a Kitchen Diva as the sister writes for a Bar Harbor, Maine newspaper.  Her column is an entertaining take on her daily personal life, with great recipes tossed in. The brother is a veteran film and television writer who has also published four mystery novels.  What a fantastic writing team.  Kensington Publishing has given the duo a three book deal, with Death of a Kitchen Diva being released on March 4, 2012 and the next book Death of a Country Fried Redneck due out in November, 2012. You can buy the book from Amazon – check out the author’s page.

 Check out the Lee Hollis Blog HERE

 Check out Rick Copp’s website HERE




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Chris Buss said on Tuesday, May 22 at 1:02 AM

I loved it. I'm not that crazy about cooking but I'm even going to try some of the recipes. It was fun to read and, being a mom myself, I could relate to her character.

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