Book Review: BOOKS, COOKS, AND CROOKS by Lucy Arlington

Series: A Novel Idea Mystery, #3
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Source: Review copy from publisher

The national bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries are back, as Lila Wilkins—literary agent and sleuth—is setting up a delicious cookbook fair. But the tension in the kitchen is about to boil over…

Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, is bubbling with excitement for the Taste of the Town festival, and Lila is right in the middle of it all. Along with her coworkers at the Novel Idea Literary Agency, Lila is organizing a grand celebrity chef event, featuring food television’s biggest stars, complete with cooking demonstrations, cookbook giveaways, and even a culinary writing contest.

But just as the celebration is about to start, the demo kitchen blows up, taking one of the star cooks with it. With all the explosive egos of the cook’s colleagues, it’s hard to find someone who didn’t have a motive to eliminate the competition. Now Lila will have to scramble to figure out which of her clients is a killer—before someone else gets burned.


I love this series! BOOKS, COOKS, AND CROOKS is Lucy Arlington’s third mystery set in the charming town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina. It’s springtime, and the Taste of the Town festival is underway. Literary agent Lila Wilkins has organized the “Cooks and Books” event, with A-list celebrity chefs set to demonstrate their skills and promote their latest cookbooks. Unfortunately their charismatic personalities on television are just for show. Lila quickly discovers that behind the scenes the chefs are fiercely competitive with each other, and sometimes downright mean. The night before the cooking demonstration is to take place, one of the celebrity chefs dies in an explosion, which turns out to have been intentionally set. Soon Lila is wrapped up in another murder mystery and putting her amateur sleuthing skills to work.

I love the literary theme of the Novel Idea Mysteries, and this latest book appeals to the foodie in me as well! I enjoyed the mouth-watering descriptions of the dishes. Yum. The mystery itself was fast paced and well crafted. There were several possible suspects, as well as several colorful secondary characters from Inspiration Valley, but the author made them easy to get to know and remember. I wasn’t absolutely certain of whodunit until Lila was. I’m touched by Lila’s bond with those closest to her: son Trey, mother Althea, boyfriend Sean, and best friend Makayla. It was especially great to see Sean and Lila’s relationship moving forward.

BOOKS, COOKS, AND CROOKS is a tantalizing mystery that’s sure to delight fans of culinary and literary cozies alike. Highly recommended!

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.