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Books, Cooks, And Crooks by Lucy Arlington
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Books, Cooks, And Crooks

by Lucy Arlington

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Celebrity chefs are bringing their entourages and egos to a town festival in Inspiration Valley (North Carolina). The agents of the Novel Idea Literary Agency are working on several events with the chefs. Our heroine, Lila Wilkins, is just one of them.

When one of the chefs dies when a gas oven blows up, it casts a pall on the festivities. When it’s discovered he was murdered, Lila is eager to have the case solved, as the cops aren’t going to allow the chefs to leave until they’re satisfied they have wrung all the information they can from all the possible suspects. And these are not nice folks.

This is the third of the series and I have enjoyed the other two – but #3 did not engage me as much as the others. Although I haven’t read this specific book before, the plot felt familiar … as if I’ve read another very much like it. Maybe I have … or maybe the plot is a bit stale. I see there aren’t any more books in this series so maybe my lukewarm response was typical. ( )
  NewsieQ | Oct 18, 2016 |
Read for Fun (Kindle)
Overall Rating: 4.00
Story Rating: 4.00
Character Rating: 4.00

Read It, Rate It Thoughts: I really enjoyed Books, Cooks, and Crooks by Lucy Arlington! I found the characters delightful, the mystery fun, and the town to be one that I want to visit again. I also may watch Food Network now with a little bit of "I wonder how they are behind the scenes" LOL

Part of my Read It, Rate It, File It, DONE! Reviews ( )
  thehistorychic | Nov 11, 2015 |
Because I'd read book four, Played by the Book, first, I was already spoiled for a few revelations in book three, Books, Cooks, and Crooks. I still enjoyed it, except for two things: Why didn't heroine Lila Wilkins or her cop beau, Officer Sean Griffiths, ask an obvious question after the first incident? No one seemed to have thought to save the vomit left in another scene, let alone have it analyzed. Neither omission made Lila or the Dunstan police look good.

In this entry, Novel Idea Literary Agency has put together a 'Taste of the Town' festival, which includes authors who have written about food. Lila loves chef Klara Patrick's show, 'Tales From the Table'. Her new book, My Grandmother's Hearth, is coming out the same day as that of another celebrity chef, Joel Lang's, Fusing Asian. Three more celebrity chefs who are also Novel Idea clients are Charlene Jacques (boo title?), Leslie Sterling, author of Over the Top, and Maurice Bruneau, author of Flavor is Everything. (Bruneau is available in case one of the chefs can't perform. Good thing he's on hand.) A chef who owns a St. John's Bistro in two big cities, Bryce St. John, is the handsomest. His book, Samplings From St. John's, isn't new.

Doug Corby, famous food critic, has had the joy of his new book becoming a 'New York Times' bestseller. A Foodie's Diary: Meals Worth Remembering (and some not so much) sounds interesting. Because I'm a fan of old cartoons, I like the fact that he twirled his mustache in chapter eight.

The festival, aside from murder, sounds wonderful. I'd have loved to have attended the food from children's literature segment. I don't know if I'd have cared for the foods prepared to honor famous lovers, but Joel Lang's summary of the Chinese tale, 'The Butterfly Lovers' was my favorite.

Among other eateries in Inspiration Valley, I wish I could visit their ice cream parlor, the Snow Queen. In fact, there are so many delicious-sounding dishes described that you might want to make sure you read this book with a full stomach.

If you're yearning for the romantic, you'll enjoy the actions of Makayla's secret admirer. The scene where he revealed himself to Lila's beautiful friend was special!

There aren't as many tips for aspiring authors in this entry, although there is a cautionary tale. Poetry lovers will be given some poets' names and there's an author recommendation for Tolkien fans.

Now, alas, I must wait for book five.

Notes:

Warning -- chapter 1 contains a spoiler for Agatha Christie's Miss Marple book, At Bertram's Hotel.

See chapter 2 for a charming story about Big Ed of Catcher in the Rye sandwich shop/café and Nell of Sixpence Bakery, two regular supporting characters.

A tour of the Marlette Robbins Center for the Arts appears in chapter 3, although a display honoring that author is described in chapter 2.

See chapter 11 for what Lila said Makayla was to Inspiration Valley and MaKayla's reply.

See chapter 14 for how Flora & Brian Merriweather got their two 17-year-old cats, Skimbleshanks & Fiddle (short for Firefrorefiddle).

See ch. 16 for an anonymous poem quoted that one need not be a mother to appreciate. ( )
  JalenV | Aug 9, 2015 |
Books, Cooks, And Crooks is the 3rd book in the A Novel Idea Mystery series.

Exciting time are on the horizon for the Novel Idea Literary Agency and Inspiration Valley as everyone is getting ready for the cookbook fair. Some of the top chefs from around the country. At the welcoming dinner for the participating chefs their huge ego's begin to shine and nerves get on edge. After the dinner, Joel Lang, Japanese fusion chef, heads for kitchen where the next days competition will be held. As he turns on the stove, there is an explosion in the kitchen that kills Lang. Lila has the utmost confidence in her boyfriend, Sean Griffths', investigating skills, but this hits to close for her not to get involved in the investigation. Then, when Chef Klara is poisoned, Lila knows she has to dig in with her sleuthing.

The staff at the Novel Idea Literary Agency, played a lesser role in this book than in previous ones, but the reader has a chance to get to know Makayla, owner of Expresso Yourself, Lila's first stop in the morning. Makayla's tip jar has recently been getting been getting romantic type poetry wrapped in a two dollar bill recently, but has never been able to see who has been leaving them. And in one of the more touching scenes in the book, Makayla meets her secret admirer. The reader is also introduced to Jay Coleman, the new owner of the Constant Reader bookstore. And Jay just might be the one to write the sequel to Marlette's exciting novel that made it possible for Inspiration Valley to have the Arts Center where the cooking competition is taking place. Trey, Lila's son is home from college and provides his mother were more reasons to be so proud of her son.

So looking forward to the next story from Inspiration Valley. ( )
  FredYoder | May 8, 2015 |
Lila Watkins and her coworkers at the Novel Idea Literary Agency are busy running the Taste of the Town Festival. Among the guests are several authors who prove to be quite a handful. As difficult as they are to work with, Lila is still shocked when one of the cooks is murdered. Lila’s boyfriend, police officer Sean Griffith, is investigating the case but Lila soon finds herself caught up in also investigating the case. She needs to be careful as her snooping may land her in hot water.

“Books, Cooks, and Crooks” is the third book in Lucy Arlington's (authors Ellery Adams and Sylvia May) a Novel Idea cozy mystery series - a series that gets stronger with every book. The setting - both the literary agency and the taste of the Town Festival is a nice one – you are bound to get hungry while reading this book! What struck me the most about this book is the theme of love throughout it - love in all its shapes and sizes good and bad: love that is still growing; love between a mother and child; love that is just blossoming; love that is still (unfortunately) forbidden in many places; betrayal; unrequited love; and more. Even the recipes the chefs create are based on literary lovers. This theme is carried throughout the book and makes for some sad, heartbreaking moments as well as some romantic moments - including one very romantic moment that would equal anything found in a romance novel and had me smiling the whole time I was reading it. The mystery itself is well plotted with more than a few surprises and readers will have a hard time figuring out who the killer is.

You'll be hooked not only on “Books, Cooks, and Crooks” but the entire series! ( )
  drebbles | Sep 29, 2014 |
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This series would never have existed without
the friendship of two women.
Both of us, Jennifer and Sylvia, are honored
to call many of our readers friends.
Books continue to unite people. Like friendship, they will stand the test of time. Thank you, readers and friends everywhere.
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After a long day of contract negotiations, phone calls to authors and editors, and a meeting with my fellow literary agents, the last thing I expected was to come home to find my kitchen on fire.
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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.… (more)

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