Guilty as Charred
(A Cook-Off Mystery)
by Devon Delaney
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About the Book
Guilty as Charred (A Cook-Off Mystery)
3rd in Series
Kensington (June 25, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Digital ASIN: B07HVYY7KN
Sherry Oliveri has attained celebrity status after winning the America’s Good Taste Recipe Contest with her delectable New England Crab Cake Sliders. But now that she’s back home in Connecticut, she’s got to deal with something else fishy . . .
Sherry’s making a guest appearance on a local radio show when the news comes in: Poppy Robinson has been found dead in the town’s community garden. Sherry was supposed to be taking questions about her win in the national cooking competition, but instead the callers start dishing dirt.
Poppy and Sherry were both involved in the vegetable garden, and while Poppy may have been a bit priggish, it wasn’t anything that called for a shovel to the back of the head. There was already trouble brewing, with the owner of the land threatening to renege on their agreement, and this murder has taken tensions to a new level. Now while Sherry’s organizing a Fourth of July cook-off event, she’s also got a murder investigation on her plate . . .
Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!
About the Author
Guest Post by the Author
Cooking Competitor and Author
I am often asked how I made the transition from cooking contest hobbyist to cozy murder mystery author. My answer is, for me writing winning recipes is very much like writing a novel. A recipe that will catch the judge’s eye needs a good title. After that it must be laid out clearly. Every word has to add to the recipe’s story. The written recipe has a beginning, middle and end. If the judges can’t visualize a fantastic dish while reading your words the recipe is tossed in the reject pile. If a manuscript is unclear, misdirected, and unapproachable, it meets the same fate.
While cooking and competing may seem two diametrically opposed activities to many, they do not to me. Yes, cooking is considered one of the strongest expressions of love and care one can do for their family and friends. And yes, the goal of competing in anything is to beat everyone else and come out on top. I’ve had great success combining the two and it remains one of my favorite hobbies. Made sense I should combine competitive cooking with my next favorite hobby, writing. I have even won a food essay contest with my essay titled, “Ode To Pork Passion.”
Is the term cooking competition an oxymoron? Not exactly, I say. Yes, there’s such a thing as friendly competition, but why take part in a cook-off to make friends. (That’s not a question.) Growing up in a large, competitive family with members who played sports, attended prestigious universities and held down rigorously demanding jobs, pitting my talents against another seemed the norm. Admittedly, the kitchen is an unlikely arena for a contest.
Don’t get me wrong. I can make a meal with the sole motivation being the love and appreciation of my family. It’s just that I’ve been competing in recipe contests and cook-offs for over twenty years. I got the bug when my children were very young. I learned to choose the contests that best suited what my family would prefer as a meal, so I could combine feeding everyone with practicing for an upcoming competition.
I got the idea to author a cozy murder mystery series, based on my experiences in cook-offs, because, while I’ve never witnessed or heard of a murder at a cook-off, I know first-hand the nature of competition not only brings out the best in people, it brings out the worst. (Doesn’t the term cozy murder seem like an oxymoron?)While I have the deepest admiration and respect for all my fellow competitive cooks, the reality is, we are all in it to take each other down. We are friendly outside the kitchen, before and after the contest timer is ticking. During the event is a different story. The eye is on the prize. Friends can temporarily become foes.
In my books, competition is taken to the next level, one where the cook can be burned, where the judges can be subjected to their own final judgment and where most anyone involved can be eliminated, permanently. The end result is mystery, intrigue, humor, and because there’s always love where cooking resides, let’s include love. I hope the reader is treated to all these aspects of my series and is as satisfied as having just eaten my prize winning Bon Vivant Mushroom and Chicken Crepes.
Devon Delaney is a wife, mother of three, accomplished cooking contester, recent empty nester, and lifelong resident of the Northeast. She has been handsomely rewarded for her recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years, including a full kitchen of major appliances, top cash prizes, and four trips to Disney World. She has also won the Grand Prize in a national writing contest for her “foodie” poem “Ode to Pork Passion.”
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