Books, Cooks, and Crooks (Novel Idea Mystery Series #3)

Books, Cooks, and Crooks (Novel Idea Mystery Series #3)

by Lucy Arlington

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101633762
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/04/2014
Series: Novel Idea Mystery Series , #3
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 117,125
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lucy Arlington, the national bestselling author of the Novel Idea mysteries, including Every Trick in the Book and Buried in a Book, is a pseudonym for the writing team of Ellery Adams and Sylvia May. Ellery Adams is also the author of the Books by the Bay mysteries, including Written in Stone, The Last Word, A Deadly Cliché, and A Killer Plot, and the bestselling Charmed Pie Shoppe mysteries, including Peach Pies and Alibis and Pies and Prejudice. Sylvia May is the author of The Unraveling of Abby Settel.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for the Novel Idea Mysteries

“[A] smart whodunit filled with well-drawn and interesting characters.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Cheer up—there’s no middle-aged malaise for Lila. This cozy debut, written by a pseudonymous duo, excels at describing bucolic North Carolina. Think Kate Carlisle for her intergenerational ensemble style or Mark de Castrique’s series for regional Tar Heel flavor.”—Library Journal

“This is a terrific Novel Idea Mystery with its contemporary literary crowd mingling with residents of a small North Carolina town…Lucy Arlington provides an entertaining thriller.”—Genre Go Round Reviews

“Will appeal to anyone who loves reading, especially anyone who loves discovering a new author.”—The Mystery Reader


Customer Reviews

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Books, Cooks, and Crooks 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
Lucy Arlington brings readers the third book in her Novel Idea mystery series, Books, Cooks, and Crooks. The Taste of Town festival is in full swing in Inspiration Valley and murder is on the menu. Arlington's quick wit and savvy literary knowledge help make this series authentic and fun to read. Main character Lila Watkins is a literary agent with amateur sleuthing chops. Readers will fall in love with her quirky family and friends from this well written small town. A great addition to the series! What I liked: The theme of this series has been a favorite of mine since it's inception. Being a working writer myself I find it interesting to see this side of the publishing business. It is a lot different from the magazine side of things which is what I am familiar with. How books are showcased and promoted is a part of what I do everyday on my blog and that makes this series right up my alley. I think all of the interesting tidbits and information get the reader interested in publishing and getting the work of their author in the eye of the public.  Books, Cooks and Crooks is a great cozy for several reasons. A great theme always helps and one that Lucy Arlington choose for this book was exceptional. She has Lila Watkins in a real mess, when she decides to have all of her clients presenting together and promoting their work all in one place at the same time. The competitive edge is palpable from Arlington's descriptions. I loved every minute of it. From the descriptions of each writers cookbooks to the stories that start coming out after the murder occurs.  It was a great group of suspects who were interesting and very combative. The tension is overwhelming as the anger and bitterness and overall jealousy comes to light. A bunch of catty personalities, let me tell you. And all of them seemed to have a motive. It was hard to pick which one was the right one. I did not figure this one out at all. I thought I had it a couple of times but Arlington prevailed and kept me in the dark until the dramatic reveal. I was on the proverbial edge of my seat with this one and thought the author did an excellent job with the mystery aspects of this one. Lila's family and friends and the other folks from Inspiration Valley were also well represented. Sean is always a favorite of mine and I like where Arlington is taking the relationship between he and Lila. Though this book was completely focused on the mystery, Arlington still devoted time to moving the series forward. I'm looking forward to where we go from here. What I didn't like: The first murder victim was certainly not who I expected. At first I had a hard time trying to figure out why it wasn't someone else. It was unexpected and I think that threw me for a little while. I wasn't too sure I was going to like where it was going, but as I got deeper into the book, I picked up on why this person was chosen and decided it wasn't such a big deal after all. Bottom Line: This is a top notch mystery with food, murder and mayhem. A great read for one of those cold winter nights we have been experiencing a lot of this year. You just want to curl up with a soft blanket, a cup of hot chocolate and dive right in to this great cozy. You'll enjoy it for sure!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fast-paced, fun cozy mystery revolving around food, friends, and books. Add a dash of romance and you have a perfect read! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're a lover of books, food, cooking shows, chefs, and murder mysteriees, this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful series and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good cozy. However, after reading the 3 books in this series and getting to know the characters, I certainly hope this series doesn't stop with this book because I want to know more. I so loved the interaction between Lila, Sean and Trey in the kitchen so I'm interested in how Lucy expands this in future books. Thanks, Lucy, for wonderful read
lovemysteriesMS More than 1 year ago
Interesting characters developing well. I will defenitely check out her other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kuzlin More than 1 year ago
Lila Wilkins is excited about the upcoming Taste of Town festival  being hosted  at Inspiration Valley.  As part of the activities, she and her coworkers at Novel Idea Literary Agency have invited several of their clients, celebrity chefs and authors, to join in for coking demonstrations, live panels, and cookbook releases.  As the festival gets underway, Lila discovers that hosting these temperamental celebs may be more of a trial than expected.  And when one of the guests is killed in what initially was thought to be an accident but is quickly shown to be murder, Lila is once again thrown into the middle of a police investigation.  Can she keep everything together while boyfriend police officer Sean searches for the murderer or will this ruin her agency's reputation.  This is the third book in the Novel Idea Mystery series and as always is a fun and entertaining read.  As a fan of not only cozy mysteries, but also the current rage of cooking shows, I especially enjoyed the characters in this book.  I kept trying to put real faces to the individuals mentioned.  I am looking forward to Lila''s next adventure.  Disclosure:  I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
The Taste of Town Festival has Inspiration Valley, North Carolina overflowing with people. The Novel Idea Literary Agency has its own event featuring Celebrity Chefs and their books. There are cooking demonstrations, cookbook giveaways, and even a culinary writing contest. What happens what you get a group of Celebrity Chefs together? You find out they really don’t like each other very much but is one of them a murderer? We find out as an explosion rocks the demo kitchen and kills one of the chefs. Lila quickly finds herself in the middle of the investigation that has way too many suspects. Is one of her clients really a killer? Dollycas’s Thoughts Let’s face it, I want to be Lila, even with exploding kitchens and dead bodies! :) This writing team continues to amaze me. Their characters jump off the pages. Even the new ones, these chefs, their families and their assistants are so credible and real. Some real crazy but still real. There is a bit of romance for Lila’s friend Makayla, she has a secret admirer. Sean and Lila romance is heating up too in more ways than one. Lila’s son Trey comes home from college after hearing of all the trouble in Inspiration Valley. What a wonderful young man. I also appreciate the relationship Lila has with her mother. Of course the mystery itself is complex and I completely devoured it. With the foodie theme came terrific description of several tasty treats too. This story keeps the reader fully engaged from the first word until the last. I was following the clues right along with Lila and we both had that “aha moment” together. Inspiration Valley is a town everyone would love to visit, from Walden Woods Circle to the Expresso Yourself Coffee Shop to the Magnolia B & B and everywhere in between. Lucy Arlington has created the perfect setting for this cozy series. I look forward to returning soon. *There is also a peek at Ellery Adams new cozy series. The first chapter of Murder in the Mystery Suite (A Book Retreat Mystery) has me very intrigued.
chefdt More than 1 year ago
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.
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
Book three in the Novel Idea Series, finds literary agent, Lila, planning a cookbook festival in her town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina.  She and her other co-workers have their hands busy negotiating all the flamboyant famous chef's personalities.  Friendly and sweet on the TV screen and restaurant floor, doesn't seem to be translating into even 'civil' at this festival.  When one of the chef's gets blow up in a kitchen explosion, the trick becomes finding the murderer while keeping everything going as smoothly as possible.  It helps that Lila's new love is a policeman for the town. There are so many things that make this series fun and involved in literary clips.  Shops and sandwiches are named after books and characters.  Even the best ever romantic build up to a new dating couple is filled with poetry and music titles.  Great timing, as I finished this book on. Valentine's Day.  Then for a fun cozy, the themes of true and caring love are mixed in with evil obsessive love in great contrasting ways. Love of family traditions, parents, children and partners are cleverly woven around the motives that caused someone to bump off a couple of the Toast Of The Town's star chefs. Thoroughly enjoying this series!