Stabbed in the Baklava (Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series #2)

Stabbed in the Baklava (Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series #2)

by Tina Kashian

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Overview

Stabbed in the Baklava (Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series #2) by Tina Kashian

“A delectable read.”
—Bestselling author Shelley Freydont

Lucy Berberian has taken over her family’s Mediterranean restaurant on the Jersey Shore after an unsatisfying stint at a Philadelphia law firm. It’s great to be back in her old beach town, even if she’s turning into a seasoned sleuth . . .

 
Catering a high-society wedding should bring in some big income for Kebab Kitchen—and raise its profile too. But it’s not exactly good publicity when the best man winds up skewered like a shish kebab. Worse yet, Lucy’s ex, Azad—who’s the restaurant’s new head chef—is the prime suspect. But she doesn’t give a fig what the cops think. He may have killer looks, but he’s no murderer. She just needs to prove his innocence, before he has to go on the lamb . . .
 
Recipes included!
 
“Clever and charming . . . It’s a culinary delight that will have readers salivating over the food and hungry for literary answers.”
RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars, on Hummus and Homicide

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496713490
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 08/28/2018
Series: Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series , #2
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 51,879
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Tina Kashian, previously published as Tina Gabrielle, is an Amazon bestselling author, an attorney, and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and her first book, Lady of Scandal, was nominated as Best First Historical Romance by RT Book Reviews. Please visit her website at www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"Did you see who's at table three?"

Lucy Berberian set down a tray of wrapped silverware and looked where her sister, Emma, pointed from behind the waitress station.

"Isn't that Scarlet Westwood?" Lucy asked. The attractive blonde was a famous Philadelphia socialite and the daughter of a hotel mogul. Her picture was splashed across tabloids at the checkout counter of Holloway's, the sole grocery store in the small Jersey shore town.

"In the flesh!" Emma's voice rose an octave and she dropped the towel she'd been using to wipe down tables.

"Who's the older woman with her?" Lucy asked.

"Probably her personal assistant. Socialites don't go anywhere without them." Emma nudged Lucy. "They asked for you when they came in."

Lucy blinked. "Me?"

"That's right. They want to talk to the manager. That's you now, Sis."

Less than two months ago, Lucy had quit her position as an attorney at a large Philadelphia law firm, packed her bags, and returned to her small hometown of Ocean Crest, at the Jersey shore. She'd only planned for a temporary visit home until she could get back on her feet and find a new job, but she'd ended up staying and having a go at managing Kebab Kitchen, her family's Mediterranean restaurant. Her semiretired parents continued to work part-time, but Lucy was taking on a bigger role each day.

Lucy toyed with a cloth napkin on the tray. "Did they say what they wanted?"

Emma shook her head. "No. But don't keep Scarlet Westwood waiting. I don't think the celebrity types have a lot of patience."

Lucy snatched an order pad from the counter and headed for table number three, the best seat in the house, which overlooked the Atlantic Ocean and the Ocean Crest boardwalk. The table was also tucked away in a corner, semiprivate, and often requested by romantic couples. It was a hot and humid June afternoon, and sunlight shimmered on the ocean like shards of glass. Umbrellas and towels were scattered across the beach like a colorful quilt. Children frolicked in the surf and played in the sand while sunbathers reclined on beach chairs. In the distance, Lucy could see the amusement pier with its old-fashioned wooden roller coaster and Ferris wheel.

Lucy took a breath as she approached the table, wondering why they'd asked for her. Did wealthy socialites expect to be served by the manager and not the waitstaff ?

"Good afternoon. My name is Lucy Berberian. How can I help you?"

Both women looked up. Scarlet Westwood removed her sunglasses and tucked them into a slick, black Chanel purse. She was stunning, just as she appeared in the celebrity photographs. She was in her late twenties with long, blond hair that brushed her shoulders and sky-blue eyes. Her makeup was expertly applied, and her trademark lips were big and glossy. Lucy had read that Scarlet liked her Botox, and her full lips were a result of a skilled doctor's injections.

"I was told you are the new manager here," the older woman said.

Lucy turned to the woman seated across from Scarlet and studied her for the first time. She appeared to be in her midfifties, old enough to be Scarlet's mother, with a brown bob and shrewd, dark eyes. Dressed in an elegant champagne-colored suit, she drummed long red fingernails on the pristine white tablecloth.

Lucy tucked the order pad back in her apron. "Yes, that's right."

The woman shot her a haughty look. "We're here on business and don't have much time today."

"Of course. Our kitchen is quick. Would you like to hear our lunch specials? Or if you prefer there's a hummus bar that offers a variety of hummus and vegetables for dipping. Pita bread is served warm from the kitchen and —"

"Not that type of business."

Then what? From what Lucy had read in the gossip rags, Scarlet liked to party and enjoyed expensive food, wine, and couture clothing. Kebab Kitchen was a pleasant family establishment, certainly nothing as trendy as the upscale establishments to which Scarlet was accustomed.

Scarlet flipped an errant blond curl across her shoulder. "I'm getting married at Castle of the Sea in Ocean Crest. I want Kebab Kitchen to cater my reception. This is my wedding planner, Victoria Redding."

Lucy's insides froze for a heart-stopping moment. Her first thought was that it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cater the socialite's wedding. Her second thought was how would she pull it off? She was still learning the business, and she'd recently hired her ex-boyfriend, Azad, as the new head chef to take her mother's place. Things were as sticky as baklava syrup between them and Lucy was taking it day by day.

Which led to a bigger question: why would someone of Scarlet Westwood's status want to have a small, family-owned Mediterranean restaurant cater her reception?

"I'm flattered that you chose us, but I have to ask —"

"Why?" Scarlet finished for her.

Lucy shrugged. "Well, yes."

"I've vacationed at the Jersey shore since I was a child, and I recently purchased a summer home in Ocean Crest."

"I see." But that still didn't explain it.

"I plan to film my first movie, and a scene will take place on the beach here. My fiancé is Bradford Papadopoulos, the show's director. Bradford has Mediterranean roots and he loves the cuisine. He also raved about the food when he last ate here."

That made more sense. Lucy remembered hearing about a possible movie being filmed on the beach from her best friend, Katie Watson, who worked at the Ocean Crest town hall. And if the groom preferred Armenian, Greek, and Lebanese food, then Kebab Kitchen was the best in all of South Jersey.

Lucy cleared her throat. "Congratulations on your engagement, and I'm honored you want us to cater your wedding."

"We realize this is a big opportunity for you," Victoria said, her voice stern. "And we have certain conditions."

Lucy may have been taken aback at Victoria's caustic tone, but she schooled her expression. The business would be great for the restaurant's catering arm. She could put up with a bridezilla, or in this case, an aggressive wedding planner, if it meant helping the business and proving her worth to her family.

"First, we intend to have two hundred and fifty guests. Have you ever catered for that large a number?"

"Of course," Lucy lied as her pulse pounded like an overloaded food processor.

She'd never catered at all. Her mother had handled the catering end of the business, and as far as Lucy knew, the largest order she'd filled was for a hundred people. But Lucy was stubborn and determined. Azad was an experienced chef, and together with their line cook, Butch, and her parents' part-time help, she was confident they could handle two hundred and fifty guests.

"Second, the wedding will take place in two weeks."

Only two weeks to prepare? The pressure tightened in her chest, and her mind whirled with all the details that would be required. The labor would be a problem, but she'd come up with something. Katie was always willing to help out, and there were college kids looking for summer jobs.

"And most important, news of the wedding must be kept as secret as possible, understand?" Victoria said.

Now this posed a different type of challenge. Gossip in Ocean Crest traveled as fast as greased lightning. It didn't help that the Town News was run by Stan Slade, a former New York City reporter who was always hungry for a story. Lucy recalled how hard it had been to keep things under wraps two months ago when the town's new health inspector had been murdered. It had been pretourist season then and Ocean Crest had been quiet, but now that it was late June, the town swelled with tourists and it was impossible to find a vacant parking spot. Talk was sure to start if anyone spotted Scarlet on the street or the boardwalk.

"I'll do everything in my power to keep it quiet. Only my staff will know, and they can be trusted. But what if you're seen in town? Surely people will ask questions."

Victoria cleared her throat. "Yes, but like Ms. Westwood said, she now owns a shore home in town. People have no reason to suspect she's getting married."

Both women stood. Victoria handed Lucy a business card. "Here's my personal cell number. I'll be in touch to go over the menu for the cocktail hour and the reception. Some of the guests have dietary restrictions that must be accommodated."

"Of course," Lucy said.

Scarlet reached into her purse and slipped her sunglasses back on. Lucy thought the disguise did little to conceal her true appearance. "You must wonder why I would want my wedding kept a secret when I live in the limelight."

"No." Yes. Scarlet's escapades and lavish lifestyle were blasted weekly in the tabloids and television celebrity shows. Bad publicity only served to add to her impressive number of young fans.

"A large part of my life is for public display," Scarlet said, "but my wedding is different. I want that one day for myself."

Good luck, Lucy almost slipped, then bit her lip. It would take a small army of personal bodyguards to keep a wedding of that size secret. Even the guests could leak details of the wedding to the press. Nothing was off limits when it came to Scarlet and publicity. Did she plan on blindfolding two hundred and fifty people and driving them in large buses to the wedding? On an off-season day, that felt like much of Ocean Crest's entire population.

As soon as the women left, Emma and Sally, a longtime waitress at the restaurant, rushed over. Both wore their uniforms — black slacks, button-down white shirts, and red aprons — and their faces were anxious with anticipation.

"Well? What did Scarlet Westwood want?" Emma asked.

"She wants Kebab Kitchen to cater her wedding." Lucy still couldn't believe it.

"That's fantastic!" Sally said.

"It's for two hundred and fifty guests. We only have two weeks to prepare." Lucy felt a bit light-headed.

"You're kidding?" Emma asked.

"Nope. That's what she said."

Emma pursed her lips. "Well then, you'd best talk to Azad."

Lucy's gut tightened at the mention of her ex. Really, Lucy. He works for you now. She had to keep things in perspective. It was just a wedding, and so far, she'd insisted on maintaining a professional working relationship with Azad, the restaurant's new head chef.

It wasn't as if they were getting married.

Her legal training would kick in to full gear. Lucy had always excelled at organization, and she just needed to come up with a battle plan for Azad, her parents, and the rest of the staff to efficiently tackle each task. She'd give Scarlet Westwood a perfect reception.

After all, with organization and hard work, what could go wrong?

* * *

"You're doing it wrong."

Lucy turned at the masculine voice to see Azad Zakarian looking over her shoulder. Tall, dark, and good-looking, the sight of her ex-boyfriend still made her heart pound a bit too fast.

She straightened her spine and wrinkled her nose. "How? There is no wrong way to chop garlic." Lucy knew the basis of Mediterranean cuisine was garlic, onions, and olive oil. It may give you killer breath, but it was one of the healthiest diets around.

Over the past two weeks, everyone at Kebab Kitchen had been working overtime to prepare for Scarlet Westwood's wedding. The kitchen had been a whirlwind of activity — the ovens heated the kitchen, the constant whirling of the industrial-sized mixer never seemed to end, and the delicious smells of freshly baked pastry and breads floated through the restaurant.

Lucy eyed the bowl of unpeeled garlic cloves soaking in cold water on the kitchen worktable. The garlic was needed for several of the dishes that would be served at the wedding reception, and Lucy had thought to peel and chop the garlic to relieve Azad from the menial task. But from the tense look on Azad's face, it was clear he didn't want her assistance.

"Yes, there's a wrong way," he said. "You're going to slice off the tips of your fingers. That chef's knife is wicked sharp and dangerous in the hands of an amateur."

In the hands of an amateur.

How many times had she heard similar comments over the past weeks? Her mother, Azad, and even their line cook, Butch, all seemed to remind her of her culinary shortcomings on a daily basis. She knew she wasn't a chef. When she'd worked as a city lawyer the extent of her culinary talent was to memorize the take-out numbers of all the restaurants within a two-mile radius of the firm. But since returning to Ocean Crest and deciding to take a stab at running her family's restaurant, she'd been determined to learn how to prepare basic Mediterranean dishes.

Lucy frowned up at him and set the knife on the cutting board. "Fine. Show me, then."

Azad plucked a clove of garlic from the bowl, efficiently peeled the skin, and placed it on the cutting board. "First, keep the tip of the blade on the cutting board at all times, then press downward and use the full length of the blade to slice your food."

He took the knife and began deftly to mince the garlic. His knife worked at breathtaking speed, and Lucy could barely follow his movements. Her gaze moved to his muscled forearms and rose to his chest. His broad shoulders strained against his shirt. She could see the day's growth of stubble on his chiseled cheeks and the sexy dimple in his chin. He wore his dark hair a bit long and it brushed his collar. Despite her determination to maintain a working relationship, she couldn't help but acknowledge that there was something irresistibly sexy about a competent male in the kitchen.

"There are five ways to mince garlic. Knife-minced, garlic-pressed, mortar and pestle, knife-pureed, and microplaned," he rattled off as he continued to work. "Each has different qualities and unique tastes for dishes."

"What about the jars you can purchase from Holloway's grocery store? The garlic comes perfectly minced."

Azad's knife halted in midchop and he gave her an incredulous sidelong glare. "You're kidding, right? Your mother would have a fit."

It was true. Everything was made from scratch at the restaurant. Her mother, who had been the head chef before Azad took over, even insisted on grinding her own meat for her dishes. "It's never as fresh if you don't do it yourself. Fresh is everything," Angela Berberian had often said.

"I never said I was a chef. That's why I hired you, remember?" The words came out a bit harsher than Lucy wanted.

He flashed a grin, and the dimple in his cheek deepened. "Don't get all bent out of shape. I'm just showing you proper technique."

Lucy felt her face grow warm. They'd dated back in college, and when they'd graduated, their relationship turned serious. Or at least, she'd been serious. Azad had broken her heart when he'd suddenly ended things and they'd gone their separate ways — Lucy to law school and Azad to culinary school. She was older, wiser, and now his boss. So why did she let him get under her skin? One charming grin and she felt like a hormonal teenager gazing longingly at the star quarterback at a high school football game.

Ugh. She'd have to try harder to hide her emotions.

Only a few months ago, Azad had wanted to buy Kebab Kitchen. But Lucy's "temporary" visit home, after quitting the firm, had turned into a permanent stay, and she'd come to realize how much she'd missed her family, her friends — and surprisingly — how important Kebab Kitchen was to her. So Lucy had stepped up. Her parents were more than happy to teach her the business as they worked part-time and eased into retirement.

At least it had seemed the perfect arrangement for her. Azad may not view it that way. He'd left his sous chef job at a fancy Atlantic City restaurant to become head chef of Kebab Kitchen. She knew he'd initially wanted to buy the place from her parents and make it his own, but he'd changed his mind after Lucy had stated her intentions to remain in town.

Azad set the knife aside and wiped his hands on a dish towel. "Now do you remember how to knife-puree it?"

"Sure. Start by crushing it with the back of the blade."

Determined to show him she could do something, Lucy picked up the knife, pressed the back of the blade flat on a clove, and slammed her fist down to squash the garlic on the cutting board. But instead of cooperating, the finicky garlic clove shot from the board and flew across the kitchen like a smelly projectile.

Oh, no. Her eyes widened in dismay. What the heck went wrong? He made it look so simple.

She was saved from another culinary lecture by the sound of footsteps on the kitchen's terra-cotta floor.

Her mother, Angela, appeared behind an industrial mixer almost as tall as her five-foot frame. Her signature beehive, which had gone out of style decades ago, added a few inches to her height. The gold cross necklace she never left the house without caught a ray of light from an overhead kitchen window.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Stabbed in the Baklava"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Tina Sickler.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Stabbed in the Baklava 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
bookaholique 20 days ago
As cozy mysteries go, this one was pretty darn cute. I really liked Lucy and her cohort Katie. They are both smart, funny and work well together. This was a fast easy read. And while it is part of a series, it worked well as a stand alone. I'm definitely going to check out book #1. I also am looking forward to future books in the series. My thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley.
MeezCarrie 28 days ago
Lucy Berberian is back, with her culturally diverse cast of supporting characters, to learn the ins and outs of running her family’s restaurant (and cooking the yummy dishes!), trying to decide between two hot guys who are smitten with her, and solving a murder in her free time. She is a really likable character who you’d want to be friends with in real life – and not just for the delicious leftovers – and she has a host of friends and family who are equally likable. It’s easy to get caught up in the stories, in the subplots, in the humor, and in the FOOD. (Did I mention the baklava?? YUM) The murder mystery is once again high-stakes for Lucy, since she’s inadvertently involved in more than one way. Kashian weaves in lots of twists and turns and red herrings which keep the interest and tension levels steady. I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times because I could easily picture the scene she’d set – and the antics that Lucy had gotten tangled up in. It’s not punchy humor, though, but just very charming and smartly done. Bottom Line: Make a reservation at the Kebab Kitchen, dig into all the hummus varieties and the baklava (not together), and hitch a ride with Lucy and her friends and family as she tries to solve a murder to keep her old flame out of jail. Well-plotted and lots of fun, the mystery and the characters will keep you fully engaged from start to finish! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
Shelly9677 4 months ago
I enjoyed this book. I instantly clicked with the characters and liked the author's style of writing. The storyline is engaging and fun. Lucy is a former lawyer who moved back to south New Jersey and took over her parents' Greek restaurant. A celebrity is marrying a local who asked that the wedding be catered by Lucy's restaurant. This is a wonderful opportunity for the restaurant but, as in all cozy mysteries, things don't quite go as planned. The groom ends up dead and the prime suspect is Lucy's head chef and former boyfriend. I read another review that described this book as "clever and charming" and I have to agree.
LisaKsBooksReviews 4 months ago
When I read the first book in this series, HUMMUS AND HOMICIDE, I was instantly taken with author Tina Kashian’s style of writing, the wonderful characters and setting she introduced me to, and the food. STABBED IN THE BAKLAVA served to reminded me about all the reasons I loved that book, and more! It was wonderful to be back with this cast of characters that feel more like friends and family. I’ve enjoyed getting to know them all so much and can’t wait to learn even more about them in future installments. With a cleverness worthy of the mystery world’s greatest authors, Tina Kashian filled STABBED IN THE BAKLAVA with suspects, clues, twist and turns, and red herrings enough to keep me guessing until the end! Truly a fabulous second installment in the Kebob Kitchen Mysteries, STABBED IN THE BAKLAVA with have you begging for more of this delicious series!
CozyUpWithKathy 4 months ago
a delectable mystery with heart STABBED IN THE BAKLAVA by Tina Kashian The Second Kebab Kitchen Mystery It's a surprise when socialite Scarlet Westwood pays a visit to Kebab Kitchen, but even more so when she asks Lucy Berberian to cater her wedding. With less than two weeks notice for an event bigger than the kitchen has ever done, and no catering experience herself, Lucy agrees. This is her chance to prove herself and give the restaurant a big boost. With the help of her semi-retired parents, best friend, and Kebab Kitchen staff the event goes off with nary a hitch...until it's time to leave and Lucy finds Azad by their catering van with the murdered body of the best man inside! The salty scent of the ocean, the fragrant aromas of lemon and garlic, all perfume the Jersey Shore in this, the second Kebab Kitchen Mystery. Romance is in the air as well as Lucy feels her attraction to Azad grow, despite her trying to put a lid on it. Yet sparks also fly when Michael is near. Although uncertain about the men in her life, Lucy is coming into her own. She's taking more responsibility for the restaurant and bringing her own ideas with her, in regards to Kebab Kitchen, her personal life, and her involvement in murder investigations. This is a book of secrets, family, and loyalty. The mystery is compelling-a variety of suspects, a seemingly impossible puzzle, and an urgency to prove Azad innocent. I love the family dynamic, especially the realistic relationship between Lucy's parents; their bickering, their seeming opposition, but ultimate love for each other, their family and friends. I continue to giggle at Angela's crush on Cooking Kurt, the hot TV chef! Humor, a smidge of romance, and an intriguing mystery flavor the second Kebab Kitchen Mystery making STABBED IN THE BAKLAVA a delectable mystery with heart. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
StoreyBookReviews 5 months ago
I fully enjoyed the first book in the series and this one was just as enjoyable. I love the setting - a Mediterranean restaurant because the hummus and other dishes all leave my mouth watering. Thank goodness there are recipes at the end that I can try to satisfy my cravings. The victim in this book is a despicable banker that has some issues. It isn't too much of a surprise when he ends up dead, however, it takes a few tense scenes at a wedding reception to decipher who the victim might be in this book. The killer may, or may not, be obvious as you read the book. I suspected this character but didn't know for sure until it was all revealed at the end. The author does a great job of throwing red herrings in your path to discovering the truth. And of course, Lucy and Katie are in the middle of things trying to clear Azad's name. Lucy can't lose her head chef after all! I'm waiting for the book when Detective Clemmons drops his dislike for Lucy and her family. There is a peace offering at the end of this book that just might lead to less hostility on his part, but only time will tell. I was surprised that Michael (Harley owner next door to the restaurant) didn't make an appearance until halfway through the book and very little after that. I'm not sure if there is supposed to be a love triangle happening between Lucy, Azad, and Michael, but if there is this book didn't bring much tension to the triangle. Perhaps he is just meant to be a friend? Overall the book does what it should - keep you guessing from start to finish while uncovering clues and trying to keep Lucy out of too much trouble.
KrisAnderson_TAR 5 months ago
Stabbed in the Baklava by Tina Kashian is the second A Kebab Kitchen Mystery. Lucy Berberian is now the manager of her family’s restaurant, Kebab Kitchen in Ocean Crest, New Jersey. Lucy is surprised when Philadelphia socialite, Scarlet Westwood asks Kebab Kitchen to cater her wedding in two weeks. It is a tight timeline for the restaurant, but it would be excellent publicity. Two weeks later they arrive at Castle of the Sea prepared to wow the wedding guests with their cuisine. Preparations are going well until a drunken Henry Simms, local banker, stumbles into the kitchen and ends up in a verbal disagreement with Azad Zakarian, Kebab Kitchen’s head chef. After extricating Henry from the kitchen, the rest of the meal goes off without a hitch. Henry is later found in Kebab Kitchen’s van with a shish kebab skewer thrust through his neck. Detective Calvin Clemmons, unfortunately, is assigned the case and he has narrowed his sights on Azad. Lucy, at the urging of her parents, works to prove Azad’s innocence and unveil the killer. Accompany Lucy on her campaign to decipher the clues and spot the individual who skewered the banker like a shish kebab! Stabbed in the Baklava contains good writing and a nice steady pace which makes for an easy to read cozy mystery. While Stabbed in the Baklava is the second book in series, it can be read alone. The author provides Lucy’s backstory and summarizes the mystery from Hummus and Homicide. Lucy has settled into managing the restaurant and is learning how to cook as well. There are some luscious food descriptions that will have readers craving Mediterranean food. Her attempts at making improvements at the restaurant have met with limited success. Lucy has two love interests which include her old boyfriend, Azad Kazarian who has her parent’s approval and the handsome motorcycle riding Michael Citteroni. While a cozy mystery needs to have some romance (it is expected), I prefer it to play out softly in the background and I am tired of love triangles. The murder mystery was ingenuous. I identified the victim and killer before the victim was skewered. Lucy needs to work on how she asks suspects questions. She lacks subtlety and her questions come across as accusatory (I am sure she will get better in time). I hope the author introduces a new detective in a future book. Detective Clemmons is the cliché nasty detective with a grudge because of an incident that occurred in high school. I appreciate Lucy’s best friend, Katie Watson. She is a lively character with an upbeat personality. Katie is always up for adventure and has inside intel thanks to her police officer hubby. I did feel that there was too much time devoted to Lucy speculating on the crime and I could have used less repetition of key details (like Lucy’s lack of cooking skills). Stabbed in the Baklava is an undemanding cozy mystery with a quaint small town, charming characters and food descriptions that will have you salivating.
Carstairs38 5 months ago
Lucy has taken over managing her family’s Mediterranean restaurant in Ocean Crest, New Jersey, and she is thrilled when they are hired to cater the wedding of socialite Scarlet Westwood. However, in the middle of the reception, Lucy’s chef and ex-boyfriend, Azad, gets into a fight with the best man, Henry. As the night is winding down, Azad finds Henry’s body in the back of their locked catering van. Naturally, the police think he is a great suspect, but Lucy disagrees. Can she figure out what happened? It was great to be back in Ocean Crest, and I felt like we got to see a bit more of this resort town. I loved it, and I’d love to be able to visit in real life, just maybe between the murders. The mystery here is very strong, with several viable and well-developed suspects. I followed along with Lucy’s thoughts as she investigated figuring that her current theory would turn out to be wrong, but when she finally figured out the truth, it made perfect sense. Most of the characters are strong, although a few of the supporting characters still seem to be a bit weak, and the way that Lucy’s mother focuses on her love life annoyed me. The love triangle is still going strong here, although I have a feeling I know where it will go. There are three delicious sounding recipes at the end of the book. Overall, this is a fun second in the series.
iiiireader 5 months ago
This is a fun cozy mystery set at the New Jersey Shore. The backdrop is a Mediterranean restaurant with lots of yummy foods. As I am half Greek, many of the foods and dances, etc. described in the book, reminded me of my childhood. One of my favorite desserts ever is bakalava (yum, honey and nuts!) This the second book in this series and the first that I have read. I didn’t have problems picking up the story line so it can be read stand-alone. There were numerous references to the first book but not so many that it would make reading it a chore. There is a past to the characters that could be enhanced by reading the first book, so if you have the chance, you might read the series in order. Our sleuth, Lucy, is managing the family restaurant after having been disillusioned in her law career. She and her best friend have taken on solving a murder mystery in the past and, when a body is found in this story, circumstances prime them to do so again. Lucy also has to contend with both her ex-boy friend (who is now the restaurant’s cook) and a detective who has a grudge against her family. She steps carefully around both and still has the wherewithal to follow the clues where they lead. Definitely a fun and quick mystery read. Just for the recipes alone, I would have to pick up these books in the future. That the story is fun and fun to solve gives it a top listing series on my wish list. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
ganderson523 5 months ago
Stabbed in the Baklava is a great addition to the Kebab Kitchen series. Lucy Berberian left her job as an attorney in Philadelphia when she was passed over for a promotion to return to her hometown on the Jersey shore. Her parents are about ready to retire from running the family Armenian restaurant so Lucy has taken over managing the restaurant (mostly). Her dad can't completely turn over controls. Her mom still comes in to work in the kitchen preparing food but Lucy's old boyfriend and family friend, Chef Azad, is doing a great job as main chef. Her sister, Emma, works as a waitress. Things turn deadly at the first large catering job that the crew works when they cater a large celebrity wedding. Unfortunately, the best man is found in the restaurant van with a shish kabab skewer in his neck and Azad's fingerprints are on it. On top of that, the whole catering and serving staff heard Azad threaten the shady banker. Lucy and her best friend, Katie, put on their sleuthing hats once more to find out who really killed the guy. They have to be careful to stay out of trouble with Katie's cop husband as well as obnoxious detective, Calvin Clemmons, not to mention the real killer. This is another fun read that kept me guessing to the end. The delicious sounding food adds to the story as do the colorful and interesting characters. Lucy has two tall, dark and handsome fellows who are interested in her and of course don't like each other - Azad and neighbor biker guy, Michael. Thanks to Kensington Publishing through NetGalley for a complimentary ARC to read and review. Thoughts and opinions are mine only.
BeagleGirl123 5 months ago
Tina Kashian's Stabbed in the Baklava is the second in the Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series featuring Lucy Berberian, and I found it just as enjoyable as the first. The restaurant has been hired to provide the food for a very high profile wedding in Ocean Crest, and all is running smoothly until the best man is found skewered to death in the catering van, and the head chef is accused of his murder! A nice plot, likable characters and very strong family ties make this cozy mystery a winner in my book! A+
BeagleGirl123 5 months ago
Tina Kashian's Stabbed in the Baklava is the second in the Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series featuring Lucy Berberian, and I found it just as enjoyable as the first. The restaurant has been hired to provide the food for a very high profile wedding in Ocean Crest, and all is running smoothly until the best man is found skewered to death in the catering van, and the head chef is accused of his murder! A nice plot, likable characters and very strong family ties make this cozy mystery a winner in my book! A+
AWilcox777 5 months ago
Fabulous!!! My gosh Tina knows what she doing writing cozies. This setting and these characters are just getting better. I seriously couldn't put this one down and now I'm sad I have to wait for the next one. I really hope to see many more in this series. The characters make me want to sleuth and cook and go for a run on the beach all at the same time.