Sophie Winston can whip up an elaborate event in her sleep, but as the hippest hostess she rarely gets to enjoy the full guest treatment. Which is why her best friend, Nina Reid Norwood, loops her in to the latest culinary craze: a pop-up gourmet dinner party. The celebrity chef, epicurean menu, and high-profile attendees are all a surprise, turning the decadent dining experience into the hottest ticket in Old Town. But Sophie’s just pleased as punch that she can join her fellow foodies in some fun . . .
The posh party proves to be a recipe for disaster when Hollis Haberman sours spirits by bringing his own hot new dish—his young trophy wife. With Hollis’s son and ex-wife in attendance, there may be more heat at the table than in the kitchen. But the next morning, Sophie discovers Hollis swallowing his last bits of air, and she must scramble to stop a killer before anyone else eats their last meal.
Includes delicious recipes and entertaining tips!
Praise for Krista Davis
“Loaded with atmosphere and charm.”
“A tasty whodunit, which keeps the reader fascinated until the killer is iced.”
—Richmond Times Dispatch
“Reader alert: Tasty descriptions may spark intense cupcake cravings.”
—The Washington Post
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I met a very cute guy recently. We went out once and now he has invited me to an "underground dinner." He doesn't know where it will be, what will be served, or who else will be there. This sounds very suspicious. I don't want to end up under the ground! Is this a real thing?
Trepidatious in Lick Fork, Virginia
Underground dinners, also known as pop-up dinners, are all the rage right now. An undisclosed but well-known chef prepares a surprise menu in a location that isn't revealed until the last minute. Tickets are typically bought well in advance. Underground dinners are a lot of fun, but you'll have to decide whether this is what the new boy friend actually has in mind.
At ten in the morning on the first day of my summer vacation, a bloodcurdling scream pierced the tranquility of my neighborhood in Old Town Alexandria. My hound mix, Daisy, had been sniffing around my backyard while I enjoyed a mug of coffee.
Daisy barked once and ran for the front gate. Dogs have far better hearing than humans, so I trusted her inclination about the direction of the trouble and followed right behind her.
A man ran toward us on the sidewalk, his gait awkward and ungainly. He waved his hands madly around his head and continued screaming.
By that time, my neighbors Nina Reid Norwood and Francie Vanderhoosen had emerged from their homes.
At first blush, the man appeared to be deranged. But as he neared, his dilemma became readily apparent. Angry bees buzzed around him and more followed.
I seized his hand. "Quick. Into the house!"
Daisy snapped at the bees as we ran. Nina and Francie brought up the rear. We rushed into my kitchen and quickly closed the door behind us.
A few bees made it inside. Nina and Francie grabbed sections of the newspaper and swatted at them while Daisy continued to chase and snap at them.
Meanwhile, I sat the man down. Thirtyish, I guessed. His green T-shirt bore the hound face logo of The Laughing Hound, a local restaurant. His jeans were dusty, as though he'd been doing lawn work in them. He was having trouble breathing. Red welts had already formed on his face.
"Do you have a bee allergy?" I asked.
"Doh. Gihzzy." He opened his mouth for some deep breaths. There was no mistaking the swelling of his tongue.
I grabbed the phone, dialed 911, and handed it to Nina while I wet a kitchen towel with cold water. I had no idea whether that was the right thing to do, but I held it against his face.
Francie seized the beautiful pink begonia from my bay window, pulled it out of the pot, and scooped up dirt in her hands. "Scoot over, Sophie."
She packed the dirt against his face. One of his eyes was swelling shut.
"Will you look at that?" asked Nina. "Bees are still buzzing around your kitchen door."
Some of the bees outside were even hitting the glass window in the door as though they were angry that they couldn't come inside.
Moments later, the reassuring wail of an ambulance soothed my nerves. Allergic or not, this guy needed medical attention. I ran to the front door and opened it. In moments, the ambulance had parked, and emergency medical technicians walked inside calm as a serene lake.
An EMT asked the man, "What's your name, sir?"
"Anguh Guhanhoh." His speech was so garbled that none of us could understand it.
"You ladies know him?"
The three of us looked at one another and shook our heads.
"He came running down the street with bees buzzing all around him," I explained.
The EMT felt the man's pockets for a wallet and extracted it while another EMT asked what was on his face.
Francie beamed when she said, "Dirt. It's an old home remedy. Soothes the stings."
The EMT shook his head in obvious disbelief.
The one with the wallet said, "I don't see any allergy alerts in here. You're Angus Bogdanoff?"
The man nodded.
"Got any allergies?"
"Doh." He shook his head.
They administered a shot of epinephrine, put him on a stretcher, and wheeled him out to the ambulance. We trailed along, feeling helpless. We couldn't even notify anyone for the poor guy.
When the ambulance departed, Nina, Francie, and I returned to my kitchen. I took lemonade and iced tea out of the fridge to make Arnold Palmers.
"I'd suggest sitting in the garden," said Francie, "but we probably ought to let any lingering bees dissipate."
"Not to mention that it's already getting warm," Nina fanned herself with both hands. "I swear this is the hottest summer I can remember. I try to stay indoors until six in the evening. Thank heaven the underground dinner tonight doesn't start earlier. They'd have people fainting all over the place."
"Everyone is too pampered these days. We didn't have air-conditioning when I was growing up." Francie sipped her Arnold Palmer. "I remember my daddy sitting outside to read at ten o'clock at night because it was too stuffy in the house. And no one had air-conditioning in their cars, either. We kids sat in the back with the windows rolled down and hung our heads out like dogs. Mom and Dad made ice cream with an old crank machine and cream. Can you imagine? It had fat it in! Best ice cream ever. It was such fun running around the neighborhood, catching fireflies in the dark. Now that's how summer ought to be."
Nina shot her a sideways glance. "I bet you wouldn't go without air-conditioning today."
She'd caught Francie, who laughed. "I bet I could weather it better than you."
I suspected that might be the case. A true outdoorsy Southerner, Francie had reached the age where she said what she thought, even if it might sting. She made no effort to tame her dyed-yellow hair that looked as brittle as straw, or to hide the wrinkles she had earned from years of gardening and bird-watching in all kinds of weather.
"What do you know about bees, Francie?" I asked. "Why would they chase Angus like that?"
"Bees can be ornery little buggers. They're focused on protecting the hive and the queen. My guess is that Angus accidentally stumbled onto a hive and disturbed it. I've heard they'll chase a person up to half a mile."
Nina shuddered. "I love honey, but bees scare me."
I was perusing the fridge for a snack when someone knocked on the front door. Daisy accompanied me to open it.
Hollis Haberman, who lived on the next block, stood on my stoop. A respected criminal attorney in his fifties, Hollis liked to eat and had long ago given up any sort of exercise. His face was flushed from the heat and the short walk to my house.
"Hollis! Come on in out of the sun. Could I offer you an Arnold Palmer?"
"That would hit the spot. Sorry to disturb you, but my yard man vanished, and I'm told he was seen headed this way acting kind of strange."
I closed the door behind him. "Angus was working for you? Come into the kitchen. Nina and Francie are here. It was the strangest thing. Angus was being chased by bees. You'd better be careful in your yard."
Hollis touched my arm ever so gently. "Could I have a private word with you out here first?"
"Sure." I frowned at him. "What's up?"
Hollis's belly heaved when he took a deep breath. He lowered his voice to a whisper. "Do you know of a way to test food at home to be sure nobody poisoned it?"
My husband, who likes to pull my leg, says there's such a thing as a zombie bee. He claims they fly around at night! I always thought I was safe from bees at night.
Spooked in Beebeetown, Iowa
Alas, while the name "zombie bee" sounds humorous, the situation is not. A parasitic fly injects eggs into the bee. The baby flies feed off the bee, killing it. If you see a "zombie bee" at night, he'll probably be lurching around near death.
My first thought was of Hollis's new and much younger wife. "Hollis! If you suspect someone is poisoning you, then you need to talk to the police."
His lips bunched together. "I'm not quite ready to do that. What if I'm wrong? I'd like to keep this on the q.t."
I understood the problem. It would destroy his marriage. The Haberman divorce had been the talk of the town. Rumor had it that Hollis's lawyer buddies had chewed up his wife Cindy's lawyers like a wood chipper, leaving her with a tiny pile of shredded mulch. As an event planner, I had seen Cindy frequently at local society affairs in the past. Sadly, the divorce had put an end to her life on the party circuit. The new wife, Kelsey, a woman barely touching thirty with long blond hair, too much eye makeup, and a knockout figure, had replaced Cindy.
Hollis hadn't been married to Kelsey very long. "You think Kelsey is trying to poison you?"
"I did not say that." Hollis's face was purple.
Poor guy. He probably suspected her of poisoning him but wasn't ready to admit it. "My friend Humphrey Brown is a mortician with a lot of connections. I can check with him."
"I would be very grateful, Sophie. I don't mean to push you on this, but obviously, the sooner the better."
"In the meantime, I believe I'd only eat takeout."
"Sophie, please don't breathe a word of this to anyone. No mentioning my name, okay? That's why I came to you. I know I can trust you to keep this under your hat."
I took a deep breath. "Hollis, I still think you should speak to a cop. I don't want to see anything happen to you."
Hollis smiled at me. "I appreciate that. Now, how about that Arnold Palmer? I'm parched. Think the hospital would give me an update on Angus?"
He accompanied me into the kitchen. "Good morning, ladies. I hear you helped rescue poor Angus."
After a brief exchange, he asked us to which hospital the ambulance had taken Angus and called from my kitchen phone.
The three of us listened shamelessly while I poured him a cold drink.
The hospital confirmed that Angus was being treated there, but had no information regarding his condition. Hollis hung up. "Those aggravating HIPAA laws. Well, if you don't mind, I'll enjoy your hospitality for a few minutes, then head over to the hospital to see him."
"Does he have any family to notify?" asked Nina.
"Not that I know of. I believe he's single. Nice young fellow." Hollis took a seat on the banquette with Francie and Nina.
I handed him an Arnold Palmer. "Will we be seeing you at the underground dinner tonight?"
"Wouldn't miss it!" He eyed me. "Have you got the inside scoop? Know what they'll be serving?"
"I don't know anything more than you do."
"Don't believe her!" cautioned Nina. "I sent them to Sophie when they couldn't find a location. But do you think she would tell me where it was going to be? She kept that secret for six months. I couldn't get it out of her."
"That's one of the things we all admire about Sophie. She knows how to keep a secret." Hollis winked at me.
I felt a little sick. Hollis's secret wasn't the kind I liked to know. I excused myself for a moment and hustled back to my tiny home office to phone Humphrey.
I punched in his number. Humphrey Brown had had a crush on me when we were children. At the time, I had been too self- absorbed in my own childhood insecurities to even notice him. Pale with white-blond hair, Humphrey was bone thin. He didn't frequent a gym or work out. In fact, he reminded me of the old advertisements about ninety-pound-weaklings who had sand kicked in their faces. Oddly enough, we had become fast friends as adults.
When he answered the phone, I said, "Hi, Humphrey! A couple years back, I think you helped us test some food that had been poisoned. Could I impose on you to do that again?"
"I worry about you, Sophie."
"It's not for me."
"How do you get mixed up in things like this?" asked Humphrey.
"I'm just doing a favor for a friend."
There was a short silence. "Bring a sample on ice to the underground dinner tonight, and I'll get my buddy to check it out. I'll need to know what he's supposed to look for."
"Okay." He couldn't test for every poison in the world. I understood that. "Thanks, Humphrey! I'll see you tonight."
When I returned to the kitchen, Hollis was saying good-bye to Francie and Nina. I saw him to the front door and whispered, "Bring food samples to the dinner tonight. They should be on ice. And I'll need a list of suspected poisons."
Hollis frowned at me. "How am I supposed to know that?"
"There isn't a universal test for poisons. They need to know what to look for. What do you have around the house? Rodent poison? Antifreeze? There are probably poisonous plants in your yard."
"Like what?" He frowned at me.
"Hollyhocks, yew, foxglove ..."
Hollis drew a deep breath. "This isn't going to be as easy as I had hoped. See you tonight, Sophie."
When I returned to the kitchen, Nina and Francie were arguing about the weather. Nina and I were scheduled to leave for North Carolina early the next day for sun and fun at the beach, but a hurricane was tracking over open sea just off the east coast of Florida.
"It's going to swing farther out to sea," Nina insisted. "I grew up in North Carolina, it happened all the time."
"You're deceiving yourself, sugar." Francie waved her forefinger back and forth. "Geographically speaking, North Carolina juts out and that storm is headed right for it."
"Has there been an update on the tracking?" I asked.
"No," Nina growled. "The stupid thing is picking up speed, though."
Francie tsked. "Well, I hope you girls get to go to the beach, but I can tell you from experience that I'll be gathering my candles and making a run to the store for nonperishable foods." She scooted out of the banquette. "See you tonight." After checking for stray bees, Francie ambled out the kitchen door.
Nina groaned. "I will be so doggoned mad if Hurricane Dorian spoils our plans! We should have booked flights to Paris."
"With our luck, the hurricane would have delayed our flight. Maybe it will peter out. I'm going to pack anyway so we'll be ready to take off early tomorrow morning as planned."
Still grumbling, Nina left, and I set out for the library.
Cindy Haberman, Hollis's ex-wife, stood at the desk and greeted me warmly. "Sophie! I was just going to call you. The library book sale is on Saturday. I was hoping you might be willing to help us out?" Willowy, with fair skin that was so unwrinkled it put the rest of us to shame, Cindy was best known for her mane of hair. Thick black tresses rippled from her part down her back. They didn't look like contrived beach waves to me. I suspected her hair would be very curly if she wore it in a short cut.
"I'd love to help out, but Nina and I are planning a trip to the beach. We won't be in town."
Cindy stared at me for a long moment. In a whisper, she said, "Honestly, I wish I could go with you. A vacation at the beach with girlfriends sounds perfect to me. Margaritas, toes in the sand — it would be heaven. After all I've been through ..."
I assumed she meant the divorce. "Is Gavin okay?" She massaged her temple. "He's fourteen and ready to rule the world without a clue. They tell me the teen years are hard so we won't miss them when they leave for college. If you ask me, it's nature's way of being cruel to parents."
Gavin had walked Daisy and mowed my yard from time to time when he was younger. "But Gavin's such a sweet kid!" "Mmm. He's still adorable when he's sleeping."
Someone walked up beside me and asked a question, so I wandered to the mystery section and nabbed a few books to take to the beach.
I spent the rest of the afternoon getting the house ready for Mars. When we divorced, neither of us could bear to give up sweet Daisy, so we worked out a sharing arrangement. While I was at the beach, Mars would be staying at my house with Daisy and Mochie, my Ocicat.
We had inherited the house from Mars's aunt Faye, who loved to entertain. She had expanded the house with a grand dining room and living room that could accommodate her lavish parties in the 1960s. When Mars and I divorced, I bought out Mars fair and square. The mortgage was hefty, but I loved the old place, creaking floors and all.
A portrait of Aunt Faye hung in my kitchen. Mars's mother dropped by sometimes to talk with her deceased sister, an oddity that came close to landing her in a nursing home. She sat in one of the chairs next to the fireplace in the kitchen and had conversations with ... no one. Not anyone that I could see or hear, anyway. I was a little skeptical about her ability to speak with the dead, but who was I to determine what other people might be able to do? At worst, she probably got some worries off her mind.
In the late afternoon, I showered and slid into a sleeveless dress — white with a sunflower pattern. We would be walking over to the dinner, which meant high heels were out of the question. My white FitFlops were ideal for the brick sidewalks.
Excerpted from "The Diva Cooks Up a Storm"
Copyright © 2018 Krista Davis.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Another EXCELLENT book by Krista Davis!! Sophie is a wonderful character and each book just keeps getting better. These are the can't put down, can't stop reading series!! Just bought the latest book and can't wait to start another wonderful read!!
Really liked the book, sort of confusing in the beginning of the book. Got better toward the end
I love this series by Krista Davis and am so glad that Kensington decided to continue this series. This book was definitely worth the wait! Sophie and friends go to an Underground Dinner and shortly afterward one of the people from the dinner ends up dead. A storm also hits Old Town and the power goes out. Everyone thinks that they know who the murderer is, but Sophie isn't so sure. Through her tenacious sleuthing and the help of her friends Sophie turns up clues that keep the reader guessing about who the killer might be. The mystery did keep me guessing, but the thing that I love most about this series is the friendships between the characters. They are so genuine and the way that Ms. Davis writes makes you feel like you are visiting with old friends. You could read this book as a stand alone, but all of the books in the series are so good that you'll want to go back and read them all! And the recipes are great too! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I have only read a few books in this series, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story and had no problem enjoying this story. It might have taken me a bit to sort out the characters, but otherwise, it can be read as a stand alone. In this story, Sophie finds herself investigating the death of one of her neighbors, Hollis. Hollis came to Sophie with fears that he was being poisoned, and it appears that he was right. With a new, much younger wife, a bitter ex-wife, and a teenage son who is having issues with his father due to his remarriage, the suspect list is quite full and keeps growing as the story progresses. The story is full of excellent twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end. Krista Davis has a way with story-telling. The characters all feel like friends, even Natasha, Sopie's frenemy, and the perpetrator was a huge surprise. The pacing was excellent and the dialogue and scene-setting doesn’t drag. This was an interesting and hard to put down cozy that I found myself reading quite quickly. The publisher, Kensington Books, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The opinions stated are my own.
Sophie Davis is back with another unique foodie spin on murder. Movable underground dinner clubs seem reminiscent of the Prohibition Days and it was a great vehicle for the story. We've had our share of bad weather and blackouts here, especially in the summer, so I really enjoyed Sophie's neighborhood gathering to use up food! I found Hollis' pre-worrying about poison a good way to set the stage and have there be all kinds of possibilities for the murderer. Great to visit Old Town and many favorite characters.
I am so glad that The Domestic Diva series continues on with a new publisher. Thank you Kensington; I have missed Sophie so much. THE DIVA COOKS UP A STORM is the eleventh book in the series, and the characters and setting are as fresh as ever. In this installment, Sophie finds herself investigating the death of one of her neighbors, Hollis. Hollis came to Sophie with fears that he was being poisoned, and it appears that he was right. With a new, much younger wife, a bitter ex-wife, and a teen aged son who does not acknowledge his father, the suspect list starts off with a solid base. As the story progresses, there are more and more suspects to consider. The story if full of excellent twists and turns that kept me guessing until the very end. My favorite thing about the Diva series is the characters. There is such great camaraderie among Sophie’s group of friends, and I felt like I was part of the group as I read. Sophie is relatable and a down to earth sleuth. Most of the other characters are likable, even Sophie’s “rival” Natasha, and the Old Town, Virginia setting is perfect for Sophie’s genteel manners. Oh, and the food! Sophie is almost always cooking something, and the descriptions of the meals make my mouth water. Readers should definitely check out the recipes included in the back of the book. Davis is a fine storyteller who weaves a complicated and compelling mystery. Highly recommended. I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley.
The newest installment in a fantastic series !
Dollycas’s Thoughts Sophie and Nina had planned a mini vacay to the beach, but an impending hurricane has changed their plans. A pop-up dinner party is just what they need. An event planned by someone else where they can sit back and enjoy the food with their friends. But not everyone is enjoying the event, Hollis Haberman and his young new wife are in attendance as are his ex-wife and their son. Most of the town has shunned the new bride while remaining friendly with the ex. The next morning the storm is coming closer to Old Town so Sophie heads out for a quick walk but finds Hollis Haberman having some kind of attack in front of his house. EMTs are called and he is rushed to the hospital but he doesn’t survive. It is an unusual death. He has asked for Sophie’s help because he thought he was been poisoned and the police seem to concur but they’re not sure how. Could it have been in the food at the party? or has it built up over time? His young bride is so upset and she is sure she is going to be arrested. Sophie agrees to look into the case herself hoping she doesn’t end up in a storm of trouble herself. I really enjoy these characters, even Natasha. I love the way they come together when someone is in need or when they get together to celebrate. A heavy storm hits Old Town leaving the community without electricity. What does this gang do? The organize a street party so people can cook up or grill the food that would have been ruined by the lack of power to keep it cold. The party also gives the crew to do a little covert investigating. Friendship really blooms within the pages. Poison is a common method of murder in cozy mysteries, but this time the author gives it a unique twist and they added some distinct turns that really opened up the pool of suspects. She kept me guessing right up to her grand reveal. I love when a story diverts my thinking so much that I and the protagonist have our “aha moment” together. The author packs so much into these pages. The pacing and plotting are excellent. The characters are very real and most are very down to earth. The story contains the exact right amount of humor in relation to the drama. Krista Davis is a skilled storyteller with the perfect recipe for her cozy mysteries. I highly recommend this entire series, but if you are new to it, don’t worry, there is plenty of background provided to dive right into this one. Then you can go back and start at the beginning to see all the world building and character development.
The Diva Cooks Up a Storm by Krista Davis is the eleventh installment in A Domestic Diva Mystery series. Sophie Winston enjoyed dining at an underground restaurant with her friends the night before. She is out walking Daisy when Hollis Haberman staggers from his house and collapses in the street. He is struggling to breeze. The police check on his new wife, Kelsey and she is coughing. Later that day, Wolf Fleischman, Criminal Investigator for Alexandria Police Department, informs her that Hollis did not make it. Kelsey is at the top of the suspect list and asks for Sophie to help clear her name. Since approaching storms have called off her beach vacation, Sophie does have time on her hands. Sophie needs to figure out who disliked Hollis Haberman enough to do him in. Then a second person connected to Hollis ends up dead. Can Sophie zero in on the killer before he strikes again? The Diva Cooks Up a Storm is well-written and has a steady pace. Sophie is an engaging main character and there are equally delightful secondary characters. If you are new to the series, you would have a hard time starting with The Diva Cooks Up a Storm. The author introduces a number of people in the beginning and it can be confusing to keep track of them along with their relationships. The author crafted a multi-layered mystery with twists that will surprise many readers. I enjoyed solving this challenging mystery. The underground or pop-up restaurant concept is unique, and I have not encountered it in a book previously. There are many charming cozy moments in the story that include cooking, a library book sale, neighbors helping each other, an impromptu food gathering in the neighborhood, close friends, romance, and cute animals. Recipes are included at the end of the book. At the beginning of each chapter are advice letters with answers provided by Sophie and Natasha. While Natasha’s advice made me chuckle at times, I would not follow her counsel (Sophie is more reliable). The Diva Cooks Up a Storm is an appealing story that will delight cozy mystery readers. I am giving The Diva Cooks Up a Storm 4.5 out of 5 stars.
I love the Domestic Diva Mystery series! The writing flows and is deliciously descriptive. The characters are well-developed and engaging. The plots are always interesting, absorbing and captivating. I really can’t say enough good things about author Krista Davis! This installment of A Domestic Diva Mystery is no different. Sophie and her best friend Nina secure invitations to a hip gourmet pop-up dinner where death is ultimately on the menu. The book drew me in from page one and kept me guessing until the end. I hope these books keep coming!
Characters are fun!! Love this series
I can’t believe this is book 11 in the Domestic Diva Mysteries. Oh, how I have missed Sophie, Natasha, Nina, Mars, and the gang! But they are back and just as delicious as ever. When Nina and Sophie’s plans for a beach vacation are cancelled when a storm heads to Old Town, they remain in Old Town and it’s like divine intervention since a neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances. EVERYONE seems to think it was the new young wife, well, everyone except for Sophie. As Sophie digs around to clear the young widow, she discovers the ugly truth and helps solve another murder in Old Town. I just love this series and am thrilled that the wait was well worth it. If you haven’t read one of Krista’s books, this is a great one to start with. You’ll find yourself reading the others in quick succession. Krista Davis is one of my favorite authors and I adore all of her series. Can’t wait for the 12th book.
Domestic diva Sophie Winston attends an underground dinner club where her divorced neighbor, Hollis, brings his new wife to the festivities. Some people at the gathering are not amused, including his ex-wife and son. Things go totally awry when he’s found dead the next day from poisoning. Can Sophie find the truth before another body is found? I love it when a story sweeps you away from your life, and transports you to another place filled with intriguing characters and a plot that keeps you up all night. This cozy mystery was that type of book. Sophie is a great character with major culinary knowledge, and I would love to taste one of her dinners. Another character that I enjoy was Natasha. She is a person who tries to be a domestic star, but winds up looking like a novice. She is annoyingly entertaining. The plot kept me guessing about who the culprit was, and left me surprised at the end. This is the quintessential cozy mystery and I recommend it to anyone who loves the genre. I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and am voluntarily reviewing it.
The Diva Cooks up a Storm, the 11th book in author Krista Davis' beloved Domestic Diva cozy mystery series, takes us back to Old Town Alexandria, Virginia where Sophie Winston is preparing to go on a beach vacation with her bestie Nina Reid Norwood until a hurricane forces them to cancel their plans. Neighbors in Sophie's historic area of town come together to help each other out after the storm, that is until someone murders fellow resident Hollis Haberman, and his wife Kelsey turns to Sophie for help to clear her name as the prime suspect. New characters - Humphrey's mother!!! - are introduced, and Sophie must solve this whodunit before someone decides to do her in as well! A cleverly written cozy mystery, and as usual I was smiling at the antics while I attempted to deduce the culprit along with the protagonist. Delicious recipes included! 5 stars!
When I came to the end of this story I wanted more. Yes, the murder had been solved but the story was flowing so nicely I just wanted to keep reading. In this 11th book in A Domestic Diva Mystery series Sophie Winston had quite an interesting evening at an underground dinner but that turned out to be nothing compared to the discovery she makes in middle of the street at 4 a.m. This story is well written with an enjoyable cast of characters. If you're a fan and have read previous books you'll be glad to know your favorites are back plus some interesting new characters. Even if you have not read the previous books you could easily read and enjoy this story as a stand alone. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This story starts buzzing on page one and is a thrilling flight until you touch down on the final page! Event planners, Sophie Winston (down-to-earth), and her rival, Natasha (rather snobbish); are showcased at their best with their different personalities when a neighbor’s death stirs up trouble and a hurricane knocks out everyone’s electricity. Sophie hosts an impromptu backyard party for everyone to use their cold or frozen food before it spoils. I love the laugh-out-loud moments throughout the story—Natasha is like no other domestic diva in her advice to others on how things should be done while Sophie is more laid back. The recurring characters that make this cozy series a favorite are all re-visited here. Author Krista Davis dishes up plenty of hints and clues galore, yet still manages to cleverly disguise the murderer’s identity until she’s ready to give it away. Once all the ingredients for the murder are separated out; it becomes clear who did what and why. It’s such a pleasure to read such a well-written cozy mystery. All I have to do is sit back, and relax, and let the words take me on an adventure. The author includes several delicious sounding recipes for food and drinks for readers to try in their own kitchens. I highly recommend this story and the entire Domestic Diva series. I reviewed a digital ARC provided by NetGalley and Kensington.
The Diva Cooks Up A Storm is the eleventh book in the A Domestic Diva Mystery series. Sophie, Natasha(the Diva) and their friends are back once again to solve another exciting mystery and tempt the reader with delicious foods. A nearby neighbor, Hollis Haberman, asks Sophie if she knows a way to check food at home to learn if it has been poisoned, but is unwilling to provide more information. She suggests that he bring some of the food that he is suspicious of to the “underground dinner” that they will be attending that evening. Sophie begins to wonder if there is trouble in paradise and his new “trophy” wife might be trying to poison him. The next morning, Sophie is up at 4:00 AM to get ready to go on vacation and while walking Daisy she finds Haberman lying in the middle of the street having breathing difficulties. Haberman is transported to the hospital where he dies. When Sophie and her friends and neighbors begin to look into Haberman’s they find several people who can be treated as prime suspects. First on their list is his wife, Kelsey. They have to seriously look at her as her provocative apparel makes them think she might be looking for husband #2, plus they soon learn that she had a violent past. Cindy, his ex-wife is also a possibility, having gone through a messy divorce. Also, Sophie wants to take a look at his law office, as there was a suspicious passing of one of the firm’s partners. Ms. Davis always provides well-plotted and told stories and this was no exception. She also provides an interesting and believable cast of characters. Once again, Natasha, shows why she is called The Diva. Her actions just make me shake my head at her. Delicious sounding recipes are also included in the book.
It was so great to go back to Old Town Alexandria and visit with Sophie, Nina, Mars, Bernie, Natasha, and their friends and neighbors! One of the things I love so much about this series is that it includes fairly equal amounts of sleuthing and real life. Sophie's on vacation from her job in this book, but there are plenty of relationship dynamics, activities around town, get-togethers, and cooking mixed in with the mysteries of the story. There are multiple victims, suspects, and secrets in this book, which kept me guessing until the very end. I love the advice column letters at the beginning of each chapter that show how sensible Sophie is and how ridiculous Natasha can be. I was so happy to hear that there was going to be a new book in this series, and even more thrilled that I got an advance reader copy. This review reflects my honest thoughts and opinions. I hope there will be many more books in this series to enjoy along with Krista Davis's other great series!
In this new book Sophie is approached by a friend who thinks he is being poisoned and asks her for help with finding out if it's true or not. She thinks Hollis should take his concerns to the police but that is something that he is not prepared to do just yet. When Hollis ends up dead Sophie worries that she didn't make Hollis talk to the police. Hollis who has recently married a much younger woman instantly becomes the main suspect but so is the ex-wife. Who killed Hollis, what killed him, and why are the questions that keep running through Sophie's mind. Follow along as she looks for a murderer among her friends and neighbors. Will she figure out who the killer is before she herself gets in harms way? Dive in and see if you can figure it out! This is such a lovely series, filled with wonderful tips on food, decorating and etiquette, there is something for everyone. You never know what you might learn throughout the read!!! Don't forget the wonderful recipes included at the end, I always have fun trying out my favorites.