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Cover image for The cornbread killer
The cornbread killer
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 1999.
Physical Description:
242 pages ; 22 cm.
Number in series:
General Note:
"A Heaven Lee mystery"--Jacket.
A culinary crime novel featuring several recipes from sleuth and chef Heaven Lee of Kansas City. She investigates the electrocution of the organizer of a jazz festival.


Call Number

On Order



Heaven Lee is tackling the world of soul food and jazz this time out. When a big jazz festival comes to town, the chief organizer is murdered. Of course Heaven Lee was around for the murder and gets fingered as a suspect, along with many other Kansas City residents who also seemed to dislike her. But the festival must go on, so Heaven and the rest of her crew have to cook and get the music started all while avoiding becoming the killer's next target.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Chef Heaven Lee is up to her ears in work as she juggles running her restaurant, Cafe Heaven, and the food committee for Kansas City's Eighteenth and Vine Historical District dedication and jazz festival. The area's revitalization is cause for a celebration intended to bring together many diverse groups from the city and beyond in a long-overdue tribute to the area's musicians and their music. But planner Evelyn Edwards, brought in from outside, has ruffled a lot of local feathers, as has Miss Ella Jackson, elbowing into K.C. with her Harlem-launched Miss Ella's Soul Food chain. With her daughter studying abroad and her current love off in Houston for two months, Heaven turns to her friends Mona Kirk and Detective Bonnie Weber when the situation gets dicey. More than the food begins to heat up with Evelyn's electrocution onstage at the Ruby Theater, and the arrival of a documentary film crew and a Russian piano prodigy. Mix in the theft of a painting and the disappearance of Charley Parker's plastic sax from the new Jazz Museum, and matters reach the boiling point. Preservation, recognition and reconciliation are among Temple's (Death by Rhubarb; Bread on Arrival) themes this time around; when local restaurants refuse to supply the festival's soul food, Heaven calls upon the ladies of the city's black social clubs to take charge and work their magic. At the start of each chapter, Temple whets the appetite with instructions for dishes such as Escargot with Pernod, Greens with Leeks and Apples, Hoppin' John, Kansas City Chili and Banana Pudding Trifle, all of which are served during the festivities--making this a pleasure for anyone who likes their mysteries served with recipes on the side. Author tour. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Warning: do not read this book without a snack nearby. Temple's recipe-filled fifth entree in her culinary series is guaranteed to make mouths water. Friendly, disheveled Kansas City chef Heaven Lee is back, somehow managing to solve another crime between whipping up batches of chicken and dumplings and plum tarts. As the town gears up for a jazz festival, Evelyn Edwards, the disreputable festival planner, is found electrocuted. Heaven and her cohorts must first determine if the death was accidental or intentional. And, if intentional, which of the victim's many enemies did her in? Meanwhile, one of Heaven's old flames has returned to Kansas City, and a mysterious figure is buying up all the black-eyed peas and ham hocks in town, seriously crippling Heaven's catering business in the process. Temple's writing is light, fluffy, and as delicious as a chocolate souffle--and a lot less fattening. Culinary crime fans should put Temple on their menus right after Diane Mott Davidson. --Jenny McLarin

Library Journal Review

Restaurant-owner, chef, and part-time sleuth Heaven Lee mixes herself up with trouble in Kansas City--again. When a blackmailing events planner for an upcoming neighborhood black heritage celebration dies under suspicious circumstances, several members of the celebration committee--including Heaven's good friend Mona--squirm with nervousness. Add to this mix several returning jazz musicians with old grudges, a jealous former star of the black baseball league, and at least two musical imposters, and Heaven has her hands full. An abundance of interesting action, characters, and recipes will place this high on the acquisitions list. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.