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Killer in the Kitchen - A Chesapeake Bay Mystery is a Mystery and Suspense Event pick #cozymystery

Title: Killer in the Kitchen - A Chesapeake Bay Mystery

Author: Judy L Murray

Genre: Cozy/Traditional Detective/Amateur Sleuth

Book Blurb:

Murder is on the menu –

A celebrity chef poisoned

A bay town reeling

A sleuth pursued

Real estate rule #2: How to sell a house fast – offer a drop-dead kitchen.

When real estate pro Helen Morrisey’s bombshell daughter, Lizzie, a popular home shopping network host, invites her to meet an internationally famous chef, Helen jumps at the chance. What woman doesn’t want to shake hands with a celebrity and do a little shopping at the same time? Even more intriguing, this culinary superstar is about to sell his waterfront mansion and it’s her chance to get introduced. After all, he couldn’t choose a sharper agent than Helen, could he? That’s a job that comes to a dead halt when she walks onto the TV kitchen of Cooking with Roberto to find his blood dripping bright red into his signature dish and her daughter collapsed beside him.

Detective Joe McAllister arrives to take charge and is none too pleased to find Helen asking his kind of questions. Their on again, off again, romance might sour when she ignores his warnings. Undaunted, Helen calls on the personalities and special skills of her Detection Club of famous sleuths to stir this investigation pot. It doesn’t take long before the explosive ingredients of off-camera jealousy, competition, and nasty rumors create a recipe for disaster. Helen has to solve Roberto’s murder before more tempers boil over and they all get burned.

Another page-turner in Judy L Murray’s Chesapeake Bay Mystery Series when murder is on the menu.


Chapter One

Real Estate Rule #2: How to sell a house—Offer a drop-dead kitchen.

“Darn! Darn, darn, darn!” Helen stood up, pulled off her gardening gloves, and tossed them onto the driveway. She pushed her short swing of dark hair out of her green eyes and glared down at the nubs of leaves barely poking out of her flower bed. “Those darn deer! They eat everything!”

“Mom! Are you talking to yourself again?” Her daughter Lizzie poked her platinum head outside a window and looked down at her.

“I’m cursing at the deer. I’ve been trying to grow these Hostas ever since I moved out of Port Anne four years ago. I would think since I live in a state park, the deer could find plenty to eat other than my plants.”

“For heaven’s sake. Just because Dad’s gone doesn’t mean you’ve become the expert gardener. Since when did you grow a green thumb? It’s the end of August. Why don’t you just let them go? Besides, I’ve got a hot lead for you on a great house to sell. Come sit on the deck, and I’ll bring you a tall glass of iced tea. Interested?” Lizzie wiggled her dramatic eyebrows.

“Yes, to the iced tea. And maybe yes to the hot lead.” Helen dusted off the mulch stuck to her knees and picked up her trowel. She stepped back and squinted up at her daughter, her real estate agent antenna up and working. “Where’s the house? Remember the last goose chase you sent me on? I couldn’t decide which was worse, the pervy owner or his house that needed to be torched. He couldn’t understand why buyers didn’t want to see his tighty-whities drying on his oven handle.”

Her daughter laughed as she ducked her head back inside. Helen walked around the house and onto her deck, the broad expanse of blue Chesapeake Bay and woods her backyard. She leaned against the rail that ran the length of her house and spotted an American eagle perusing the water for dinner. She could still hear her daughter chuckling from the kitchen.

“Don’t be such a smarty pants. You knew a lead on a new client would suck me in. What’s the story?”

Lizzie handed her a glass before sprawling across the closest navy canvas chaise. “Do you remember Cooking with Roberto, the cooking show I host on ShopTV twice a week?”

Helen gave a cautious shrug. “I watch you as often as I can, but I really haven’t noticed your guest chef. Should I? You know I’m not into cooking shows.”

“Mom.” Lizzie gave her a condescending stare with her bright blue eyes. “Everyone’s heard of Roberto Barto. He just got named Best Chef MidAtlantic by Gourmet Magazine. He has three of the hottest restaurants on the East Coast. One’s on the Rittenhouse in Philadelphia. One’s right on the Baltimore Inner Harbor. One’s here in Port Anne. People wait months for a reservation.”

“They must get awfully hungry.”

Lizzie let out an exasperated groan. “You don’t have to be a saucier to hear about Roberto. He’s the bay’s answer to Gordon Ramsay. He’s got everyone feasting on his ‘Taste the Chesapeake’ recipes. Blue crabs, oysters, and rockfish with Italian pastas.” Lizzie’s bright red fingernails made little quote marks in the air. “Three years ago, no one ever thought of Old Bay seasoned crab on top of angel hair pasta. He’s reinvented Chesapeake staples into five-star dining. His cookbooks are international bestsellers.”

Helen regarded her daughter’s frown. Lizzie was an expert in juggling famous guests to attract shopaholics at home. It made her a celebrity in her own right. “I realize being a Host on the biggest shopping channel means sell, sell, sell.”

“ShopTV has tripled its business since it bought out the BTB station.”

Helen took a sip of her iced tea and tilted her face toward the sun. “That still doesn’t mean I remember anything about him.”

“I never thought you would be so completely uninformed about a local restaurant. You may not like to cook, but you love to eat. He converted the old steakhouse right here in Port Anne to the Water Street Bistro ten months ago.”

“Okay, I admit I’ve heard his name. I never connected him to the bistro. That’s definitely the new hot spot,” Helen mused. “I treated Susan and Tammi there for their birthdays. We loved it.”

Lizzie gave another groan. “I even gave you one of Roberto’s custom Flying Pans we were selling last Christmas.”

“Was that his?” Helen furrowed her brows.

“It was my fruitless attempt at encouraging you to cook something for yourself besides Special K.”

Helen grinned. “I did like the color, eggplant.”

“Since when does Special K come in purple?”

“Very funny.” Helen sat down and kicked off her muddy orange Crocs.

“Laugh if you will, but his cookware is selling like hotcakes—pardon the pun. His partner, Adrian, invented a non-stick surface that’s threatening to put major brands out of business. Their coating is completely organic. No chemical compounds whatsoever, so all the foodies and health fanatics are crazy about their pans. I had a show with Roberto just this week. We sold 10,000 sets in less than thirty minutes. Right now, ShopTV thinks he’s a god.”

“Are you telling me this because he’s the one who wants to sell his house? I’m assuming there’s a connection. Now I’m interested.”

“Yup.” Lizzie followed her mother into the kitchen. Helen’s two cats, Trixie and Watson, trailed hopefully behind her.

Her mother poked around in the refrigerator. She came out with a squished triangle of cheddar, a bruised apple, and a can of cat food.

“Mom, his place is stunning. He bought it before he opened up the bistro. It’s right off Riding Cross, but you can’t see it from the road.”

Helen’s face brightened. “Riding Cross is a breathtaking spot. Horse farms on the water. I would think it’s pretty safe to assume that this famous chef has a kitchen to die for. Have you seen inside?”

“I did. He had a big party last night. I thought I told you I was going. His house is massive, totally renovated. A classic Southern colonial with gobs of extras. Not exactly Little House on the Prairie.”

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Editorial reviews:

Five out of Five! A Contender for Top Read 2022! Brilliant! Judy Murray has another hit with this second book in her Chesapeake Bay Mystery Series. With a dream kitchen, an over-the-top chef, and murder, this easy-to-read, yet complex, mystery capitalizes on professional envy, questionable finances, and plenty of spicy egos...A compelling investigation, fascinating details, secrets and motives revealed, ins and outs of the real estate biz, family gatherings, and a bit of welcomed romance (maybe even triangular). My own inner "fictional" detective was challenged with all the possibilities. The ending, a key element of any mystery, had the right amount of peril and a surprise, yet satisfying, arrest. - Kings River Life Magazine Review

"This is a fabulous series for any mystery lover, so grab a pack of Twizzlers and settle in for a great read! The red herrings are plentiful; the mystery is well plotted and keeps you guessing until the end." - NetGalley Review

"..could not put this book down! I need to go back and read the first book!" - NetGalley Review

A master of mystery suspense, Judy L Murray is an author to watch rise in the cozy mystery genre. Killer in the Kitchen is set in the Chesapeake Bay Area, as was her first, Murder in the Master. Plenty of red herrings, well-plotted mysteries, and a couple of hints of romance will keep the reader guessing. With a confident voice, the author has created an indelible heroine and a dazzling cast of supporting characters that are as original and vibrant as the protagonist. Helen is an extraordinary woman determined to live on her own terms. She is practical and uncompromising, shrewdly observant with the help of her detective team. Helen has the moxie and courage to do her detective calling even though she knows others consider her quirky and maybe a bit touched... Watch for her next mystery, Peril in the Pool House, in the Chesapeake Bay Mystery series. - PenCraft Awards First Place Winner

The Helen Morrisey Chesapeake Bay Mystery Series introduces recent widow Helen Morrisey, a woman in her fifties readers can both root for and relate to. She’s quick-witted and determined, and like many women, she’s trying hard to figure out what she needs in friends, family, men, and life in general. Helen can be stubborn and hates taking orders. She loves food, especially Twizzlers, doesn’t cook and is afraid of heights. She also has the very inconvenient, longstanding habit of defending those who need help, although she tells herself she’d much prefer life neat, under control, with a full night’s sleep.

Thrown into the midst of a murder investigation with two friends desperate to find the culprit, Helen decides to create her own private Detection Club. Much like the Detection Club created by Agatha Christie in the 1930s, Helen pulls in her favorite sleuths – Jane Marple, Agatha Raisin, Nora Charles, Nancy Drew, and Jessica Fletcher as her private consultants. Helen’s friends and the detective running this investigation may find her methods unusual but admit they are effective. Helen is a fresh, gutsy face for followers of Lucy Burdette's Key West Mysteries and Donald Bain’s Jessica Fletcher of Murder She Wrote.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $35 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally.

Runs August 8 – August 21, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on August 22, 2023.

Author Biography:

Judy L Murray is the 2022 First Place Winner of the PenCraft Award for Sleuth Fiction. The debut novel in her Chesapeake Bay Mystery Series, Murder in the Master, is an IPPY Silver Medalist, a Silver Falchion Award Winner, and an Agatha Award Nominee for Best First Novel. Second in the series, Killer in the Kitchen, released in September 2023, won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery e-fiction and is nominated for the Silver Falchion Award. Third in the series, Peril in the Pool House, will be released in September 2023 through her print and e-format publisher Level Best Books. Audio versions are produced by Blackstone Publishing in audible and CD formats.

Her series introduces Helen Morrisey, a quick-tongued, gutsy, and mature woman long on loyalty and short on romance. A mystery story addict, Helen’s approach to solving problems is to call on the talents of her favorite, strong-minded female detectives within her own mental Detection Club, much like Agatha Christie formed in the 1930s.

A former vice president and real estate broker for Berkshire Hathaway in the Philadelphia region, Judy worked with enough delusional sellers, jittery buyers, testy contractors, and diva agents to fill her head with back-office insight and truth versus gossip. She and her husband live atop a cliff on the Chesapeake Bay where they are buffeted by winds in winter and invaded by family and dogs in summer. Combined with her obsession for mysteries with smart, gutsy women, from young Nancy Drew to the wise Miss Marple, and her Chesapeake Bay Mystery Series was launched.

Judy holds a newspaper journalism degree from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University and an MBA concentrating in marketing from Penn State University. She began her writing career as a newspaper reporter and magazine columnist. She is a member of Sisters in Crime as their Guppy Board Liaison and Mystery Writers of America. Sign up for her newsletter and find links to purchase her books through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Independent Bookstores at Follow her at on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. She is represented by Blue Ridge Literary Agency and Birch Literary Agency. Judy enjoys hearing from both readers and authors.

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1 comentario

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
10 ago 2023

Thank you, Judy, for sharing your book in our Mystery and Suspense Bookish Event!

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