Review of The Big Chili


The Big Chili

Uncovered Dish Mystery, Book #1

Julia Buckley

5 Stars


First in a delicious new mystery series filled with casseroles, confidences, and killers…

Lilah Drake’s Covered Dish business discreetly provides the residents of Pine Haven, Illinois, with delicious, fresh-cooked meals they can claim they cooked themselves. But when one of her clandestine concoctions is used to poison a local woman, Lilah finds herself in a pot-load of trouble…

After dreaming for years of owning her own catering company, Lilah has made a start into the food world through her Covered Dish business, covertly cooking for her neighbors who don’t have the time or skill to do so themselves, and allowing them to claim her culinary creations as their own. While her clientele is strong, their continued happiness depends on no one finding out who’s really behind the apron.

So when someone drops dead at a church Bingo night moments after eating chili that Lilah made for a client, the anonymous chef finds herself getting stirred into a cauldron of secrets, lies, and murder—and going toe to toe with a very determined and very attractive detective. To keep her clients coming back and her business under wraps, Lilah will have to chop down the list of suspects fast, because this spicy killer has acquired a taste for homicide… (Goodreads)


This book has everything that I look for when reading a cozy mystery: great characters, a well plotted mystery, humor, suspense and tension.  And I think this had one more thing that made it extra special and that was the premise of the book.  The   Covered Dish business was a unique and delightful theme and I really enjoyed it.  I wish something like that was available where I lived.  

The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional.  I really enjoyed getting to know Lilah, she is a loyal trustworthy friend (with her new business venture, that is definitely a must). I loved the way she always had a song in her head, no matter what the circumstances were.  I also enjoyed reading about her family and liked the fact that they are a close-knit group.  And I love Mick, Lilah’s Labrador,  and that fact that he would listen and nod his approval to her.  What a great dog!

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read.  The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and through most of the book I felt like I was right there watching all the action take place around me.  That is a great thing as a reader.  

The mystery is carried on well throughout the entire book.  There were a lot of suspects to consider and many clues to gather and sift through.  There was enough suspense and tension and I alternated between wanting to keep swiping the pages to see what would happen and not swiping the pages because I was afraid of what would happen.  I kept changing my mind about who the culprit was and I was surprised when it was revealed at the end.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery.  This is the first book in this series and I’m happy to say that book two is already released.  I will be reading the next one soon so I can keep up with what is going on in Lilah’s life and see what kind of trouble she get into the next time.  Be sure to pick up a copy of this book and enjoy.


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