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Death by Rhubarb (Heaven Lee, #1)
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Death by Rhubarb (Heaven Lee #1)

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  159 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
At Cafe Heaven, the souffles don't fall, but the bodies do.

Heaven Lee is sassy, brassy, and street-smart. She's also one of Kansas City's premier caterers. With a string of failed careers and stalled marriages behind her, Heaven's finally found her true love-Cafe Heaven, a trendy restaurant on midtown 39th.

Open-mike night at Cafe Heaven gets pretty hairy, but Heaven is sho
Paperback, 220 pages
Published August 15th 1996 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
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Foodie Mysteries
10th out of 155 books — 13 voters
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Food Cozies
6th out of 36 books — 9 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 519)
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BJ Rose
Mar 27, 2014 BJ Rose rated it it was ok
Heaven Lee may be sassy, brassy, and street-smart, but she just didn't do it for me as a main character. There were plenty of suspects to choose from for the crime, but Heaven's obsession with suspecting all of her exes was a bit much - in fact, she had a few too many exes! But what brought the book down from a weak 3* to my 2* rating was the insertion of the recipes into the story itself. Do I skip the recipes so the story flows, or do I read the recipes in case I want to try any of them?! Afte ...more
Linda Famous
Mar 01, 2014 Linda Famous rated it it was ok
This was an easy-reading mystery. The writing was well done but I didn't like the way recipes were randomly inserted into the chapters. I also thought there were a few too many characters - all the mentions of all the ex-husbands wasn't so bad (although it took quite awhile to get to the story about the order of them, so that was a little confusing). But all the people who worked in the restaurant were difficult to remember - in a movie they'd be reduced to two characters.

And thinking about it
Piepie Beuttel
I love Kansas City, and I liked reading this book where several of the places mentioned I've either heard about or visited. And the food... anything about food grabs me and I loved the descriptions of what Heaven served in her restaurant.

As at least one other reviewer has said, there was a lot of characters... I think really too much for a small little book, just over 200 pages. I did like how Heaven and her staff all tried to be amateur sleuths and put their heads together to figure out who was
Homewood Public Library
Mar 30, 2012 Homewood Public Library rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Chris and Joe were dressed as Barbara Bush and Hillary Clinton in a skit they were presenting. The 39th Street League of Decency Fudge Patrol were present handing out fudge and two of Heaven Lee's ex-husbands wanted to talk with her. One of them wanted to introduce his new associate named Tasha. As TV station camera crews were on hand to film the fudge patrol protest to vulgarity, Tasha collapsed on the front sidewalk. Of course, food poisoning publicity is not good for a restaurant. Surprisingl ...more
Pam Bales
Jan 22, 2016 Pam Bales rated it it was amazing
Heaven Lee Culinary mystery series, number 1, this is a great cozy mystery with a food theme set in one of the world's best barbecue locations - Kansas City. If you are a fan of cozies and enjoy a good read about food, this is a series for you.
Jun 06, 2014 Lynn rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
originally read: _________ __-__, 1999
re-read: June 4-6, 2014

Re-read notes.
I remember enjoying this book very much when I first read it. It was an interesting method of murder and very good whodunit and why. It was no less enjoyable on the re-read. I had forgotten who did it and exactly how, so it was very much like reading it for the first time. Good books are like that, each re-read brings new discovery. This re-read was a bit more enjoyable for me because in between reading and re-reading I h
Katie Hilton
Jul 13, 2015 Katie Hilton rated it really liked it
This is a cute whodunit, the first featuring Kansas City restaurant owner Heaven Lee. It's got lots of KC details and a pretty intriguing death investigation with some herb lore.
Clare O'Beara
Oct 08, 2014 Clare O'Beara rated it really liked it
Shelves: america-crime
I really liked this story of a mid-life lady running a restaurant. A sudden poisoning occurs - was this a personal attack, a tragic error, or someone getting at the business that served the dish?

The title reminds us that while rhubarb stems are great cooked, the leaves are full of oxalic acid and should never be eaten, even if they do turn up temptingly in your salad.

There are recipes and good characters, a well-written location and sleuthing galore. Enjoy.
Jessie Wilkens
Apr 17, 2016 Jessie Wilkens rated it it was ok
It was cute, but it didn't interest me to continue the series.
Tabby Kat
Heaven Lee one of Kansas City's premier caterers. With a string of failed careers behind her, Heaven's finally found her true love--Cafe Heaven. Open-mike night at Cafe Heaven gets pretty hairy but Heaven is shocked when lawyer Tasha Arnold drops dead from poisoning. With the law and word-of-mouth threatening to close her down, Heaven turns sleuth to find a killer who could turn her into Kansas City's freshest corpse
Apr 28, 2013 Pat rated it liked it
This was a cute story, with interesting characters. Particularly, the main character- "Heaven Lee"....
Her real name is Katherine O'Malley Martin McGuinne Wolff Steinberg Kelley.
(see page 5 of the paperback version for verification on this one)

Anyway, it is a fast little book and the author packed so much into a mere 213 pages, it almost makes you head spin! But- I would call it cute. Fun. And fast paced!
Jul 18, 2008 Ladiibbug rated it liked it
#1 in the Heaven Lee, cozy restaurant mystery series

An OK book, but I quit reading at page 30. If I'm not really into a book these days, that's it - I move on to the next one.

Lou Jane Temple's other historical mystery series ("Spice" series) is fantastic -- I've read both of them and am hoping she's writing more!
Lynn Demsky
Oct 03, 2013 Lynn Demsky rated it did not like it
Characters weren’t introduced well enough (plus too many of them) that you had any idea of who they were. The murder weapon had nothing to do with anything on going on in the story – the recipes were garbage and just thrown in where ever any one was making them. Just plain ugh!!!
Oct 14, 2008 Drew rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read culinary mysteries, but this one takes place in nearby Kansas City, and I love reading fiction books that use a location that I live in or near. However, I was enchanted by Heaven Lee, the main character.
Jan 21, 2009 Mona rated it it was ok
another one of those fun reads given to me by my dear friend, Victoria
Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
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LOU JANE TEMPLE, the former owner of Cafe Lulu in Kansas City, continues to develop menus for new restaurants. She writes about food and entertaining for Kansas City Magazine, and is the author of the Heaven Lee mysteries, a series of culinary thrillers.
More about Lou Jane Temple...

Other Books in the Series

Heaven Lee (7 books)
  • Revenge of the Barbeque Queens (Heaven Lee, #2)
  • A Stiff Risotto (Heaven Lee, #3)
  • Bread on Arrival (Heaven Lee, #4)
  • The Cornbread Killer (Heaven Lee, #5)
  • Red Beans and Vice (Heaven Lee, #6)
  • Death Is Semisweet (Heaven Lee, #7)

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