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If You Can't Stand the Heat (Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop, #1)
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If You Can't Stand the Heat (Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop #1)

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  818 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews

Poppy Markham practically grew up at the family restaurant in Austin, Texas, and, until recently, worked as a sous chef under her surly stepsister, Ursula. Poppy's not sure if her dad will ever forgive her for leaving the family business to become a public health inspector-the most reviled figure in the restaurant industry-but when he asks her back into the kitchen to help

Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 8th 2011 by Midnight Ink
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Melinda Freeland
May 11, 2011 Melinda Freeland rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes humor and has lived in Austin, Texas
Recommended to Melinda by: Tye Preston Memorial Libray Newsletter
This book made me smile several times - loved the writer's "voice" and especially loved her descriptions. Several times author Robin Allen used food-related descriptions, such as "His bright red chef's coat made him look even more like raw poultry." Another description I liked was: "The rubber mats stood on the end near the back door. Rolled up and secured with bungee cords, they looked like sushi for a T-rex."

Now, I usually don't read mysteries, but this book piqued my interest for several rea
May 04, 2016 Susan rated it it was ok
This book was OK, not horrible and not wonderful, just OK. The plot ran fairly well and the novel had some interesting characters. But, I just never warmed up to the protagonist Poppy Markham. She seemed fairly passive-aggressive, and annoyed me on other levels,

- e.g. she made the point several times that she is a vegan but then eats cream (pasta primavera) and cheese (nachos); that makes a person vegetarian but not really vegan. Of course, this point wouldn't have bothered me so much except tha
Diane ~Firefly~
Pretty good start to a new mystery series. I like the setting and a health inspector is certainly a new take for an occupation - although as little as she worked (and how she used the title for things) I'm amazed she still has a job.

What I enjoyed:
* Poppy was likeable overall and very realistic in her struggles with her ex
* Markham's was a good setting for the book
* Doesn't look to be a love triangle in sight
* John With and Without were interesting and I hope they show up again
* Jamie

What could
Sep 14, 2011 Audrey rated it liked it
Shelves: culinary
I hate favors. I hate doing them and I hate asking for them. They always sound so quick and innocent at first. A favor. Like a squeeze. But favors replicate, taking on a life of their own. Lending a hand in the kitchen for a few hours turns into a murder investigation, and then one night your house is set on fire. But how could I refuse after what they had done for me?

Synopsis: Poppy Markham caused a rift in her family when she left their Austin restaurant to become a health department inspector
May 24, 2011 Lizzy rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, cozy-mystery
If You Can't Stand the Heat kept me out of my kitchen and on the couch. A delicious read with a spunky character named Poppy. Her similes made me laugh sillier than a clown on helium. I must admit that now I know what goes on behind the scene in restaurants, I'm a little leery of eating out! The ending was tied up a little too neatly and quickly for my taste, however I will be looking forward to the next entree!
Apr 18, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel
Pageturner. Poppy Markham, Chef turned Health Inspector, is a most fun character. I appreciate her sense of humor. Not usually a mystery reader, but I certainly enjoyed this culinary adventure.

I look forward to the next in this series. Most fun I've had in a restaurant in a long time.
Kathy Davie
Jan 17, 2012 Kathy Davie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, homey
First in the Poppy Markham, Culinary Cop mystery series revolving around Poppy who is fascinated by food with a deep appreciation for it and a good red wine.

My Take
This was good! Allen writes a good story with an interesting cast and a heroine who doesn't take the easy, or expected, path. I almost want to say this was an intellectual book, but, in reality, it's simply good writing with an obvious background working in restaurants and bars. Allen takes us behind the scenes in this mystery and we
Oct 21, 2012 Stephen rated it liked it
This first novel will appeal to those who suffer from the twin disabilities of enjoying murder mysteries and enjoying foodie fiction. It is perhaps a bit more likely to appeal to female than to male readers. The protagonist, Poppy Markham, is a professional chef who left the industry (and her father's upscale restaurant in Austin, Texas) to become a food inspector for the health department. In the restaurant business, this would be considered a defection to the enemy. The author has a good feel ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Carlee rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
The guest chef at Markham's Bar and Grille, Evariste Bontecou, is found dead behind the dumpster, with a knife sticking into his heart. And not just any knife - but one that belonged to head chef, Ursula York! The police arrest Ursula and it's up to her stepsister, Poppy Markham, to find the real killer.

This book was a fun read - as a cozy mystery (although it's set in Austin, TX which isn't exactly SmallTown, USA), there isn't any violence (except for the murder and an incident of arson). The
Dec 03, 2012 Dalene rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, cozy-mystery
Review originally posted at A Date with a Book .

I was able to snag book two, Stick a Fork In it, from this series off Netgalley in the early summer and after reading it, decided I needed to read book one. It didn’t disappoint either. Check out my review of Stick a Fork In It.

I thought I would be met with a lot of details and set up as usually comes with first books of a series, but that definitely was not the case. There were a few new details that I learned, but these are definitely cozies that
Mar 11, 2012 Judy rated it liked it
Poppy Markham grew up in Austin, Texas working at Markham's, her family's restaurant. But after working unhappily as sous chef under Ursula, her stepsister, she leaves Markham's to become a public health inspector. When Markham's was renovated and was preparing for their grand opening, she agrees to come back to help in the kitchen for opening night. Unfortunately, Poppy's father also brought celebrity chef, Evarista Bontecou with his Michelin star, into the restaurant with his over the top pers ...more
Jun 21, 2015 Fanficfan44 rated it it was ok
This is the current month’s read over a the Cozy Mystery Corner on Goodreads. The protagonist is Poppy Markham, who comes from a long time restaurant family, but has defected to the dark side, the health inspector’s office. In this, the first book, Poppy is called back to the family restaurant which is in a state of chaos due to her father’s health, some unscrupulous villains and a murder. Poppy’s stepsister and the head chef is cooling her heels in jail and so Poppy investigates to try to clear ...more
May 27, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it
Nice start to a new mystery series. This mystery is set in/around a restaurant but there is less attention to food and more to the business side of the restaurant biz itself. So, as a person who dislikes cooking, not a foodie at heart - I still enjoyed the book for it's great characters and interesting mystery. That is not saying that a true foodie would not get good enjoyment out of this, as I'm certain they would. There are lots of dining experiences and wine appreciation.

Still, a charming, no
❂ Jennifer
This was a good, solid cozy mystery. Lots of suspects and a few red herrings. I wasn't able to guess who the murderer was until the end. I give this three stars because I didn't really establish a relationship with the main character - a bit too much angst, and a whole lot too much family dysfunction - something I'd rather not read about in my cozies unless the dysfunction is of the eccentric, quirky variety. I didn't really find much to connect with the secondary characters either. I did like t ...more
Aug 05, 2012 L.W. rated it liked it
This was another new adventure for me as I picked it up after reading the flap, but having no other recommendation. I wasn't disappointed. I liked the character development. If I can't relate to something about the characters I read about, I find it hard to get into the book.

These characters were for the most part very human, although I think they were better behaved than anyone in real life. They had flaws galore, which makes the read more entertaining. The plot was well thought out and dare I
Jan 16, 2013 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this book as a freebie for the Kindle simply because it was labelled a mystery and because one of my dreams has always been to own a restaurant. The mystery was intriguing and for awhile I couldn't make up my mind which of the possible suspects committed the crime. I did finally guess it right about 63% of the way through the book. I enjoyed that the author included some taboo subjects such as same sex relationships and home schooling families. I can't wait to read the other books in this ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
This was the debut book in a new series with a good premise. The sleuth is the daughter of a famous restaurant owner and has shucked the family business to become a rival. Oh, not in the normal sense but as a public health inspector. The book explains why this career change happens.

Life interferes and Poppy Markham agrees to help her Father with a re-opening night that becomes a nightmare as the guest chef is stabbed.

This book is far more complex than the cover leads one to believe. There are s
Candace Davidson
Nov 14, 2012 Candace Davidson rated it it was amazing
This is the second book I've read of Robin Allen's though it is the first of her 2 books. Again, just like the other book Stick a Fork in it. I really enjoyed this book as well. Robin does a great job at hinting at other "suspects" so you don't fiqure out "who done it" until the end of the book. With me I am never good at fiquring out "who done it" in any book I read, which is good. I don't want to be able to fiqure out the plot before I finish reading it.
Tara Gabor
Jul 22, 2012 Tara Gabor rated it really liked it
Poppy is a "culinary cop" helping her father at the family restaurant which involves working with both her unlikeable step-sister head chef as well as an equally unlikeable visiting celebrity chef. When the visiting chef is found stabbed to death with the step sister's knife, the police arrest her for the murder. More mayhem ensues as Poppy launches her own investigation into the misdeed. This is a fun debut novel. I certainly hope Poppy shows up frequently in more adventures.
May 08, 2011 Eleonara marked it as to-read
I won this book as a First Reads Giveaway on Goodreads and am really exited to read it. I currently have about 50 books to read (a couple of them free computer eBooks), and I will post a review on this book as soon as possible. I will be sure, however, to put this book near the top of my "to-read" list, because it sounds like something I'll like
Goodreads and Robin Allen for getting this book to me.
Kayla Christine
Aug 26, 2012 Kayla Christine rated it it was amazing
Loved it. There was one mistake I wish the editors had caught. Uh the beginning, Poppy mentions the name of someone who "left" the restaurant and her. I think that it was meant to be about Jamie, but the name that was used was Drew. All through the rest of the book I kept expecting more about this mysterious person, but to no avail.
Sep 10, 2012 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozies, kindle
A freebie I got for my Kindle and really, really enjoyed! I love cozies, since the violence is not gruesome and the language is not bad. This was a great cozy, probably just one or two curse words if any, and a good plot. I loved the characters and would definitely read more in this series if I could find them free or discounted. I believe this is the first one, and it was good :)
Kara Rutledge
Apr 30, 2011 Kara Rutledge rated it liked it
I choose this book because it made me think of the t.v. shows "Hell's Kitchen" and "Kitchen Nightmares". The book started out and ended really well, but it dragged in the middle a little. I would've liked the ending to not have been wrapped up so quickly but extended a little bit more after they found out who the killer was. This is a fast read and perfect to read at the beach, lake, or pool.
Jul 10, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
It was entertaining, and definitely gets your emotions going. Anger for Poppy's family, empathy for Poppy, and irritation at the treatment of the main character. It was a good plot, with plenty of twists and turns.
Jan 31, 2013 Erin rated it liked it
It was.... Fine. I was totally on board until the extremely abrupt ending. I was also perturbed that so many story lines didn't get wrapped up (like why was her stepmother keeping her away from her dad?) I would read others in the series though- I like the characters.
May 15, 2012 Laughingbluedog rated it it was amazing
Fresh, quirky and entertaining. The perfect sit-by-the-pool in the Texas Hill Country book that will make you avoid eating out for at least a few weeks, for fear of murderers or food poisoning. Looking forward to the next course...a la Stick a Fork in It.
Jim Sampson
Jun 10, 2011 Jim Sampson rated it it was amazing
Everything I enjoy in a cozy. Easy reading, a good mystery and more than all great characters. Poppy has a lot on her plate when her fathers and family restaurant becomes involved in a murder mystery after a world famous chef is found dead. A fun and easy read.
Kathleen Kurlin
Jan 28, 2013 Kathleen Kurlin rated it really liked it
This book combined two of my great loves: murder mysteries and cooking! This is a story about a chef who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and stumbles upon a murder committed in her family restaurant. Very quick read. I would definitely read other books by this author.
Oct 24, 2012 Lidia rated it liked it
Nice reading if not look too to plot, because there situations that aren't coherent or normals. Poppy is very cute but I think too mistreated from its father and stepmother and also betrayed from boyfriend. So I think that she is too good with all:not my favorite heroine.
Nov 28, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this mystery. It was fast paced and kept me guessing until the very end. But it wasn't one of those where I felt cheated when the villain was revealed (I hate it when you aren't ever given any clues that would cause you to suspect the solution).
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I am the author of the clean, humorous Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop mystery series that features an Austin, TX public health inspector and lots of behind-the-scenes information about the restaurant industry.

I hold a BA degree in English which qualifies me to work as the following: food server, cocktail waitress, bartender, barista, sales rep, marketing director, freelance writer, technical writer,
More about Robin Allen...

Other Books in the Series

Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop (3 books)
  • Stick a Fork In It (Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop, #2)
  • Out of the Frying Pan (Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop, #3)

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