Goodreads ~ Everyone in San Antonio remembers the Alamo but how many remember the Chili Queens? Back in the early twentieth century, these spicy señoras sold their lip-smacking chili in plazas all around the city. Now, as part of the Chili Showdown, Maxie and her half-sister, Sylvia, are dressing up as the Chili Queens to raise money for charity.
But someone wasn’t feeling too charitable toward a local troubadour, who is murdered at the fundraiser. When their friend, Nick Falcone, head of security for the Showdown, actually becomes the prime suspect, it’s up to Maxie and Sylvia to turn the heat up on a killer, who’s planning a chili reception for them.
Jack, Maxie's father, sold spices in a travelling chili cook-off circuit and disappeared a couple months ago. Maxie and her half-sister, Sylvia, who she doesn't get along with (Jack is their father), keep running the family business. Now the the Chili Showdown has moved on to San Antonio and they are involved in some charity events.
There is a mysterious guitar player wondering around the first event ... he is found strangled with his own guitar strings. And then we find that he wasn't who everyone thought he was. Nick, head of security, had a violent past with the mystery man. Maxie has been attracted to Nick over the series and suspects that he may be the killer. There is a cast of colourful characters (beauty contestants, drag queens, rival "Chili Queens", etc.) and anyone of them had a reason to murder also.
Though this is the third and final in the Chili Cook-Off Mystery Series by this author, it works as a stand alone as there is enough background provided (I'd read the first two). It is written in first person perspective in Maxie's voice. I liked Maxie well enough, though I found that she jumped to conclusions as to "whodunnit" without a lot of evidence and doesn't seem to have any filters ... she speaks without thinking (she doesn't seem very mature). Sylvia wasn't as bitter or nasty or unlikable as in the first two books. It's a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity.
I thought the first two in the series were okay but thought this one was a letdown. The attraction between Maxie and Nick finally starts to get going. We finally find out what happened to Jack and it was really lame and unbelievable.