Title: Arsenic and Adobo
Author: Mia P. Manansala
Series: Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #1
Narrator: Danice Cabanela
Length: 9 hours (316 pages)
Publisher: Berkley; Penguin Audio
Release Date: May 3, 2021
Recommended for fans of: Dial A for Aunties, cozy mysteries
The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer….
When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.
With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…
I really enjoyed this cozy mystery about the small town murder of a a restaurant critic. I loved the vivid characters, the Filipino culture, and all the mouthwatering descriptions of food from restaurants around town.
While the story was funny and heartwarming, I thought the mystery aspect fell a bit flat. A big reveal that helped Lila identify the killer was news to her since she had been away for years, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise to the police. The case could’ve been solved much sooner.
At its heart, this is a book about family, friendship, and food. I loved the special touch of including recipes from the story in the back of the book! These recipes are even narrated in the audiobook, so listeners won’t miss out on this bonus content.