There is a soft spot in my heart for books that also serve as cookbooks. In Recipes for Love and Murder, we see the story through the eyes of Tannie (Aunt) Maria, an older lady in the Klein Karoo area of South Africa who is an amazing cook and writes a cooking and recipe column for the Klein Karoo Gazette. But one day her editor, Hattie, has to let her know that the powers that be have demanded an advice column, and Tannie Maria’s column is to be cut to make room. Maria counters by saying she will write the advice column, and add food to go with her advice. A true cook’s negotiation, blending the ingredients to make something new. It is this advice column that brings our titular murder to her doorstep, and it is here that our story gets very good.
Is the murderer the abusive husband? The girl-friend who has recently declared her love? The company trying to buy up land for fracking? Our story takes us on an amateur’s sleuthing mission to try to get to the bottom of who would kill this lovely woman only trying to escape her abusive husband. The answer will surprise you.
There are so many awesome things about this book. Sally Andrew’s writing is so descriptive that you will swear that you can smell the food and hear the chickens clucking in the yard. The South African language and slang was so fun to learn, and there is a glossary at the back along with the recipes for the foods mentioned in order to help you acclimate yourself. I am also a sucker for older characters, especially older women, because in our culture older women become invisible and I love to see one brought into the spotlight to have adventures and find love. Her back and forth with the police detective is 100% cute 10/13 would cute again. The story is believable and, honestly, kind of scary at times. It’s a book that truly brings all of your senses together for a full experience. I am so glad I discovered this book, and you should too!
Now, I did want to mention that I would not have found this book if not for just going into my local library and deciding to browse the New Releases shelf, choosing books by their covers. I picked up a book called The Satanic Mechanic, not realizing that it was a book 2, which caused me to order up this first book from the handy dandy holds list. So now that I’ve devoured book 1, it’s on to book 2. 🙂 I’m sure it will be as enjoyable as the first.