Review Blog

Nov 11 2015

Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery by Sally Andrew

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Tannie Maria Mystery bk 1. Text, 2015. ISBN 9781925240092
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Mystery. Recipes. Humour. South Africa. Tannie Maria loves to cook and writes a recipe column for her local paper, the Klein Karoo Gazette. When instructed to turn her column into one that answers problems, she does with a flair, using common sense advice and terrific recipes as well. One of the letters is disturbing and when its author is found murdered, Tannie Maria and her offsider Jessie, a young reporter at the Gazette, begin to look for clues and run into challenges and danger.
I loved both the setting and the characters in Recipes for love and murder. Descriptions of the Klein Karoo in South Africa, its landscape, flora and fauna were skilfully woven into the story and will have readers looking up the area to find out more about it. The main character, Tannie Maria immediately gains the reader's sympathy. The author gives great insight into her personality, using descriptions of the food and its preparation, and how it impacts on her and on other people. She has suffered from domestic violence, and this is a thread all through the book, but she is gradually regaining her confidence in herself and in men, particularly Henk Kennemeyer, the policeman who is in charge of the murder investigation. Armed with some mouth-watering food, Tannie Maria manages to inveigle her way into the investigation, and her knowledge of domestic things adds some clues to the mix. Jessie, the young reporter is also an interesting character, young and eager, she wants to prove herself and puts herself into great danger as she does that.
There is much humour in the book that off-sets the darkness of the domestic violence and murder and this gives the reading experience an extra zest and really adds to the enjoyment of the book.
Highly addictive, this story is a fabulous combination of murder mystery, friendship, overcoming grief and regaining confidence as well as some delicious recipes. I will certainly be trying out the recipe for Tender Mutton Curry to be found at the back of the books, with other equally mouth-watering recipes. I can't wait for the next in the series.
Pat Pledger

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