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Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

--Staff Picks General

Arsenic and Adobo

Mia P. Manansala
Published: 2021
Age Range: Young Adult/Adult
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Awards: RUSA Award, Agatha Award

“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.”

The vibrant cover is what initially attracted me to this book, which is the first in a series of food-based cozy mysteries. Despite the murders, vandalism, and other mayhem, this mystery manages to keep the tone lighthearted, even while touching on more serious topics such as leaving home, career difficulties, and the complexities of relationships and families. I was drawn in by main characters who were well developed (for a cozy) and a plot that never stops moving forward—except to describe food, food, and more glorious food! Author Mia P. Manansala really understands food, and learning more about Filipino food was an added bonus—and made me hungry! Thankfully, she includes recipes at the end of the book.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. You can find book two, Homicide and Halo-Halo, in our catalog by clicking the link below, and the third book, called Blackmail and Bibingka, will be available in October 2022.