Murder from Scratch: A Sally Solari Mystery

Murder from Scratch: A Sally Solari Mystery by Leslie Karst

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

MURDER FROM SCRATCH is book four in the series of the Sally Solari Mysteries of which I look forward to reading more. It’s a delicious mixture of mystery, family, and irate chefs and a fun, fast and interesting read. I haven’t read the other books in this series yet, however, I don’t think that this spoilt my enjoyment of this novel. That said, there is nothing more exciting than picking up a book that is the first in a new series.

Santa Cruz restaurateur Sally Solari’s life is difficult enough at the busy Gauguin restaurant. So she’s worked up when her dad persuades her to take in Evelyn, her estranged blind cousin whose mother has just died of a drug overdose.

But Evelyn proves to be lots of fun and she’s a terrific cook. Back at the house she’d shared with her mum, Evelyn’s heightened sense of touch tells her that various objects – a bottle of cranberry juice, her grandfather’s jazz records – are out of place. She and her mum always kept things in the same place so Evelyn could find them. So she suspects that her mother’s death was neither accident nor suicide, no matter what the police believe.

The cousins’ turn detective and Sally and Evelyn are thrown into the world of male-oriented kitchens, and the cut-throat competitiveness that can flame up between chefs. With a long list of suspects in the frame, will Sally be able to find the perpetrator or end up getting burned?

Leslie Karst’s delightful writing style is well-paced and complemented by some interesting characters, some of whom were annoying but helped to make the story as good as it was. There was some romantic and spicy love entanglement, too. Written in the first-person narrative and sharing Sally’s innermost thoughts, Leslie Karst includes some wonderfully amusing moments and vivid descriptions especially of some of the food, such as fall-off-the-bone pulled pork and salmon with habanero-lime butter. An ex-lawyer, the highly organised and extremely likeable Sally demonstrated admirable sleuthing techniques and her cousin Evelyn, although with her own problems, exuded warmth and friendliness.

The book had a natural, steady pace and I was kept guessing right until the surprising reveal. Delightful and entertaining, MURDER FROM SCRATCH is a quick, light, highly recommended read for all cozy mystery fans.

{Thank you to #NetGalley, #Crookedlanebks and Leslie Karst for the free copy of #MurderFromScratch and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}

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