This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy from my links, at no additional cost to you, I get a small commission so I can buy even more books to review! See full disclosure here.
Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala
Genre: Culinary Cozy Mystery | 300 Pages | Pub: 5/4/21 by Berkley Prime Crime
Book Jacket Synopsis:
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…
Book Links: Amazon
- In typical Filipino fashion, my aunt expressed her love not through words of encouragement or affectionate embraces, but through food. Food was how she communicated. Food was how she found her place in the world. When someone rejected her food, they were really rejecting her heart. It crushed her. And I did not take kindly to those who made her feel that way.
- Jae looked at Adeena in admiration. “You, my friend; have more layers than I gave you credit for”. Adeena grinned. “I’m like an onion. Many layers’ lots of flavor, and I provide incredible depth. Lucky for you all, I’m not as pungent.”
Review & Thoughts
I selected Arsenic and Adobo as my Book of the Month selection in April. I was excited to read a culinary cozy mystery (it’d been ages since I read a fun cozy) and proceeded to read it right away. I enjoyed it so much that I recommended it to my book club and we made it our June group read!
Shout-out to Jaymi for hosting a spectacular book club event; she went all out inspired by my favorite aspect of the book — the Filipino food!!
Arsenic and Adobo was a super quick cozy read. If you’re not familiar with cozy mysteries, they’re essentially less scary versions of murder mysteries. There’s murders but the focus isn’t on the blood and gore but more about the whodunnit. I LOVED that food was such a big part of this book and I truly appreciated being able to try some of the food mentioned in the book. I’d seriously been wanting to try fried lumpia and of course was curious about adobo; thrilled that I got to try both at book club!
The ending was tied up in a neat bow and kind of reminded me of the Scooby Doo vibe when the bad guy gets caught and does the ‘if it weren’t for you meddling kids’ deal. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it. Looking forward to the next books in the series.
Recommend for: cozy mystery lovers | foodies | This book will make your mouth water – don’t read while hungry!
My Review Rating: ♥♥♥♥.5 | Enjoyed and would recommend it!
Book Format & Source: Hardback purchased from Book of the Month subscription.
About Mia P. Manansala
Mia P. Manansala is a book coach and the author of ARSENIC AND ADOBO (Berkley 2021), the first in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series.
She uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture.
She is the winner of the 2018 Hugh Holton Award, the 2018 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, the 2017 William F. Deeck – Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, and the 2016 Mystery Writers of America/Helen McCloy Scholarship. She’s also a 2017 Pitch Wars alum and 2018-2020 mentor.
A lover of all things geeky, Mia spends her days procrastibaking, playing JRPGs and dating sims, reading cozy mysteries, and dreaming of becoming best buds with Wonder Woman and Kamala Khan.
When she’s not sassing her ever-so-patient husband, she’s cuddling her dogs Max Power and Bayley Banks (bonus points to those who get the name references) at her home just outside of Chicago.
Mia is quite the joiner, as she is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Color, Banyan: Asian American Writers Collective, the Chicago Writers Association, and the Chicago Nerd Social Club.
Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @MPMtheWriter
Or check out her website: www.miapmanansala.com
You May Also Enjoy