Title: Mango, Mambo and Murder (A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery #1)
Author: Raquel V. Reyes
Published on: 12th October 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Mango, Mambo and Murder is the first book in Raquel V Reyes’ A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series.
Food anthropologist Miriam Quiñones-Smith and her family has moved from Neuva York to Coral Shores, Miami. Miriam grew up in Miami and so did her husband Robert Smith. Deciding to come back to Coral Shores seemed like the right thing to do – Manny (Miriam’s son) is young and Miriam thought it would be nice for the boy to grow up in the midst of the extended family.
But when they shift to Coral Shores, Miriam is annoyed – first, Marjory (the MIL) turns out to be dominating and opinionated, then comes a blast from the past in the form of Juliet Pimpkin, Robert’s ex-girlfriend. Robert starts working at Juliet’s father’s company, thus making the two ex-lovers partners at work. Miriam is not at all happy with Juliet and Robert’s ‘work’ relationship.
Meanwhile, Miriam’s best friend since school, Alma takes her to the local event. On their first visit, a young woman falls dead after drinking herbal tea. Soon, another woman dies drinking the same dreaded herbal tea.
Me encanta este libro porque está muy divertido! 😀 First things first, this book is what they call ‘a breath of fresh air.’ I have read a significant amount of cozy mysteries this year but if I have to choose one book that stands out from the rest, I would definitely say Mango, Mambo and Murder by Raquel V Reyes. I really loved the dash of Spanish – or, should I say Spanglish? – in the story. Esta historia es diferente and that is what makes it especial.
As a first in the series, the spotlight is usually on character introduction. But in Mango, Mambo and Murder, we have a murders(s) mystery, a (suspicious) love triangle , an innocent person accused of crime (happens in a cozy mystery… always!) a local detective asking our amateur sleuth to help them out (Woah! That’s something new!) and a whole lot of comida y fiesta! Disculpe if my Spanish is not up to the mark, yo aprendo español.
Miriam gets a short-term job as a Caribbean cooking expert on a Spanish-language morning TV show. The host of the show collapses while interviewing a Cuban herbalist named Dr. Fuentes. Previously, Miriam attended an event where Dr. Fuentes was called to talk about his herbal teas – this is where a young woman dropped dead, right in front of Miriam.
Miriam has muchas cosas going on in her life – her husband has been acting strange ever since they arrived at Coral Shores. The mother-in-law can never be happy with any decision Miriam takes. Alma, Miriam’s best friend, gets entangled in the murder mess and the local Detective (Dt. Pullman) takes Miriam’s help to ‘infiltrate’ Coral Shores’ social scene to investigate the murders.
I really loved the setting – Miami and wealthy Spanish-speaking community – and food! Mucha comida! Que delicioso! The character portrayal is fantastic and I absolutely LOVED the storytelling. The ending is unexpected and mind-blowing. I did not see the twist coming! I am certainly looking forward to knowing what’s next for our darling Miriam.
Mango, Mambo and Murder by Raquel V Reyes is an entertaining, unique and interesting cozy mystery. Highly recommended!
I received an ARC from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.