Sunday, March 10, 2019

ARC Review: Murder from Scratch by Leslie Karst

Murder from Scratch
Author: Leslie Karst
Series: Sally Solari (Book 4)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (April 9, 2019)

Description: Restaurateur Sally Solari’s cousin Evelyn may be blind, but she can see all too clearly that her chef mother’s death wasn’t an accidental overdose—she was murdered.

Santa Cruz restaurateur Sally Solari’s life is already boiling over as she deals with irate cooks and other staffing issues at the busy Gauguin restaurant. The rainy December weather isn’t cooling things down, either. So she’s steamed 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 mom, 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 mom 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’ sleuthing takes Sally and Evelyn into the world of macho commercial kitchens, and the cutthroat competitiveness that can flame up between chefs. In Leslie Karst’s scrumptious fourth Sally Solari mystery, Sally will have to chop a long list of suspects down to size or end up getting burned.

My Thoughts: Sally's next case has a family connection. Sally's dad asks her to take in her blind cousin Evelyn and her dog Caro, after her mother Jackie was found dead of a suspected overdose. Sally is glad to oblige and finds that she enjoys Evelyn's company.

When they make a quick trip back to Evelyn's house to gather more of her things, Evelyn discovers a number of things out of place. She and her mother always kept things in the same place so that Evie could find them. And when she is told the contents of her mom's supposed suicide note, Evie becomes convinced that her mother was murdered.

There are lots of suspects and Sally soon finds herself deep into another murder investigation. Could it be the owner of Tamarind, the restaurant Jackie left to start her own pop-up restaurant? Could it be the ex-husband who has been paying spousal support and who owns half of their house? Could it be the former friend that she fired from her job in her pop-up? Could it be the friend who got Jackie the job at Tamarind?

Between the descriptions of the delicious meals that are cooked at Sally's restaurant Gauguin or at Tamarind or at the new pop-up restaurant, Sally keeps busy checking alibis and frustrating Detective Martin Vargas who really wants her to keep out of the investigation.

This was an entertaining mystery filled with interesting characters and great food. The recipes at the end sound really tasty but a bit above my cooking level.

Favorite Quote:
"Wait." I put my hand on his forearm. "Before you leave, I wanted to let you know that Evelyn found Jackie's laptop at the house."

"Really? Where? Because my officers searched the entire premises."

"In her secret hiding place under the mattress," Evelyn said with a smile, prompting the detective to slap his forehead in frustration.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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