The gastronomic gallivant is great – I felt hungry almost the whole time; anyone on diet is going to suffer some serious pangs of emptiness. Oh, the murderer? No, I didn’t see them coming either. More twists than a koeksister.
This is the second in the series; the first being Recipes for Love and Murder, which would have been an apt title for this tale, as well. Tannie Maria is a cook of note. She knows her onions when it comes to pacifying peoples’ problems with perfect puddings. She writes an Agony Aunt column for her local small Karoo town paper, soothing troubled brows with advice on love, and giving suitable mouthwatering solutions by way of the right recipe for the occasion; hearts and stomachs connected as they are, as we all well know.
Visiting the annual festival in the nearby town of Oudtshoorn, she is present when a Bushman leader is poisoned with kudu sosatie mustard sauce. Tannie Maria’s boyfriend, Detective Lieutenant Henk Kannemeyer, is also present, seconded to the local police to strengthen the security.
Tannie Maria has love problems of her own. Her abusive late husband died of a heart attack, but she secretly knows that she murdered him. Her love-making with Henk is always interrupted by a panic attack and no recipe seems to work. Her hoped-for solution is to join a colourful group of PTSD sufferers being counselled by a mechanic named Ricus on his farm just outside her town.
Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds, but a lighthearted romp, nevertheless. I wouldn’t call it gripping, but it is a serving liberally spiced with suspects and there are more murders, and mouthwatering moments, to come.
Between the lines, it is a look at post Apartheid South Africa and shows the same positive melting of inter-racial sensitivity that I see around me every day.
Not to spoil a surprise ending… well, maybe I will… yes, to hell with it. There are recipes at the end of the book!
Betcha didn’t see that coming!
My thanks to Penguin Random House South Africa for the review copy.