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Arsenic and Adobo: 06/05/21
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala is the start of the Tita Rosie's Kitchen mystery series. Set in fictional Shady Palms, it's the story of the Macapagal family struggling to keep their restaurant open after a notorious food critic ends up dying after trying one of their dishes. To make matters worse, Lila (pronounced Leela) Macapagal is accused of selling drugs out of the kitchen.
The family dynamics reminds me of the Lees in the Noodle Shop mystery series by Vivien Chien. Their contentious relationship with the landlord is similar too. That said overall I think the Macapagals start the series in a better, tighter knit family unit than the Lees do, meaning Lila has more support off the bat than Lana does.
The food in this series is Filipino and the back of the book includes a few recipes. One is for ube crinkle cooks. Another is for chicken adobo. I am personally not very familiar with Filipino food so I had fun Googling many of the mentioned dishes. I need to find a local restaurant to try some of them for myself.
The pacing in the middle was a little rough which is pretty typical for the start of a new series. Much of the pacing problems for me stem from just how dire her family's restaurant situation is. Yet, Lila as a returnee, isn't as fully vested yet in the day to day running of the restaurant — nor can she be because it's closed for most of the book. I am looking forward to seeing how life in the restaurant is when it's open for the entirety of a mystery.
The second book is Homicide and Halo-Halo. It's scheduled for release on February 8, 2022.