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Recipes for love and murder
2015
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Tanny Maria van Harten (Female), Advice columnist, South African, Afrikaner, Widow, Loves to cook and eat; columnist for the local paper sharing recipes and advice; becomes involved in helping an abused woman
Genre
Fiction
Mystery
Suspense
Topics
Widows
Afrikaners
Advice columnists
Domestic abuse
Abused women
Murder investigations
Setting
South Africa - Africa
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

The dry rolling hills of South Africa's Klein Karoo region serve as the striking backdrop for this winning debut culinary cozy. Middle-aged widow Maria van Harten (known as "Tannie Maria" in the traditional local term of respect) writes a local newspaper advice column that offers wisdom to the desperate and lovelorn via mouth-watering recipes. (In a typical example, a young woman is given sex advice couched in terms of instructions for making chocolate-covered bananas.) When an abused woman who sought her counsel turns up dead, Tannie Maria is reminded of her own terrifying experience with domestic assault. Armed with her wits, the help of a handsome police detective, and killer milk tart, Maria sets out to crack the case and soothe her lonely heart. VERDICT Take a pinch of Alexander McCall Smith, a dash of Diane Mott Davidson, and add a smidge of the wild veld and you'll get a taste for this lekker story (that's "delicious" in Afrikaans). While the tone is heartfelt, Andrew doesn't shy away from the realities of spousal abuse or the shadow of South Africa's tumultuous history. With a fascinating setting, engaging characters, and a full complement of drool-worthy recipes, this is sure to leave readers craving more. [See Prepub Alert, 6/1/15.]-Annabelle Mortensen, Skokie P.L., IL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Even cozy fans who are foodies may be disappointed by Andrew's derivative first novel, the launch of a series set in South Africa. Tannie Maria, who has survived an abusive husband, channels her passion for food into a regular column for her local paper, combining recipes with romantic advice. Soon after an anonymous correspondent writes of her own domestic abuse, the woman, Martine van Schalkwyk, a supermarket bookkeeper, is found dead near a pond on the farm where she lives with her husband, Dirk. Feeling guilty, Maria decides to play amateur detective, and in the process she falls for the hunky and available officer in charge of the case, Det. Lt. Henk Kannemeyer. Maria, who frequently talks to her food, lacks the compassionate insight of Mma Ramotswe of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency fame, and her observations about the world are often less than profound ("maybe life is like a river that can't be stopped, always winding toward or away from death and love"). (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
<p>A bright new talent makes her fiction debut with this first entry in a delicious crime set in rural South Africa--a flavorful blend of The #1 Ladies Detective Agency and Goldie Schulz series, full of humor, romance, and recipes and featuring a charming cast of characters.</p> <p>Tannie Maria (Tannie meaning Auntie, the respectful Afrikaans address for a woman older than you) is a middle-aged widow who likes to cook--and eat. She shares her culinary love as a recipe columnist for the local paper--until The Gazette decides its readers are hungrier for advice on matters of the heart rather than ideas for lunch and dinner.</p> <p>Tannie Maria doesn't like the change, but soon discovers she has a knack--and a passion--for helping people. Of course she shares her recipes and culinary advice whenever she can! Assisting other people with their problems, Tannie Maria is eventually forced to face her own issues, especially when the troubles of those she helps touch on the pain of her past, like a woman desperate to escape her abusive husband.</p> <p>When the woman is murdered, Tannie Maria becomes dangerously entwined in the investigation, despite the best efforts of one striking detective determined to keep her safe. Suddenly, this practical, down-to-earth woman is involved in something much more sinister than perfecting her chocolate cake recipe . . .</p>
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