I picked up Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles since it was a Mocha Girls Read book club pick. I LOVE COZY MYSTERIES! Whether it’s on Hallmark or the page, I’m usually interested in it. This series has a catchy title format using Murder with X FOOD. The author even includes several recipes as the book is set in a popular soul food restaurant in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I have family nearby, so I was doubly into the premise.
The main character is Halia Watkins, owner of the said restaurant who stumbles a dead body one night. Instead of calling the police, she moves the body with her cousin Wavonne begrudgingly helping her. Halia’s business is doing well, but the fear of bad publicity is just too much. She doesn’t want this ruining all her years of hard work. The police come sniffing around anyway because her cousin just had to steal the victim’s credit card for a shopping spree. She’s not portrayed as having much sense, but that’s pretty baffling. Halia decides to find the real killer on her own since they’re really in the shit now. Maybe if they serve up the killer, the cops will forgive her tampering with evidence.
I read about 75% of the book and skimmed the rest before my book club meeting. The unmasking of the killer wasn’t a huge twist, but it made sense. When the book club meeting got going, we started comparing notes and felt something was a bit off with the details. Wavonne was too much caricature when you think about it. Also, Halia knowingly goes to a bad hairstylist and offers up her head to get clues?! Black women are pretty serious about our hair. I wouldn’t let someone possibly ruin my hair to solve a crime. Sorry.
That’s when we tried to figure out more about the author. We all assumed that she must be a black woman since the main character is too. A Halia avatar is used nearly all over A. L. Herbert’s social profiles. We did know it was a pseudonym. After locating this interview, we realized the author is male and not African-American at all. He simply wanted to use the food in the title format and write about African-Americans since he grew up in Prince George’s County. I should have realized a black person would never have put a recipe for Mac and Cheese with red peppers in their book. Black Twitter has laid down the law that mac and cheese should not have vegetables in it.
He does use family recipes in the book, which I like. It’s nice to put parts of you in the story sometimes. After learning this, I haven’t gone back to re-read the parts I skimmed. I probably will over the break, but this discovery kinda put me off it. The book is written fine enough, but the stereotypes being implied turned me off. I’m probably reading too much into a cozy mystery! If you’re looking for low investment read and like Hallmark mysteries, it’s worth reading and deciding for yourself. I read this one on Kindle Unlimited.
Read more of my reviews on my blog, Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict.