One of the cozy cooking type mysteries, I must knock it down a star because although our girl is charged with murder right out of the gate, there honestly is no danger of anyone buying that. Lila Macapagal is back home from Chicago and is temporarily helping out in her Tita Rosie’s Filipino restaurant. Unfortunately Derek Winter, a food critic who has been writing nasty reviews all over town, including her auntie’s, takes a face plant into his dessert, poisoned. The dessert which Lila had made. Oh, and yeah, Derek is her ex-boyfriend, and it didn’t end well.
There’s quite a cast of characters here and for most of them, a lot of high school drama that makes its way to the surface from time to time. Suffice it to say that the culprit and motivation are to be found there. And wow, small town. Lila had done well to take off for Chicago for a bit, even if things did not go swimmingly for her there. But one thing I am especially fond of in this genre are the aunties, in this case known as the Calendar Girls (names based on months). Since the protagonist is invariably female, the aunties will always have her back. Sure, they can rag on her from time to time about her lack of a suitable suitor, but they inevitably circle the wagons in times of trouble (and likewise invariably cook up a storm).
I also enjoyed the diverse group of family restaurants impacted by Winter’s dastardly scheme. Seems like no matter the cuisine, food people stick together. Mmm, want to try them all!