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Death al Fresco
Sally Solari Mystery #3
Leslie Karst

Crooked Lane
March 13, 2018/ ISBN 978-1-68331-532-2

Reviewed by Laura Hinds 

Restauranteur Sally Solari runs Gauguin, the restaurant she inherited from her late aunt. She also helps out at her father's restaurant, Solari's. She keeps even more busy with friends, her dog, Buster (also inherited from the same aunt) and is now taking an open-air painting class with her ex-boyfriend and current friend, Eric.

Solari's is to host a sister-city dinner with well over a hundred guests, so Sally is spending extra time to pitch in for the event. During one of her painting classes, Buster discovers a dead body in some seaweed and it turns out that the corpse is Gino, an elderly gentleman who is a fisherman and a regular customer at Solari's.

Gino was most likely murdered, but there are reports that he left Solari's drunk, and there is talk that Solari's was negligent in overserving him and allowing him to walk home alone in that condition. To make matters worse, Sally finds Gino's cap in her father's boat. How did it get there and is it going to make the police look closely at her dad as a suspect? Sally hides the cap and sets out on her own investigation to find the killer before her dad is arrested! Will the killer discover what Sally is up to before she can find out who the murderer really is?

This is a very well-crafted murder mystery story, with several subplots which are well-developed. I've read all three books in this series and find myself growing more attached to the characters with each book. The atmosphere of Santa Cruz, California is set so well that I sometimes felt I could almost hear the surf and smell the salt air. There are several good suspects, each with their own possible motives, and I must hand it to the author for coming up with something new and plausible for how things went so horribly wrong for Gino.

A page-turner of a culinary mystery I highly recommend this book. There are even some taste-tempting recipes at the back!

Reviews of other titles in this series

A Measure of Murder #2
Death al Fresco #3

Reviewed 2018