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Murder from Scratch
Sally Solari Mystery #4
BY Leslie Karst

Crooked Lane Books
April 2019 / 978-1683319535
Mystery / Culinary Cozy

Reviewed by  Leslie C. Halpern

This entertaining culinary cozy mystery takes place in California, where restaurant owner Sally Solari juggles her professional responsibilities while dealing with a semi-broken heart over her ex-boyfriend’s apparent new love interest. She has annoyed the local police detective in the past by interfering in his murder cases, so with all these things combined, she certainly has no interest in solving another murder mystery. And yet that’s what happens when her blind cousin, Evelyn, comes to stay for a while after tragedy strikes the family.

When Sally’s aunt (Evelyn’s mother) died of a mysterious drug and alcohol overdose, police, friends, and associates assumed it was accidental. Evelyn suspects—but has no concrete proof—that it was more likely murder related to her mother’s recent opening of a successful new restaurant. Evelyn is convinced that although her mother was under stress, she loved and cared for her disabled daughter, and never would have done anything to jeopardize their relationship, such as take lethal amounts of toxic substances.

After a short period of bonding, the cousins unite in a combined effort to catch a killer. Sally uses her knowledge of food, spice, and restaurant business to aid Evelyn, who, because of her affliction, has a heightened sense of hearing, smell, and the ability to detect when things are out of place. Before long, the suspects are narrowed to movers and shakers in the local restaurant scene.

In addition to mouth-watering food references, five recipes in the back of the book, cute dog scenes, and interesting information about visual impairment, this book presents a puzzling mystery that isn’t easy to solve. Unlike many mysteries that manipulate readers into confusion, Murder from Scratch offers an intriguing story that’s fun and easy to read, and that slowly reveals its secrets while keeping a few for the final chapters of the book. This engaging mystery is a welcome addition to the cozy genre.
Reviewed 2019