Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking (2022) Raquel V. Reyes (A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery)

I read Mango, Mambo, and Murder and Mia P. Manansala’s Arsenic and Adobo very close together, and have spent the past year confusing the two, because cozy mystery with food and a female lead are what I remembered.

To be clear, I liked Mia P. Manansala’s mysteries, but the love triangle is never going to be something I like.

Whereas Miriam Quiñones-Smith is married, and I love a series with a married couple working their lives out. So I was utterly delighted to see Raquel V. Reyes’s second book was finally coming out, and not only immediately bought it, I read it immediately.

The cassava I’d peeled and left to soak in the large cast aluminum pot was on the eye. “Oh. No, that’s not on. It’s just soaking.” I dumped the milky water into the sink and refilled it. I loved the root vegetable, but it took planning to prepare. It required a day— two was better— to leach the toxins from the tubers to make it safe to eat.

I’d recently finished A Is for Arsenic so poisons were on my mind and I was delighted to come across something I knew.

Miriam’s passive-aggressive-aggressive mother in law continues to meddle and be awful, but Miriam and Roberto are doing better, as he sees how terribly his mother treats Miriam and is trying to protect her more.

Plus, he’s sweet.

He held my purse in his lap, knowing I, like most Cuban women, had a superstition about putting my purse on the floor. Setting it on the floor was a sign of disrespect to your money. It would walk away, and you’d be poor.

I’ve never understood putting your purse on the floor, because the floor is DIRTY.

Plus, I love her background.

This series is about an archaeologist like you,” she said, holding a book by Elly Griffiths book.

“Oh, I’m an anthropologist, not an archaeologist. I dig culture, not dirt.” I smiled.

Geeking out about culture is such a wonderful thing it makes me happy.

The Celtic pagan tradition of feeding the dead was not unlike the Mexican Dia de los Muertos practice of taking your relative’s favorite meal to their grave site. The Japanese did something similar during the Buddhist Obon festival.

I mean, I ADORE that!

Another thing I liked is that her son actually acts the age he is given.

“What was the drone— I mean, toy helicopter— doing?” Frank raised his eyebrows.

“Flying.” Manny took a sip of juice and looked at the detective like he was an idiot.

And THIS bit made me adore her even more.

We went to talk to Marie’s daughter. I doubled my kid-watching offer. And Marie cut her eyes at me and hissed, “Too much. You will spoil her.”

“No. She needs to know that caregiving is a valuable service and is not free,” I said.

And the food! I am terrible and eating new things and have a lot of things I don’t “like”. The stories like this, with amazing descriptions of food let me enjoy things I would love to be able to eat, but not might be able to do so in real life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and can’t wait for the next book.

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Rating: 8.5/10


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