Corpses, Calypso, and Cooking

Crooked Lane. (Caribbean Kitchen Mystery, Bk. 2). Oct. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9781639101061. $28.99. M
Trouble seems to follow Miriam Quinones-Smith, a Cuban American cooking show star, wherever she goes. The morning after her son’s school fall festival, Miriam finds a woman passed out in her yard among Halloween tombstone decorations. Miriam’s husband knows all the woman’s family problems, but Miriam has her own. Her hateful mother-in-law volunteered her to head up the Women’s Club gala and menu. It’s usually a stodgy affair, but Miriam recruits friends so that this year’s gala features Caribbean food trucks. When the committee meets at the country club, they overhear an argument, and the new chef takes a header off the stairway. Because she fears her best friend’s assistant might be a suspect, Miriam starts poking around, but she has other things on her mind: she’s three months pregnant, and she’s a little slow to realize she’s a threat to a killer.

CORRECTION: Due to a mistake in editing, this review originally gave the wrong title for the first “Caribbean Kitchen Mystery”; it is Mango, Mambo, and Murder. LJ regrets the error.

VERDICT The first “Caribbean Kitchen Mystery,” Mango, Mambo, and Murder, won the 2022 Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, but Reyes’s sequel is somewhat convoluted and ends abruptly. Add this title, with its varied cast and a great deal of Spanish dialogue, where the first was popular.
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