Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes

Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. ReyesMango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel Reyes
Series: A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery #1
Published by Crooked Lane Books on October 12, 2021
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Also by this author: Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking, Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal
Also in this series: Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking, Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About Mango, Mambo, and Murder

Raquel Reyes’s Caribbean Kitchen Mystery debut, Mango, Mambo, and Murder, is a delicious, spicy treat. Cuban-American Miriam Quinones-Smith has just moved back to Miami so her white husband can take a new job. Miriam’s excited about being back in Miami as she can reconnect with family, see more of her bestie, Alma. And as a food anthropologist, she needs to figure out her career next steps.

What’s not so amazing about moving back is it’s to Coral Shores, a mostly white enclave of privilege. This means being closer to her prejudiced mother-in-law who won’t even call her grandson by his given name of Manuel and is constantly critical of Miriam’s parenting choices and belittles Miriam and her heritage. Lots of microaggressions on display.

Things get even worse when a young woman dies and Alma’s taken into custody on murder charges. Plus Miriam’s worried that Robert’s having an affair with a former flame – one of that his mother approves of.

My thoughts about Mango, Mambo, and Murder

So Much to love about this book! It’s a delicious slice of life look at Miami. Lots of tasty tidbits about the variety of Latinx cultures – customs, religion and of course, so many fabulous descriptions of the food! From local markets to high-end restaurants plus the amazing food that Miriam prepares – it all sounded mouthwateringly delicious.

The author created well-rounded and interesting characters. I cared about Alma not just because she was Miriam’s best friend, but because we were given a look into a tragic event in her past.

Miriam was so likable and relatable as a young mother trying to balance her career and family, trying to keep her culture and make sure it was part of her son’s life while still navigating the white world her husband was from.

In conclusion

Such a skillful writer with a knack for fantastic descriptions, a great sense of place, vibrant and colorful character creation, and a great mystery! I’m eager to read the second book!

My thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for the ARC.

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About Raquel Reyes

RAQUEL V. REYES writes Latina protagonists. Her Cuban-American heritage, Miami, and Spanglish feature prominently in her work. Mango, Mambo, and Murder, the first in the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series, won a LEFTY for Best Humorous Mystery and an International Latino Book Award. It was nominated for an Agatha Award and optioned for film. Raquel’s short stories appear in various anthologies, including The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2022.

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