Series: Tannie Maria Mystery #1
on October 6th 2015
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Source: My Bookshelf
Buy on Amazon
A bright new talent makes her fiction debut with this first entry in a delicious crime set in rural South Africa—a flavorful blend of The #1 Ladies Detective Agency and Goldie Schulz, full of humor, romance, and recipes and featuring a charming cast of characters
Tannie Maria (Tannie meaning Auntie, the respectful Afrikaans address for a woman older than you) is a middle-aged widow who likes to cook—and eat. She shares her culinary love as a recipe columnist for the local paper—until The Gazette decides its readers are hungrier for advice on matters of the heart rather than ideas for lunch and dinner.
Tannie Maria doesn’t like the change, but soon discovers she has a knack—and a passion—for helping people. Of course she shares her recipes and culinary advice whenever she can! Assisting other people with their problems, Tannie Maria is eventually forced to face her own issues, especially when the troubles of those she helps touch on the pain of her past, like a woman desperate to escape her abusive husband.
When the woman is murdered, Tannie Maria becomes dangerously entwined in the investigation, despite the best efforts of one striking detective determined to keep her safe. Suddenly, this practical, down-to-earth woman is involved in something much more sinister than perfecting her chocolate cake recipe . . .
I have a confession – I don’t read enough South African fiction. Now many of you might say the exact same thing. It is only a small little country right on the southernest most part of Africa. Difference: I am a South African.
- I love being Afrikaans
- I love the Klein Karoo
- I love koeksisters, bobotie, melktert, vetkoek and karringmelk beskuit
- I love vetplantjies
- I love the smell of the first rain on the warm dry earth
- I love SPAR (although I might check out the managers with an eagle eye hence forth)
- I love being white, but have a black friend that I can honestly call one of my 5 best friends ever.
- I love reading a South African murder mystery that has nothing to do with politics or apartheid or South African history (Die Groot Trek OR The Soweto uprisings)
Meet Tannie Maria: “She’s fifty-something, short and soft (like me!) with brown curls and untidy Afrikaans. She is also the agony aunt (the “dear Abby” Tannie) for the local paper, the Klein Karoo Gazette. One day, her life takes a sinister turn when a woman in the area is murdered and she becomes entangled in the investigation – to the intense irritation of a handsome local policeman.”
She is also the best cook I have ever heard of. She has a recipe for just about everything under the sun – even murder.
My mother was Afrikaans and my father was English and the languages are mixed up inside me. I taste in Afrikaans and argue in English, but if I swear I go back to Afrikaans again. (Afrikaans really does have the best swear words.)
Alongside Tannie Maria, there are a number of notable characters:
- Constable Piet Witbooi – I am quite certain this Boesman can track a kakkerlak
- Hattie – we all need a friend with poor driving skills, but immaculate dress sense
- Jessie – The hard-boiled investigative journalist with the gecko tattoos and a love for koeksisters and bobotie
- Detective Henk Kannemeyer – With his beeswax mustache and chestnut chest hair, he really was very very handsome.
- Karel – a mechanic who needs advice on how to “tune” a girl he likes.
“When the movie got sad, she started shaking like an engine that needed tuning. I put my arm around her and at first she shuddered like her starter motor was faulty, but soon she was purring along nicely.”
“We can be sure that our lives will all end with death. There’s not much we can do about that. But you can add love and good food to your life.”