A Pair of Fun Food Mysteries For Your Summer Appetite

by Sandra Murhpy & Cynthia Chow

This week we have some more fun food mysteries perfect for your summer reading-Murder From Scratch: A Sally Solari Mystery by Leslie Karst and The Hidden Corpse: A Food Blogger Mystery by Debra Sennefelder. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of both books, along with links you can use to purchase them. If you have ad blocker on you won't see the Amazon links at the end of each review.

Murder From Scratch: A Sally Solari Mystery by Leslie Karst
Review by Sandra Murphy

Sally Solari has a twenty-year old second-ish cousin she’s never met — until Evelyn’s mother is found dead. Evelyn is blind, and she literally stumbled over her mother’s body. To add more sadness, it appears to be a suicide.

➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅

Since the house is a crime scene, Evelyn and her Lab puppy Coco need a place to stay for a while. Even a relative you don’t know can be a haven in a situation like this. Thankfully, Evelyn and Sally get along just fine, as do their dogs.
Image Source Crooked Lane

When the pair go to Evelyn’s house to pick up clothes and look for her mom’s laptop and phone, Evelyn discovers items out of place. Because she’s blind, she has a system for finding things in the fridge, on a shelf, and in cabinets. A suicide note, things out of place, and a break-in convince them it was no suicide. It was murder. Now to convince the police.

The assigned detective has mixed feelings about Sally’s involvement. He’s had dealings with her before, but this time he seems open to her speculations. For one thing, the victim was a chef and Sally knows that world well from her family’s Italian restaurant and her own.

Sally’s personal life is as busy. She’s taken on a business partner, has mixed feelings about her ex Eric, discovers her dad is dating, and still finds time to ride her bike for exercise and relaxation.

This is the fourth book in the series. I enjoy Sally and her family. They’re close but not suffocating, although Nonna, well, she has definite ideas of how things should be. A day in Sally’s life gives readers an inside look into a busy kitchen’s workings, plus there are recipes included. From hints at the end of the book, change is coming to Sally’s life. Readers will look forward to seeing what’s next.

Recipes include Roasted Leeks with Walnut Oil, Lemon, and Thyme, Singapore Noodles with Roast Pork and Broccolini, Spot Prawns (a kind of large shrimp) with Citrus and Harissa (hot sauce), Nona Sophia's Pasta with Peas, Onion, Porcini, and Garlic, and Nona Sophia's Homemade Egg Pasta. Sally says you can really tell the difference between fresh pasta and store bought.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won't see coming.

The Hidden Corpse: A Food Blogger Mystery by Debra Sennefelder
Review by Cynthia Chow

Hope Early is a food blogger, and not a detective. That hasn’t kept her from helping to uncover a murderer, but she is determined to focus on her increasingly popular food blog Hope at Home. Hope’s unsuccessful appearance on a reality cooking show competition and divorce led her back home to Jefferson, Connecticut, and in pursuit of her new career as a food blogger and possible cookbook recipe contributor Hope is taking a photography class from Cal Barnhart. Hope’s reporter friend Drew is interested in Cal for reasons other than his photography skills, as he was the last to have seen his wife since Lily Barnhart went missing three weeks ago.

Hope has matters much closer to home to keep her distracted, as when there’s a small kitchen fire in her neighbor Peggy Olson’s home, Hope is torn between promising to keep the matter a secret or warning Peggy’s overprotective niece. The decision is taken out of Hope’s control when a house fire not only results in Peggy’s death, but reveals another body hidden inside. Even though Hope has her fellow photography class food bloggers around for both companionship and a little sense of competition, she’s not about to fool herself into thinking that she’s going to remain uninvolved in the deaths. Jefferson Police Chief Ethan Cahill may be stirring up feelings she thought she’d left behind in high school, but she’s not about to let his warnings prevent her from helping her friends. Far more assertive in expressing her opinion that Hope’s behaving foolishly is her extremely judgmental and bossy sister Claire, whose campaign for mayor has Hope catering a tea party for her lifelong nemesis. Threats, a newspaper scandal, and even extortion all up the ante and may make Hope’s next post her last.
Image Source Kensington

Unique to the mystery are the details describing the demands and intricacies involved in creating a popular food blog. I would never have thought how keywords must be evaluated based on their search popularity (for search engine optimization), or how intricate filming a video blog could be. B-rolls, visual appeal, close-ups, and lighting are all taxing for an independent blogger, not to mention how often she must update her social media, reply to comments, and share links. With seven million bloggers all competing for followers and advertisers, it’s no wonder that Hope feels the pressure to hire an agent and maximize her exposure through a cookbook. Hope’s second career in this new age of influencers and social media is entirely relatable, and she becomes so likable through her vulnerability and complete devotion to her adopted dog Bigelow. Claire’s insistence on pushing Hope out of “spinster” status yields giggle-worthy results, but despite their sisterly squabbling, they truly do have a loving bond. Foodies will revel in Hope’s baking demonstrations and recipes, and the business details surrounding food blogging are as compelling as the mystery. A suspenseful finale delivers not just tense moments, but a heroine who must deal with the resulting trauma. This realism makes it a standout novel in the abundant cozy mystery genre.

Readers will also enjoy that Recipes From Hope's Blog: Hope at Home are included. Posted by Hope Early we have easy-to-follow treats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner: Lemon Ricotta Cookies, Chicken Wild Rice Casserole, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Meatball Sub Casserole, Garlic Bread, and Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

To enter to win copies of both books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "summer appetite,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 18, 2019. US residents only. If entering via comment please include your email address. And if entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).


  1. I've been wanting to get both these books. Thank you for the contest. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  2. Both of these sound fun! Thanks for the chance to win! jeaniedannheim (at) ymail (dot) com

  3. Both books sound amazing. Looking forward to reading both of them.

  4. Loved The Hidden Corpse and look forward to reading Murder from Scratch. Not entering contest.

  5. I heartily recommend the Sally Solari series by Leslie Karst. They are terrific.
    I will be on the lookout for the food blogger mystery series by Debra Sennefelder. It sounds good too.

  6. Two good series. Want to read both.

  7. Two for one! Nice!


  8. Thanks for the chance! They look great! JL_Minter (at) hotmail (dot) com


Post a Comment