A Sense for Murder

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Pub Date 01 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2023

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Chef Sally Solari has - to her own bewilderment - built a reputation as a talented sleuth who keeps tripping over dead bodies. But getting mixed up in the curious case of a cookbook killer threatens to be the final chapter in not just her investigating career . . . but her life.

It's the height of the tourist season in Santa Cruz, California, and Sally Solari has her hands full, both juggling crowds of hungry diners at her French-Polynesian restaurant Gauguin, as well as appeasing her father, who's distressed at the number of homeless people camped out in front of Solari's, the family's Italian seafood restaurant out on the historic fisherman's wharf.

Nevertheless, when Sally gets the opportunity to volunteer at a farm-to-table dinner taking place at the hip new restaurant and culinary bookshop Pages and Plums, she seizes the chance. Not only is it a fundraiser for an organization aiding the homeless and seniors, but up for auction at the event is a signed boxset of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Sally's hero, the renowned chef Julia Child.

But then the Pages and Plums dining room manager turns up dead - the locked cabinet containing the precious books now empty - and the irrepressible Sally once again finds herself up to her neck in a criminal investigation. She may have a sense for murder, but can Sally outwit a devious killer with a taste for French cooking before the villain makes mincemeat of her, too?

A Sense for Murder is a fast-paced, super fun culinary cozy mystery that will have your brain working and your mouth watering. And if you haven't met sleuthing chef Sally yet, it's safe to jump right in.

Chef Sally Solari has - to her own bewilderment - built a reputation as a talented sleuth who keeps tripping over dead bodies. But getting mixed up in the curious case of a cookbook killer threatens...

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ISBN 9781448309054
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Average rating from 39 members

Featured Reviews

In "A Sense for Murder" by Leslie Karst, readers are treated to another thrilling culinary mystery starring the talented chef and accidental sleuth, Sally Solari. Karst once again combines delectable food descriptions, a vivid setting, and a dash of danger to deliver an engaging and entertaining read.

The story unfolds in Santa Cruz, California, during the bustling tourist season. Sally finds herself juggling her responsibilities at Gauguin, her French-Polynesian restaurant, while also dealing with her father's concerns about the growing homeless population near their family's Italian seafood restaurant, Solari's. When an opportunity arises for Sally to volunteer at a farm-to-table dinner at Pages and Plums, a trendy new restaurant and culinary bookshop, she eagerly takes it.

However, what was supposed to be a charitable event turns into a perplexing case when the dining room manager is found dead and a precious set of signed cookbooks by Sally's idol, Julia Child, goes missing. With her instinct for trouble, Sally once again becomes entangled in a criminal investigation, using her culinary skills and keen senses to unravel the mystery.

Karst's writing is engaging, painting a vivid picture of the bustling Santa Cruz backdrop and capturing the essence of the culinary world. The author's knowledge of food and cooking shines through, tantalizing readers with descriptions of mouthwatering dishes and cleverly incorporating recipes into the narrative.

Sally Solari is a relatable and tenacious protagonist. Her determination and wit make her an enjoyable character to follow as she navigates the twists and turns of the investigation. The supporting cast, including Sally's family and friends, adds depth and complexity to the story, creating a rich tapestry of relationships.

As the suspense builds, Karst expertly balances the elements of mystery, humor, and gastronomy. The plot unfolds at a satisfying pace, keeping readers guessing and engaged until the final reveal. The author skillfully weaves together the various threads of the story, culminating in a satisfying and unexpected conclusion.

"A Sense for Murder" is a delectable treat for fans of culinary mysteries. Leslie Karst's ability to seamlessly blend food, murder, and intrigue creates a captivating read that will keep readers entertained from start to finish. If you enjoy well-crafted mysteries set in the world of food and cooking, this book is a delectable choice.

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Sally Solari and back and she’s taking an interest in the homelessness situation in her community….and a murder at a charity dinner she was cooking at. Who would have wanted the activist for the homeless dead? Who had the gall to do it at a dinner where everyone was right there too? Those are the things Sally wants to figure out in this latest release in the series.

I’ve enjoyed this smart protagonist for quite awhile now and she never disappoints. A trained lawyer and chef with an appetite for justice and sleuthing makes for a great entry every single time. With a the cutest pup and and a family of blood and those closest to her make for some solid whodunits with plenty of red herrings along the way.

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Sally Solari Mystery #6, "A Sense for Murder" by Leslie Karts is for sure a later in series book. I was a bit lost at the beginning of the book. If that was due to it being further into the series and not a standalone book or due to a really slow build up, I'm not totally sure. However, about 60% of the way into the book I finally was feeling like I was keeping up with the story and starting to enjoy it. So, I'll give the earlier books a chance and see if my view on this book changes.

The mystery was decent. I was bouncing around suspects. In the end I wasn't certain about anyone until Sally pretty much had it all figured out as well. So that redeemed the book a bit for me.

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Wonderful food descriptions that make your mouth water while reading. Chef Sally Solar I is back cooking and solving. Having read the previous books in this series I was caught up. I can see where readers might be a little lost if they haven't. Sally is fun and quirky. I do wish the story had moved faster. But overall A fun book. Thanks#netgalley and #SevernHouse for the eARC in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are mine.

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As a food lover and mystery enthusiast, A Sense for Murder by Leslie Karst had me hooked from the start. The main character, Chef Sally Solari, has an uncanny talent for stumbling upon dead bodies and becoming involved in investigations. This time, the case involves a cookbook killer and the coveted boxset of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.

Karst seamlessly blends the culinary world with the thrilling world of murder mystery. I loved the descriptions of the delicious food Sally prepares at her restaurant, Gauguin, and the farm-to-table dinner at Pages and Plums. The fast-paced plot kept me guessing until the very end and left me wanting more.

Although I would have liked to see more character development, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading A Sense for Murder and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and delicious cozy mystery. It's definitely a four-star read!

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This was my first time reading a Sally Solari Mystery, and I felt like even though I haven’t read the others, you did not need to read the others to read this one. Sally had recently become part owner of a popular restaurant and had given up her practice as lawyer. She is known for her sleuthing abilities and helping to discover what happened. After volunteering to help cook for a charity event, she finds herself back on the trail of another murder.

Loved the way the author kept you on your toes to discovering who performed the murder and why. I also appreciated receiving recipes at the end. Will be looking into the other books so I can learn a little more about Sally.

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A SENSE FOR MURDER is the sixth book in the Sally Solari Mysteries by Leslie Karst. This newest release tackles current day social issues while weaving in a complex mystery that keeps protagonist chef Sally Solari on her toes and the reader engaged! Sally has a solid personality that readers can relate to. She’s empathetic and has a caring relationship with her family, her friends, her employees, and her community. I applaud Ms. Karst for bringing the issue of homelessness to the forefront and showing how Sally gets involved with a fundraiser to benefit a charity that assists those less fortunate. The author’s vivid descriptive writing brings each scene and each character alive. I felt like I was right there, experiencing the festive atmosphere, tasting the delectable dishes, and shivering with anticipation over the chance to bid on a signed boxset of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I think I was just as distraught as Sally when the dining room manager was found murdered and the irreplaceable books stolen.

Ms. Karst is known for her logical approach to crafting Sally’s investigation into the murder. She’s methodical, yet flexible enough to adjust to the twists and turns that pop up. Sally, as owner of her restaurant, Gauguin, doesn’t shirk her responsibilities. Instead, she conscientiously juggles her job with her investigation, making it a more realistic read. And given that the murder happened during the fundraising dinner, there are a lot of suspects to sift through. It was a delight following along with Sally as she uncovered secrets and clues needed to solve the case. I didn’t figure out the culprit until the final clue fell into place for Sally.

As a fun side note, the author, Leslie Karst, is also a trained chef and brings her expertise to the story. Sally, being an owner of a restaurant, is frequently cooking, so be prepared to drool over the mouthwatering dishes mentioned on the pages. Fortunately for the home cook, there are several recipes included at the back of the book.

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I really enjoyed Sally and all the characters written in this book. The mystery was well written to where I didn’t know who did it until the end. It was a bit drug out for my personal liking but well written. I will be checking out this series again in the future books to come.

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Laced With Delicacies..
The sixth in the Sally Solari mystery series finds our chief chef protagonist, once again, juggling culinary delights and murder most foul. Already known for her amateur sleuthing talents, she cannot help but continually come into contact with dastardly deeds. Can she match wits with the cookbook killer? Only Sally can get to the bottom of this particular brand of murderous intent. Another enjoyable and entertaining outing with a determined and likeable protagonist in Sally, a cast of colourful characters and a delicious plot laced with delicacies.

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It is still raining so needed another short read and found this one (again with a food theme) a fun, intriguing and enjoyable book to read.

Although I didn't know Sally from previous books, having not read any others in this series, I found her an interesting character and one I could relate to. Loved the mystery, the sleuthing but it isn't so much a stand alone read/book so I now have to go find the previous ones and maybe re-read this one for it all to make more since.

But having said that I did enjoy it and found the story, the plot, the suspects and the twists all a bit of good fun reading.

Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

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A Sense for Murder is the first book I’ve read by author Leslie Karst, and I’ll be back for more, especially since this is the sixth book in the series. With likable characters, lots of Italian food, an amateur sleuth, and a great setting, what’s not to like?

The book had multiple stories being told and quite a few characters, all of whom had depth. Sally and Eric made a nice couple. They have a history together and were good for each other while usually having the other’s best interests in mind.

Sally is an amateur sleuth, a former attorney, and a chef at an upscale restaurant she co-owns. She has a clever mind and a way of sorting through the details of whatever crime she’s trying to solve. She even gets Eric to help her and provide backup. She’s always one step ahead of the detective—someone she used to date—on the case. I liked Sally’s relationship with her family and their Sunday family dinner tradition.

There were twists and turns throughout, along with a few inconsistencies. There were several clues to sift through, timelines, jobs and careers, friendships, family, Sally’s dog, which added another layer, homelessness, and lots of food, both at the various restaurants in the story and at their homes.

The descriptions were vivid and brought the story to life. There was closure, of course, when Sally solved the crimes, but the whodunnit had me fooled. I look forward to seeing what she’s up to next. I enjoyed the recipes at the end and liked that some background information was given for each one. I definitely plan on giving a few of them a try.

With a murder, lots of suspects, good food, and clues to sift through, A Sense of Murder had me turning the pages of this cozy mystery to find out what would happen next.

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A SENSE FOR MURDER by Leslie Karst

I’m now coveting a signed first edition of Julia Child, a fictional treasure, within a work of fiction that feels almost too real. I’m also coveting some of the meals, and eying the recipes in the back. There’s serious crime to solve, friends to help, dangers to face . . . a satisfying mystery and resolution.
On a more real and serious note, the issue of homelessness or “the unhoused” is very real and likely to become more so as housing costs rise and earnings do not. It’s a problem that cannot be solved easily, but raising awareness is a start.

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Sally thought the fund raiser for the homeless would be, if not fun, at least a good thing but then there's a murder and a priceless (well, there is a price for most everything) set of signed Julia Child cookbooks is stolen! Who in Santa Cruz would killed a dining room manager - was it to get the books or for some other reason? Sally can't help herself; she must investigate! This is classic cozy territory with a good protagonist, a restaurant, and a romantic interest so even those reading this as a standalone should be able to hop in and appreciate it. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A nice addition to the series.

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When Sally Solari hears about the farm-to-fork fundraiser that the new restaurant in Santa Cruz is hosting, she immediately volunteers to help with the cooking for the event. As a result, she on hand when someone steals one of the auction items – a signed set of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking – killing a member of the restaurant’s staff as well. Can Sally figure out what happened?

The book takes a bit of time setting up the suspects, but it isn’t too long before the body is found and things really pick up. There were several puzzling twists on the way to the satisfying climax. I was anxious to see how Sally’s relationship with her new boyfriend was going to go. I appreciated that their storyline didn’t drag their conflict out too much. The rest of the cast was great; we mostly focus on the suspects, and they kept me guessing. The book touches on the issue of the homeless, and I felt it did a good job of presenting the concerns fairly, which I appreciated. We also dabble a little with the sixth sense in this book, but it didn’t go so far that it bothered me or took this book out of the real world. There are five gourmet recipes at the end to enjoy later. This series was always intended to be a six book series, and if the author does stick with that, fans will be happy with where Sally winds up here.

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Another murder and Sally was on the case again, this time with Eric who was getting kinda disgruntled with his own job and didn’t seem as anxious to get her away from the case this time. I had someone in mind once the pieces started falling together and I was right about whodunit. It was great to visit a little with Nichole and Mei this time too and while they weren’t in the book for much of the time, the time they did spend was very useful!

The showdown was really awesome! Sally came prepared with backup, so said backup effectively took care of the perp while the police got there. The side story of Sally missing her Aunt Letta was kinda sad and sweet because of what she and Eric were planning as far as moving in together. They’d kept coming to a standstill since Sally absolutely wouldn’t give up Letta’s house, and I can’t say I blame her for that. Leave it to Dad to have an awesome solution that made everyone happy.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Severn House via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Gauguin's Sally Solari is surprised to find homeless people near her family's Italian seafood restaurant. She seizes upon the chance to volunteer at Pages and Plums' fundraising dinner to have an organization aiding the homeless. The top auction item is a signed boxset of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Sally's culinary hero Julia Child. But before the auction starts, the dining room manager turns up dead & the books are missing.

There are plenty of possible suspects at the fundraising dinner. Sally is a determined, feisty amateur sleuth who balances work responsibilities with finding the killer.

I received a digital ARC from Netgalley and Severn House. All opinions are my own.

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A Sense for Murder by Leslie Karst is Book 6 n the Sally Solari Mystery series.

I really enjoy Sally as the main character. She is a great amateur sleuth.

I love the setting and Sally's strength from being a lawyer to following her dreams to be a chef/restauranter.

The mystery was great.

I loved it!

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Sally runs a restaurant, but keeps finding bodies and problems. The problems stem from the number of homeless people in the area she lives in and whether they are connected to the murder of the dining room manager of a restaurant who was hosting a charity meal to raise funds to address the problem. My main criticism is how does Sally manage to run a restaurant and spend all her time looking for clues!

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Chef Sally Solari inherited the French-Polynesian restaurant, Gauguin, after the death of her aunt. Her father was none too pleased that she left the family’s Italian seafood restaurant located on the historic Fisherman’s Wharf. He’s got another gripe now—customers don’t like stepping over homeless people who are sleeping in the doorways and hurting business.

When a fundraiser is set up to help the unhoused and seniors, Sally is happy to help. The event is a farm-to-table dinner at the hot new restaurant and culinary bookstore, Pages and Plums. A highlight of the evening is the auction. One hot item up for bid is a signed boxset of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. It’s kept inside a locked case so bidders can see but not touch.

There’s a rather ugly argument but it’s settled quickly—or at least, it appeared to be. Sally goes into the restaurant for more supplies and finds the manager dead on the floor and the locked case empty. Julia has left the building.

The question is, was Julia worth killing for. The item was likely to bring in a couple thousand dollars but that hardly seems to be sufficient motive. When Sally finds the autographed pages loose in the alley, it really becomes a puzzle.

In the meantime, Sally’s boyfriend, Eric, is on enforced rest after a run-in with a surfboard. He is not the type to sit quietly and watch daytime talk shows. He’s unhappy in his job but loathe to make a change—or accept suggestions.

Eric and Sally were a couple, then not, and are now together again. This time it looks like it could be for good. Sunday dinners with Nonna and the rest of the family, the camaraderie in the kitchens, and Sally’s dog liven up the pages.

At the back of the book are recipes for Salad Nicoise, seared bok choy with Asian-inspired glaze, risotto with chanterelles and peas, grilled steak and veggies with creamy garlic-lime sauce, and grilled peaches with balsamic plum black pepper reduction.

This is book six in the series. Between the characters, the current events storyline, and the recipes, you’ll be hungering for more.

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