I love that right off the bat, Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking weaves in elements from the first book. It's not a completely new story because there's still fallout to contend with from Miriam's first foray into sleuthing. It gives the series a nice interconnected feel instead of an episodic one. The book also doesn't settle on a single dastardly deed. Rather, Miriam has the misfortune of stumbling into a web of events with several interested parties who could be murderers. Using several friendly sources and her own cleverness, Miriam feels the pressure to figure out who might be a danger in her neighborhood and keep her friends and family safe.
Miriam's a protagonist I want to be friends with even though I have no relevant skills for the impressive squad she puts together in this book. I love the feeling of community-- Miriam has strong friendships that give her people to call on in need, and she does the same for them. I also love all the Spanish and food anthropology tidbits in the book. The food descriptions made me hungry, and the provided sociocultural context made me thoughtful.
For those who were like me rooting against Miriam's mother-in-law in book one, rest assured that a satisfying standoff is coming your way in this sequel. I was less impressed with the ways her husband continues to be a pain in the butt, but he did have some solid co-parenting moments.
This cozy mystery has a lot going on-- a vibrant cast of characters, complicated crime(s), and important personal moments in Miriam's life. For those who want a socially aware, inclusive entry in the genre, this is a great read.
I love this series. The ties of two cultures and languages. It is humorous and fun. In this latest book Halloween is around the corner and Miriam’s xenophobic mother in law has put her in charge of the Women’s Club Annual Gala. Nothing but trouble plagues her. The executive chef of the country club is murdered. Two people are poisoned and a drone is taking pictures in the neighborhood. To add to it she might be pregnant again. Can she figure out who the culprit is before she is put in the deep freeze?
One thing I like about this series is that the protagonist, Miriam, is married with a child and now a kitten named Camo, featured on the cover. So many cozy mysteries also want to throw a romance with the sexy detective in there! Not this series, to my relief.
This book takes place around Halloween. Miriam's TV cooking show is doing well, her family too, and the whole family is involved in their community. Miriam has a full and happy life, but tragedy and violence intrudes as it always does in a mystery series. The victim of the crime wasn't someone I had any sympathy for but since Miriam's home was the scene of the crime, Miriam can't help but get involved, especially since the detective from the previous book remembers her and seems a little too focused on her and her family's role in the crime.
The cast of characters expands quite a bit in this book and I had to work to keep on top of it. In addition to Jorge the make-up artist/dancer/Zumba teacher and Alma her best friend and realtor and Miriam's large passel of in-laws, there are several food truck owners who get drawn into the story, more employees at the Country Club where Miriam has been dragooned into planning a gala, TV crews, old nemeses from the previous book, and more.
Miriam's husband Robert is slightly more likable in this book but he still seems like a himbo who got lucky with marrying Miriam. Manny persists in being an adorable child and not tipping into the annoying Adorable Urchin territory, no mean feat with me. There are several extremely racist people in this book, including Miriam's MIL, who are almost too horrible to be real but I bet that sadly, all the behavior in the book has been something that actual people who should know better have done.
The food persists in making me salivate! Miriam brings together food trucks from several different Caribbean islands so I was introduced to even more amazing eats. I had heard of cassava but didn't know about how to prepare it and I hadn't heard of ackee fruit before. Pikliz ( a spicy pickle relish), rich stews and soups, and delectable desserts featuring banana, guava or mangos all get their time on the page.
This cozy food mystery series has maintained its quality and I'm looking forward to reading the next one.
Fans of the Florida Spanish culture will want to read Raquel V. Reyes’ Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series. The second installment in this series is Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking, where Miriam Quiñones-Smith, the protagonist, finds a body in her front yard. Unfortunately, the bodies begin to stack up as she fulfils her obligation of being in charge of the Woman’s Club annual gala (an assignment forced on her by her horrible mother-in-law).
While the story is quite fun, half of the prose is in Spanish, which, of course, reflects the unique Caribbean culture in Florida and makes readers feel they are part of it. Unfortunately, it also makes it very difficult for those readers who don’t know Spanish, and are not lovers of the culture. The main characters are well developed, and Reyes does a good job of helping readers understand them and love or hate them as needed, I.e., the mother-in-law is absolutely terrible, and many readers will be able to relate; Miram is very talented, has a good marriage, and is a very good mother, which makes readers love her and also makes her seem real.
While there isn’t a lot of building suspense, there is enough to keep readers on the edge and there are also enough suspects to keep them guessing. One of the best parts of this culinary mystery is the recipes that are included at the end. There are so many food references (many mouthwatering), that readers will wish there were more recipes to try.
All told, those Spanish – Cuban – Caribbean enthusiasts, will find that this is a good series to read. For those who aren’t quite so enamored with this type of culture and don’t know any Spanish, not so much.
Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.
I love Halloween cozy mysteries!
Miriam is a food anthropologist, which is such a cool profession since food and culture are so closely linked.
While I enjoyed this book, I felt like it was two separate plot lines forced together into one book. I got confused at times because of the sheer number of details and characters.
Miriam and Robert are expanding their family, which is exciting. There is a moment in the climax of the story, however, that made me uncomfortable due to Miriam’s questionable decision making process. If these amateur detectives want to put themselves in harm’s way, then that’s on them, but when their decisions endanger their unborn children I have a problem.
Author is way, way, too inyo political/social justice/ etc. . This doesn't belong in the cozy genre. Reading is an escape.. I will not pick up another book by this author.
This is a fun an free spirited murder mystery. Had great story line and relatable characters. Like that there’s a culinary spin to a cute murder mystery. Love the way the author describes the Spanish food and culture.
I really loved this book in a new to my series and author. I can't wait to read the next one. The characters and location really add to the plot. This book keeps you guessing until the end
This was so good. We just jump right back into Miriam Quinones-Smith's life as she settles into her new fame broadcasting Abuela Approved recipes on her two cooking shows. Coral Shores is a small community, ready to celebrate all things fall. When her mother-in-law puts her in charge of the Women's Club annual gala, Miriam drafts her friends to help make it an exciting event. When a local woman is injured in Miriam's yard and the chef at the club is killed during a planning meeting, Miriam's best friend Alma helps instigate some investigating. There's lots to offer--mysterious drones, neighbors, and a sleuth that has to think about her family life while trying to help others.
Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.
This is the second book in the Caribbean Kitchen Mysteries series. I'm impartial to any cozy mysteries. I find them enjoyable and fun. Kind of changes the pace of reading a lot of scary murder mysteries into something being a little more lighthearted with murder. It illustrates a story of a female Cuban-American living in Miami. Cooking and dealing with family in the mist of death. Writer did a great job of descriptions of the food and culture. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Raquel V. Reyes's Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking is an amazing and unique second book in the Caribbean Kitchen mystery series. It is filled with flavorful Cuban-American cuisine, colorful Caribbean music, and, of course, some suspicious characters with sinister motives.
The main protagonist, Miriam Quiñones-Smith, is forced to deal with her overbearing mother-in-law and her new task of making the Women's Club Annual Gala an event that is full of fun and flavor. This proves to be a difficult task when two people wind up dead. Miriam then must quickly piece together the clues and unravel the mystery before the killer gets to her.
This is an amazing book for mystery and foodie fans alike. It is full of the delightful Cuban flavors and energy, as well as interesting characters that leave readers guessing until the very end. There are twists and turns at every corner, and with some humor mixed in as well, it makes for a perfect lighthearted and cozy read. Be sure to add this one to your TBR list!
This is the second in a new series set in Miami, somewhere I have no experience of, but feel as though I do through this book. The vibrancy of the Cuban community is really brought to life with the descriptions of food, celebrations and language. There’s just enough Spanish to make it feel real but not overwhelming, and the recipes sound delicious!
Miriam has her hands full in this one, with a number of trails to follow and suspects to rule out. How is it all connected? *IS* it all connected? The mystery is well drawn out and Miriam is in the thick of it again, wrapping it all up very tidily at the end.
This is a terrific series, and is recommended! Can’t wait for No 3!
It's the second in a series. I'd heard a little about the first book, and it might have helped to read it before starting this one. Nevertheless, the author provided enough backstory.
The story is told in first person by the protagonist, Miriam Quinones-Smith, a Cuban-American who married into an upper-class white family. Miriam trained as a food anthropologist, but now has her own ethnic cooking show in Miami. The author did a great job describing the various Caribbean foods and their history, which gave credibility to Miriam's character and expertise.
The mystery plot is complex, with multiple victims and suspects, and more than one perp.
In Coral Shores, Miami, Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quiñones-Smith wakes up to find a corpse in her front yard. Then, her mother-in-law puts her in charge of the Women’s Club annual gala. Miriam and her girlfriends spice up the gala with Caribbean food trucks and a calypso band. While visiting the country club, they hear an argument between the head chef and the club’s manager. Not long after, the chef falls to his death at the bottom of the grand staircase. Can Miriam figure out the truth before she gets stewed?
This was an interesting cozy mystery with a main character that was a refreshing change from the norm. She spoke both Spanish and English, and I liked seeing the different foods and aspects of Latin culture showcased. The plot was intricate, and I felt that there were too many suspects. I became confused at the end during the big reveal. Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for this advanced reader’s copy. This review is my unbiased opinion.
**3.5 stars rounded up for Goodreads**
I greatly enjoyed the first book in the series and was happy to get this from NetGalley. This book as well was a vibrant multicultural cozy mystery. I love that Miriam is a highly educated Mom who has a really cool job and a unique degree as a food anthropologist. I love the well drawn cast of characters. My only complaints about this book in the series is the denouement was a bit…confusing and it could have been a bit tighter, maybe 20-25 pages shorter.
If you’re a fan of non-whitebread culinary cozies then I recommend this series.
**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-arc I received in exchange for my honest review**
Start with an charming heroine bridging the gap between her Hispanic family and her husband's incredibly annoying stick-up-her you know what mother. Add uniquely Miami settings. Stir in few suspicious deaths and you have a delicious mystery. Funny without being madcap and peopled with unique characters, this book is a winner.
Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers, and Raquel V. Reyes for allowing me to read and review this book.
I read this book and the other book in this series. It is well written and the main character is very loveable. This series is really good, and I think many people will love and enjoy this series as well.
It is a cozy mystery series about a Spanish-American woman who has a love for cooking, has a loving family, a not-so-great mother-in-law, and a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time when it comes to the murders in the town she lives in. Anyone who loves these things will love this series.
I love this series! I really can't get enough of Miriam and her friends and family. I love the Spanish mixed in with the English. Such a great story!
Calypso, Corpses and Cooking is the second book in the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series by Raquel V. Reyes. The protagonist of this series is Miram Quinones-Smith, a Cuban American chef who does segments on a local television station as well as having her own You Tube show. In this book, the mystery starts out when the mother of the culprit in the first is reported missing after a Halloween carnival where she confronted Robert about his role in her daughter's conviction. When she is later discovered in Robert and Miriam's yard disoriented and suffering from a blow to the head, Robert becomes a person of interest in the case. Robert's mother has also asked Miriam to put on the Women's Club annual gala at the country club. Shortly after an argument with the country club's chef about the gala, he is discovered dead after having gone over a balcony railing. Miriam and friends become entangled in the investigation of both events while still planning the gala.
With this series, the author has created an excellent vehicle to explore the multicultural areas around Miami, Florida and has done a wonderful job of developing a cast of multidimensional characters who deliver an interesting and creative storyline while solving the underlying mysteries. I particularly appreciate the way the author has her main characters raising their son with an appreciation of both cultures that make up his heritage. Through innovative circumstances, the author keeps the reader engaged in the plot and gives enough twists to not reveal the solution too early in the story but enough clues to make the revelations believable. I look forward to more books in this series to see where the future leads Robert, Miriam and their expanding family.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Crooked Lanes Books and am leaving this review voluntarily.
I love cozy mysteries but this one had a little too much family angst for me. I loved the sprinkling in of the Spanish and that the author addressed a method used for teaching a child two languages. I didn't realize until had finished the book that this is the second in a series. Overall this was good but not great. I don't know I'll try others from the series.