Having travelled in Africa, I’m always keen to find books
set on the continent. It’s a bonus if suspense is involved and a double bonus
if the story hinges on the setting. This book gets high marks in both
departments. It was a better immersive experience than if I’d rented an Airbnb
and watched the action unfold from the front porch.
Rural South Africa is home to advice columnist and
cooking authority Tannie Maria (Tannie meaning Auntie, the respectful
Afrikaans address for a woman older than you) in the first book in this unique
and extraordinary series. A middle-aged widow, she offers advice and recipes to
the lovelorn and others who write the local newspaper.
One letter-writer is a woman desperate to escape her abusive
husband: an echo of Tannie Maria’s own fraught past. 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.
From clothing to food to the animals who lurk in the night,
this book brings you inside Tannie Maria’s world and makes you welcome. The descriptions
were sensational. Basically, I absolutely loved it.