MLA Platinum Award Press Release

BookBrowse Reviews Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Recipes for Love and Murder

A Tannie Maria Mystery

by Sally Andrew

Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew X
Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Nov 2015, 432 pages
    Sep 2016, 432 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Rory L. Aronsky
Buy This Book

About this Book



Food and murder intertwine in this first mystery in a series by Sally Andrews.

It was one of those fervent moments that you sometimes experience in books.

Tannie Maria (Tannie means Auntie in South Africa and is used as a term of endearment and connection even by those not related) brings two big slices of her buttermilk chocolate cake to the police station — one for Detective Lieutenant Henk Kannemeyer, who's handling the murder case Tannie Maria is interested in (her friend was the victim), and the other for Anna, the murder suspect, who insists that the woman's abusive husband did it.

When I read this part of Recipes for Love and Murder, I easily imagined Kannemeyer looking at the cake with slow-simmering lust, and Anna wolfing down her piece in a back room in Tannie Maria's company. I was also vividly reminded of the slice of pumpkin pie that I had bought at the supermarket that afternoon. I wanted that slice at that very moment and I was going to have it.

Tannie Maria incorporates recipes into her love advice column at the Klein Karoo Gazette in the South African town of Ladismith, where she works with her editor friend Hattie, and dogged reporter Jessie. First-time mystery novelist Sally Andrew's descriptions of food are surprisingly rich, despite their simplicity - Andrew knows what she's doing. She gives readers just enough food description to interest them outwardly about South African food culture and, in the process, inwardly at their own preferences — pumpkin pie included.

Tannie Maria is the sole reason this series can work. Unlike many main characters in mystery novels, whose character traits are clear within the early pages of the story, hers unfold slowly. She's worth the wait though, especially with the inner strength she musters even after her horribly abusive marriage. This connection is what interests Tannie Maria about her first case, as she received letters from the victim addressed to her advice column, pleading for a way out of an abusive relationship. Andrew deftly creates details such as people still in shock, speaking of the deceased in the present tense, as well as the progress of Tannie Maria's possible happiness, which she hasn't felt ever since her abusive husband died.

As for the mystery, well...Andrew knows how to introduce one, but she doesn't know how to gradually fan it out like a deck of cards. And while she has created characters who are worth following, the mystery itself is only worth getting through to see how they live their lives. For instance, there's a tense, violent confrontation at a bed-and-breakfast, which could have made the mystery more interesting, more urgent. But that particular scene ends as expected, and we're stuck with the same red herrings a few times, which makes Recipes for Love and Murder much longer than it needs to be. The strength of this novel is its character development. Readers want to follow Tannie, Hattie and Jessie, and want, especially, to see if Tannie Maria finds happiness.

Now that Andrew has gotten this mystery out of the way, and now that her characters are fully established, more enthralling mysteries, as well as a little more fun. will hopefully be in Tannie Maria's future.

Reviewed by Rory L. Aronsky

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in January 2016, and has been updated for the October 2016 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for a year or $39 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Childhood Food Novels

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Lightness of Hands
    The Lightness of Hands
    by Jeff Garvin
    The stillness that comes right after reading a book that has wrapped itself firmly around your heart...
  • Book Jacket: The Vanishing Half
    The Vanishing Half
    by Brit Bennett
    Brit Bennett's second novel, The Vanishing Half (after The Mothers, her 2016 bestselling debut), ...
  • Book Jacket
    Tropic of Violence
    by Nathacha Appanah
    Marie is a nurse working in Mayotte, a cluster of French territory islands in the Indian Ocean. When...
  • Book Jacket: Death in Mud Lick
    Death in Mud Lick
    by Eric Eyre
    When Eric Eyre, investigative and statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette-Daily, began ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Prisoner's Wife
    by Maggie Brookes

    Inspired by the true story of a courageous young woman who enters a Nazi POW camp to be with the man she loves.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Last Flight
by Julie Clark

The story of two women and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The House on Fripp Island

The House on Fripp Island
by Rebecca Kauffman

A taut, page-turning novel of secrets and strife.



Solve this clue:

M's T W!

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.