Death Al Fresco by Leslie Karst


Death Al Fresco by Leslie Karst
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (320 Pgs)
Rated 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

It’s up to Sally Solari to serve up a killer before their family restaurant’s reputation goes up in smoke.

It’s early autumn in Santa Cruz and restaurateur Sally Solari decides an open-air painting class is the perfect way for her to learn more about Paul Gauguin, the inspiration for the restaurant she has recently inherited. But the beauty of the Monterey Bay coastline is shattered when Sally’s dog Buster sniffs out a corpse tangled up in kelp.

The body is identified as Gino, a local fisherman and a regular at Solaris’ until he disappeared after dining there a few nights before. Witnesses claim he left reeling drunk, but his waitress swears the old man only had two beers with is meal. And then the fingers begin to point at Sally’s dad for negligently allowing an inebriated customer to walk home alone at night.

From a long menu of suspects, including a cast of colorful characters who frequent the historic Santa Cruz fisherman’s wharf, Sally must serve up the tall order of clearing her father’s name in Death al Fresco, Leslie Karst’s third delectable Sally Solari mystery.

Another killer of a culinary cozy murder, Death Al Fresco is aptly named. Delectable dishes do take center stage, from the trendy sorts like Sesame ginger cucumber salad and Tahitian sea bass, to heartwarming faves, like absolutely anything smothered in ‘Nonni’s Sunday Gravy.

Sally is a chef, a restaurant owner, and …an accidental discoverer of an untimely death. She not only recognizes the victim, but worries about the victim’s connection to her Dad’s restaurant. She’s got enough on her plate, what with her own head chef to deal with, and Eric, who she assures herself is not a love interest, and trying to make every situation, dish and advertisement she runs into ‘politically correct.’

Still, Sally is a sleuth at heart and tackles the mystery without hesitation. Its exactly what we readers expect – with a fun twist, here and there. The political-correctness thing can get a bit tedious, but given the gorgeous setting and strong, unique characters, this really is a solid mystery. The mild (and less predictable) romantic elements add a little something too.

Fans of the genre will enjoy this, and it comes with a bonus: a small batch of recipes from the storyline wrap up the book.

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