Safari Stew: A Blenders Mystery by Veronica Helen Hart

Safari Stew: A Blenders Mystery by Veronica Helen Hart
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (228 Pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Doll Reynolds receives word that her missing husband, Barclay, has been discovered teaching in a South African university. Rather than call the school, she arranges a trip to confirm the information for herself. Six of her Blender friends join her for support. Old Howard arranges a luxurious safari as a side trip to either celebrate finding Barclay or to console Doll if she doesn’t. Either way, the trip leads to murder.

Many years ago, Doll Reynolds’ husband fell off a boat in the Galapagos and disappeared. But now, Doll learns that her missing husband has been found, teaching at a South African university. She decides that she has to go to South Africa to meet this man in person, and six of her friends rally to support her. Soon all of them are on their way to South Africa to learn the truth.

Safari Stew is told from multiple perspectives, each chapter focusing on a specific character, and the name of the character appears in italics at the start of each chapter. The group meets a film crew for a cooking show, also headed to South Africa, and this results in an even larger cast of characters. Over half of the chapters are told from Doll’s point of view. The others are from the point of view of three other women, one a friend of Doll’s and two from the film crew.

The characters are fairly flat and stereotypical. The murderer was easy to spot and that character was painted with no positive aspects. There are two minor characters who were more atypical and hence more interesting, namely Howard, the oldest of Doll’s friends, and Achi, the South African policemen. They added welcome spice to the story.

The plot had several different storylines, in addition to the murder itself. The pacing seemed a bit slow in places and some aspects were just dropped. But overall, it was interesting to see how the murderer was discovered and how the murderer ended up being tricked and deceived.

I learned a number of things about South Africa, some geographic and some cultural, and the time spent at the Haartsveld Game Preserve was very interesting. Readers who enjoy cozy mysteries set in foreign places are sure to enjoy following Doll and her fellow travelers on this adventure.

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