Crooked Lane Books (2018)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/18)
“Death al Fresco” by Leslie Karst is a delicious cozy mystery full of lively characters and interesting plot twists that will keep readers guessing!
Former attorney, now restauranteur, Sally Solari keeps herself very busy trying to juggle a variety of responsibilities. She recently inherited a busy restaurant called Gauguin from her aunt, her father frequently depends upon her to step in and help him with Solaris, his very popular restaurant on the pier in Santa Cruz, and finally, she spends a lot of time socializing with her ex-boyfriend. While attending a painting class on the beach with him, Sally’s dog uncovers the body of a local fisherman who is frequently seen at Solaris. As a matter of fact, it was there he was last seen before he died. Sally takes on the case after rumors begin circulating that the restaurant allowed him to get drunk and leave in his intoxicated state and drown. Knowing that this is false, Sally is determined to solve this mystery and finds her own life in danger. This makes her even more focused on solving this crime.
I really enjoyed reading “Death al Fresco.” It is the third book in the Sally Solaris mystery series, and not having read the first two, I felt like it stood well on its own. However, I do think it would be more fun to read them in order. Sally is a likeable and determined protagonist and I enjoyed her character. She also has several dilemmas on her plate which add to the story. She is not one dimensional and the author does an excellent job of bringing her character to life. Her relationship with her ex-boyfriend adds to the tension. I think that most readers will hope that they give their relationship another shot in the next book!
Readers should be warned not to read this book on an empty stomach because all of the food talk will make them hungry. I appreciate that the author includes some of the recipes in the back of the book. This adds a nice touch, which also makes the story seem more realistic.
I look forward to reading other books in this series. I highly recommend “Death al Fresco” by Leslie Karst to fans of food and murder mysteries. It would also be a fun selection for a reader’s group.