Book reviews Thriller

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

About the Book-Arsenic and Adobo

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer….

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

Goodreads Page

“But her refusal to try anything new and insistence on me being a “real” Filipino grated on me. As a second-generation member of a colonized country, born and raised in the Midwestern United States, what did that even mean?”

Read on for our review of Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Our Review of Arsenic and Adobo

For me, this book was a bit disappointing as I guess I was expecting a bit more from the book. I kept having this feeling that this book was trying to reciprocate the magic of “Dial A for Aunties” and was failing at it. To be fair the book had all the elements that worked for the Jesse Sutanto classic. I know it’s unfair to compare this book with Dial A but I simply couldn’t because of the nature and treatment of the book. Although to be fair the plots are different for both. Yet the humour, family dynamics and atmosphere it created reminded me of Dial A.

Arsenic and Adobo according to me, simply didn’t take itself seriously and that was my major beef with the book. It had a very good storyline to work with but somehow the book took adding the humour part so seriously that they forgot to focus on the core plot and bringing the plot events to their full bloom. So everything seemed to be too lightly treated and sort of treated with a casual breeze away.

So I kept waiting for the plot to become a bit more deep but all it did was revolve around the food (which is massive and gets more screen time than anything else) and the remaining circled around the family banters and bickering and humour.


In conclusion, I would say that yes Arsenic and Adobo is a cosy mystery but maybe that is the trouble that it went too cosy to actually make an impact. To me, the book ended up being just wit and humour and banters and the plot just kept being treated so casually and lightly that it was hard to take it seriously. The book had such a nice murder mystery and it ignored it by taking everything in humour and on top of it wrapping up quickly.

Squirrel Rating

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