Tannie Maria ( tannie meaning auntie, a respectful Afrikaans address) is a middle-aged widow who likes to cook and eat. She is a recipe columnist until the local paper decides its readers are hungrier for advice on matters of the heart.
When a woman contacts Tannie Maria desperate to escape an abusive husband, she must face her own past. And, suddenly, this down-to-earth woman is involved in something much more sinister than perfecting her chocolate cake recipe . . ."
1 Reader Reviews
a stunning debut
“Recipe for Murder
1 stocky man who abuses his wife
1 small tender wife
1 medium-sized tough woman in love with the wife
1 double-barrelled shotgun
1 small Karoo town marinated in secrets
3 bottles of Klipdrift brandy
3 little ducks
1 bottle of pomegranate juice
1 handful of chilli peppers
1 mild gardener
1 fire poker
1 red-hot New Yorker
7 Seventh-day Adventists (prepared for The End of the World)
1 hard-boiled investigative journalist
1 soft amateur detective
2 cool policemen
1 handful of red herrings and suspects mixed together
Pinch of greed
Throw all the ingredients into a big pot and simmer slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon for a few years. Add the ducks, chillies and brandy towards the end and turn up the heat”
Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery is the first novel by South African author, Sally Andrew. Tannie Maria’s Recipe for Murder perfectly sums up the plot of this captivating novel. The Recipe Columnist for the Klein Karoo Gazette, Tannie Maria has to think laterally when the powers that be decree that the Gazette must have an Advice Column. The result is Tannie Maria’s Love Advice and Recipe Column. It is sometimes a challenge, but Tannie Maria manages to give the right advice and just the right recipe to most or her correspondents.
She is disturbed, though, by an anonymous letter from a woman whose husband beats her. And it seems her best advice is not good enough, when a woman fitting her description is murdered. Tannie and her colleagues at the Gazette feel obliged to help the Police to get their man (the husband, obviously!). But it turns out that everything is not quite so straight-forward. Another murder, a suspected poisoning, a threatening letter, a mutilated pair of veldskoene and a kidnapping (or two) will come to pass before the truth is revealed.
Amongst a cast of interesting, appealing and often crazy characters, Tannie Maria is a standout favourite. She is a truly delightful character: a cross between Mma Ramotswe and Corinna Chapman, she places great importance on good food. She shares her thoughts with her food, and food, or the preparation of it, feature in most of her descriptions, as “The fan on the ceiling was going round and round. It was like an oven with a thermafan. Jessie, Hattie and I were all being evenly baked as we sat at our desks” and “He had one of those silly moustaches, like a little boy who’s drunk chocolate milk” demonstrate.
This is a murder mystery with plenty of humour, some of it slapstick, some understated, but readers will find themselves smiling, chuckling and laughing out loud. Andrew regularly gives her heroine words of wisdom: “We can be sure that our lives will end with death. There’s not much we can do about that. But you can add love and good food to your life. That is your choice”. She also touches on some topical issues like domestic violence, organic farming and fracking. And includes over 20 pages of mouth-watering recipes. A glossary would be helpful for those who don’t understand Afrikaans or Dutch, but most words are repeated in English. This is a stunning debut, and readers will be hoping this really is the start of a series. Highly recommended!