I ended up breezing through Arsenic and Adobo in a few days. This mystery story began as something I would page through before bed, to something I could not stop reading. It’s a fantastic and entertaining mystery story about community and drama. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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…
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: drug use, fatphobia, racism, domestic violence mentions
Immediately beginning with action, Arsenic and Adobo swept me away. I honestly had no clue who it would be. And so I kind of just decided to just be captivated by the ways Lila investigates the case. It gave me serious Dial A for Aunties vibes. While it’s easy to get carried away with the mystery, and believe me, I did, I appreciated the ways Manansala introduces threads of other storylines. While Lila is unraveling who might be framing her family’s restaurant, she has to grapple with her own feelings on Shady Palms.
We begin to question everything. Can Lila not only save the day, but also her future? Her family and friendships – the people she loves. I am so excited to get to know more about this world and characters in the coming books. Arsenic and Adobo is perfect for all those loving these culinary stories. It’s also perfect for mystery fans, people who love stories about family, and about figuring out our future. Find Arsenic and Adobo on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.