Cozy Mystery Reads: Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series by Raquel V Reyes

Raquel V. Reyes is an accomplished writer who has had many short stories published in various anthologies. Latina characters are the main subjects of her stories. Her own Cuban-American heritage features strongly in her writing, as do the locations of Miami and the Caribbean. Reyes is also the co-chair for SleuthFest, a writing craft conference. Her debut novel is Mango, Mambo, and Murder, the first book in the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series.

Mango, Mambo, and Murder is a delight, not just because of the recipes that are featured at the end of the book! In this kickoff to a new series, food anthropologist Miriam Quinones-Smith and her family have moved from New York to Coral Shores, Miami, Florida. It isn’t exactly the move that she wanted. She was promised actual Miami, not a rich elite subdivision with her opinionated (and honestly racist) mother-in-law living just a couple houses down. Her husband was offered a very good, well-paying job and with her in-laws helping to buy them a house, moving out of their cramped New York apartment seemed like a good idea at the time. Only now, Miriam is forced to put her academic career on hold to stay at home with her young son while her mother-in-law pops in whenever she feels and her husband stays out all day and night rekindling a friendship (and maybe a romance?) with his ex.

The bright spot? Miriam’s best friend, Alma, a local realtor who knows all the best spots to go and has all the connections Miriam could need. Soon enough Alma has hooked Miriam up with a job as a Caribbean cooking expert on a Spanish-language mornng show. Despite her reservations, the job ends up being something she enjoys.

When Miriam and Alma attend a Women’s Club luncheon as a way to network, things go astray. A socialite sitting at their table falls face-first into her lunch. She’s dead. Rumors start flying, especially when a second woman dies soon after. Suspicions swirl around town that maybe the deaths are connected. Cuban herbalist, Dr. Fuentes, is thrust into the spotlight when the morning show’s host collapses while interviewing him live on air. His methods are controversial after all.

When detectives learn that the first woman died as a result of a drug overdose though, Alma finds herself a suspect when an anonymous tip points to her. Detective Pullman turns to Miriam to help him solve the crime since she has an in with the Coral Shores community. She starts poking around to find the killer and to clear Alma’s name. The closer she get to the truth, the more Miriam learns that Coral Shores is full of secrets. People are not what they seem.

This book is also available in the following format:

Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series

  1. Mango, Mambo, and Murder (2021)
  2. Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking (set to be published in November 2022)

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