Arsenic and Adobo [Book Review]

May 6, 2021

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia Manansala (cover) Image: a young women pours an ingredient into a put of food that is cooking on the stove

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Culinary Mystery, Filipino

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks to #Netgalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complimentary eARC of #ArsenicAndAdobo at my request. All opinions are my own.

Lila moves home to recover from a breakup and to help save the family restaurant. In addition, to serving up some delicious food and enduring the interference of three interfering and opinionated aunties, Lila’s ex boyfriend and food critic drops dead while eating one of Lila’s dessert creations at the family restaurant. Lila becomes a prime suspect and their landlord threatens to kick the family out. Out of desperation and with great determination, Lila sets out on her own investigation with the help of her best friend. For fans of romcom, there’s also a romantic triangle brewing. This is the first book in a cozy mystery series.

My Thoughts:

What is your favorite Filipino dish?

So Much Food: Delicious food is an important element in this cozy mystery. Not only is food involved in the murder, but a feast of food is common in Filipino culture. The Filipino dishes described here will entice you to order out for dinner (or inside dining if your area isn’t locked down)! Of course, recipes are included for making your own feast.

Characters: Arsenic and Adobo includes a variety of colorful characters (and suspects!). The grandmother and aunties (the Calendar crew: April, May, and June) form Lila’s support system along with her best friend and two (TWO!) dreamy love interests (a lawyer and a dentist). Suspects are plentiful and I was kept busy trying to guess who did it. Lila is a brave, clever, and stubborn amateur sleuth, and we have no doubt she will save herself.

Engaging: Arsenic and Adobo moves along at a nice pace with witty dialogue, page-turning drama, and a few twists (I did not guess whodunit). The story is written in a casual style which includes a great deal of slang. It works for this story because our main character is a twenty-something. I could have easily read this in one sitting.

Recommended: I recommend Arsenic and Adobo for fans of Asian literature and cozy mysteries, for readers looking for more diverse reads and “own voices” authors, for those who love Filipino food, and for book clubs (who will definitely serve one of the recipes!).

***I’d be interested in reading reviews from Filipino reviewers. If you are an “own voices” reviewer, please leave your link in the comments.

My Rating:  3.5 Stars


Arsenic and Adobo by Mia ???? (cover) Image: colorful graphic of a girl holding a pot of ethnic ifood

Arsenic and Adobo Information Here

Meet the Author, Mia Manansala

Author Mia ManansalaMia P. Manansala (she/her) is a writer and book coach from Chicago who loves books, baking, and bad-ass women. She uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture.

A lover of all things geeky, Mia spends her days procrastibaking, playing JRPGs and dating sims, reading cozy mysteries, and cuddling her dogs Gumiho, Max Power, and Bayley Banks (bonus points if you get all the references).

Her debut novel, ARSENIC AND ADOBO, comes out May 4, 2021 with Berkley/Penguin Random House and is the first in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @MPMtheWriter


Is Arsenic and Adobo on your TBR or have you read it?

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  1. Wonderful review Carol. You know how much I enjoy cozy mysteries, so will be adding this to my TBR. It will widen the scope of my cozy mystery reading.

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