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Mango, Mambo, and Murder

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Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quinones-Smith becomes a seasoned sleuth in Raquel Reyes's Caribbean Kitchen Mystery debut, a savory treat for fans of Joanne Fluke and Jenn McKinlay. Food anthropologist Miriam Quinones-Smith's move from New York to Coral Shores, Miami, is traumatic enough without having to deal with her son's toddler tantrums and her husband's m Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quinones-Smith becomes a seasoned sleuth in Raquel Reyes's Caribbean Kitchen Mystery debut, a savory treat for fans of Joanne Fluke and Jenn McKinlay. Food anthropologist Miriam Quinones-Smith's move from New York to Coral Shores, Miami, is traumatic enough without having to deal with her son's toddler tantrums and her husband's midlife crisis. Her best friend, Alma, adds some spice back into Miriam's life when she offers her a job as an on-air cooking expert on a Spanish-language morning TV show. But when the newly minted star attends a Women's Club luncheon, a socialite sitting at her table suddenly falls face-first into the chicken salad, never to nibble again. When a second woman dies soon after, suspicions coalesce around a controversial Cuban herbalist, Dr. Fuentes--especially after the morning show's host collapses while interviewing him. But then, Detective Pullman learns that the socialite's death resulted from a drug overdose--and an anonymous tip fingers Alma as the pusher. Pullman persuades Miriam to ply her culinary know-how and her understanding of Coral Shores's Caribbean culture to help find the killer and clear Alma's name. While her hubby dallies with his ex-girlfriend, Juliet, Miriam quizzes her neighbors for answers and researches all manner of herbs. As the ingredients to the deadly scheme begin blending together, Miriam is on the verge of learning how and why the women died. But her snooping may turn out to be a recipe for her own murder.


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Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quinones-Smith becomes a seasoned sleuth in Raquel Reyes's Caribbean Kitchen Mystery debut, a savory treat for fans of Joanne Fluke and Jenn McKinlay. Food anthropologist Miriam Quinones-Smith's move from New York to Coral Shores, Miami, is traumatic enough without having to deal with her son's toddler tantrums and her husband's m Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quinones-Smith becomes a seasoned sleuth in Raquel Reyes's Caribbean Kitchen Mystery debut, a savory treat for fans of Joanne Fluke and Jenn McKinlay. Food anthropologist Miriam Quinones-Smith's move from New York to Coral Shores, Miami, is traumatic enough without having to deal with her son's toddler tantrums and her husband's midlife crisis. Her best friend, Alma, adds some spice back into Miriam's life when she offers her a job as an on-air cooking expert on a Spanish-language morning TV show. But when the newly minted star attends a Women's Club luncheon, a socialite sitting at her table suddenly falls face-first into the chicken salad, never to nibble again. When a second woman dies soon after, suspicions coalesce around a controversial Cuban herbalist, Dr. Fuentes--especially after the morning show's host collapses while interviewing him. But then, Detective Pullman learns that the socialite's death resulted from a drug overdose--and an anonymous tip fingers Alma as the pusher. Pullman persuades Miriam to ply her culinary know-how and her understanding of Coral Shores's Caribbean culture to help find the killer and clear Alma's name. While her hubby dallies with his ex-girlfriend, Juliet, Miriam quizzes her neighbors for answers and researches all manner of herbs. As the ingredients to the deadly scheme begin blending together, Miriam is on the verge of learning how and why the women died. But her snooping may turn out to be a recipe for her own murder.

30 review for Mango, Mambo, and Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Linden

    Cuban-American Miriam has just moved from NYC to Miami with her husband and young son. They are both originally from Florida, and decide to relocate when he’s offered a better job, despite the fact that she has a PhD, and university jobs in her field, food anthropology, are unavailable. His mother, who is bigoted nasty, and interfering, lives right down the street, much to Miriam’s dismay. Her best friend from grade school, Alma, a successful local realtor, takes her to a boring luncheon with wo Cuban-American Miriam has just moved from NYC to Miami with her husband and young son. They are both originally from Florida, and decide to relocate when he’s offered a better job, despite the fact that she has a PhD, and university jobs in her field, food anthropology, are unavailable. His mother, who is bigoted nasty, and interfering, lives right down the street, much to Miriam’s dismay. Her best friend from grade school, Alma, a successful local realtor, takes her to a boring luncheon with women from Coral Shores but someone dies there. Was it murder? Is there a cocaine connection? Miriam starts to wonder about others she meets, including a Mambocise instructor, a quack who is peddling herbal remedies for everything from weight loss to infertility, and an unpleasant woman who seems too interested in Miriam’s husband. I liked Miriam’s foray into broadcast TV with a cooking segment on a Spanish language station (recipes are included), and look forward to reading future installments of this cozy mystery series. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sue Em

    Rounding up from 4 and a half stars...I'm dinging it slightly as the mystery is a little obvious, but wow the cast, characters and locale are so fresh and fun that it makes up for it. Miriam Quinoñes-Smith has returned to Miami with as PhD, a husband and a toddler. But the milieu in Miami is much different now as her husband is a member of old line society. Dragged to a society luncheon by her domineering mother-in-law, Miriam witnesses the death of a young woman. When her BFF, Alma, is arrested Rounding up from 4 and a half stars...I'm dinging it slightly as the mystery is a little obvious, but wow the cast, characters and locale are so fresh and fun that it makes up for it. Miriam Quinoñes-Smith has returned to Miami with as PhD, a husband and a toddler. But the milieu in Miami is much different now as her husband is a member of old line society. Dragged to a society luncheon by her domineering mother-in-law, Miriam witnesses the death of a young woman. When her BFF, Alma, is arrested, Miriam starts investigating. Ah the food, mouth watering descriptions of Caribbean cuisine proliferate as Miriam cooks and eats her way through dish after succulent dish. Hope we'll be seeing Miriam, her friends and family again soon. Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    The author does an incredible job of getting the reader in Miriam’s head. We are looking at the world of Miami and Coral Shores so much through her eyes that at times it is easy to forget that we are just reading a book. Mostly that is good, but there are some dangers in that as well. I was definitely halfway into the book before I realized some of the dangers of seeing so much from Miriam’s perspective. When Miriam feels helpless to deal with her rude and conniving mother in law, I felt helples The author does an incredible job of getting the reader in Miriam’s head. We are looking at the world of Miami and Coral Shores so much through her eyes that at times it is easy to forget that we are just reading a book. Mostly that is good, but there are some dangers in that as well. I was definitely halfway into the book before I realized some of the dangers of seeing so much from Miriam’s perspective. When Miriam feels helpless to deal with her rude and conniving mother in law, I felt helpless. When Miriam felt helpless in dealing with her secretive husband, I felt helpless. However, when Miriam finds her strength and stands up for herself in really clever and dignified ways, it feels like such a success! When Miriam starts making new friends and finding career success, it made me so happy. I squealed out loud when she name dropped María Hinojosa! Oh and there is a mystery too. The mystery is fairly straight forward, but for me that was a good thing. I was happy to see the bad guys get theirs in the end. And I thought the way Miriam went about collecting clues and interviewing people was really well done and logical. There were several side characters that I loved meeting and I can’t wait to hear more from them next time. There is a lot of Spanish used in the book, but there are lots of context clues around it. I can speak Spanish, so I loved the inclusion of the language. But even if I didn’t speak it, I think it is still understandable. There are several nods to Miriam’s Cuban culture as well. I thought that helped round out her character. Overall, this book is heavy on character and lighter on plot. And that is just what it needed to be. I received a copy of the book. This is my review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    This story was different from many of the cozies I've read and I really liked it. For one Miriam Quiñones-Smith, our heroine is married and a mother. She and her husband have recently moved from NYC to his old hometown in Florida. It's not like Miami where she grew up and she's still getting adjusted. Miriam is a food anthropologist and she gets offered an opportunity to do a cooking segment for a Spanish language television network. I like how Spanish was incorporated. Miriam easily switched fro This story was different from many of the cozies I've read and I really liked it. For one Miriam Quiñones-Smith, our heroine is married and a mother. She and her husband have recently moved from NYC to his old hometown in Florida. It's not like Miami where she grew up and she's still getting adjusted. Miriam is a food anthropologist and she gets offered an opportunity to do a cooking segment for a Spanish language television network. I like how Spanish was incorporated. Miriam easily switched from English to Spanish, sometimes mid-sentence and it felt realistic to how many bilingual Spanish speakers talk. And there were enough context clues to figure out what was being said. Not only was Cuban culture included but also Haitian culture which has a big presence in South Florida. Her shady hubby got on my nerves the entire book. Had her out here thinking crazy for no reason! I really loved her relationship with her young son. And I wanted to slap her racist mother-in-law! I can't say I was super invested in the mystery aspects but I enjoyed the fun ride of navigating Miriam's world. Also the audiobook is amazing. I received an arc from Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Maxwell

    This book engages all the senses with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Miami! Miriam Quinones Smith returns to her hometown hoping to start a new life with her husband and young son, only to become embroiled in a murder case when a woman at a luncheon faints dead away--literally. Making matters worse, her mother-in-law intrudes on their lives every chance she gets and never misses an opportunity to put Miriam down. Things aren't all bad, though, as Miriam's career as a food anthropologist takes This book engages all the senses with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Miami! Miriam Quinones Smith returns to her hometown hoping to start a new life with her husband and young son, only to become embroiled in a murder case when a woman at a luncheon faints dead away--literally. Making matters worse, her mother-in-law intrudes on their lives every chance she gets and never misses an opportunity to put Miriam down. Things aren't all bad, though, as Miriam's career as a food anthropologist takes an exciting new turn and she just might become the next big celebrity chef on TV and the internet. Lots of interesting facts about life in Miami and a darned good mystery, too!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Canaves

    Miriam Quiñones-Smith is a food anthropologist with a lot on her plate (sorry not sorry) whose husband has just moved them from NY back to her hometown of South Florida. If her parents still lived in Miami, it would be great; but they’ve moved away and she’s left with her meddling mother-in-law who may be trying out for the role of passive aggressive queen. Her husband is being super weird, working nonstop, and not telling her what he’s doing or where all their money is suddenly coming from. It Miriam Quiñones-Smith is a food anthropologist with a lot on her plate (sorry not sorry) whose husband has just moved them from NY back to her hometown of South Florida. If her parents still lived in Miami, it would be great; but they’ve moved away and she’s left with her meddling mother-in-law who may be trying out for the role of passive aggressive queen. Her husband is being super weird, working nonstop, and not telling her what he’s doing or where all their money is suddenly coming from. It doesn’t help that her husband’s brief high school girlfriend seems thrilled to have him back in town and that her mother-in-law sure seems like she wishes they’d stayed together. But Miriam has plenty to distract her from her sudden marital woes, including reconnecting with her best friend, hosting a food show she knows nothing about (the hosting part, she’s great at cooking), caring for her young son, and did I mention attending a luncheon where a woman drops dead in front of her? When her best friend gets accused of murder, she’ll just have to figure out who is really responsible—no matter how much the detective tells her to stop. I love the mix of Latinx food in this book (delicious, mouth watering descriptions but also interesting history and recipes at the end), the women’s friendships, the look behind the scenes of a food show, and all the Spanglish which was music to my ears. I’m really looking forward to this series and hope it’s long-running. (TW diet culture, eating disorder, disordered eating/ mentions past addiction/ briefly mentioned with no details: past miscarriage; past overdose; past suicide) --from Book Riot's Unusual Suspects newsletter: https://link.bookriot.com/view/56a820...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    The book was fun to read and entertaining. I enjoyed Miriam as the amateur sleuth. Adding Manny, her cute toddler, to the entire book made it more fun.. Although I figured out the whodunit, I did not mind; it made the story more enjoyable. The characters brought the story to life. However, the dialogue switches from Spanish to English. The experience was not bothersome to me. Miriam's job was something I had never encountered in a cozy mystery, as was her cooking job at the Spanish TV station. I The book was fun to read and entertaining. I enjoyed Miriam as the amateur sleuth. Adding Manny, her cute toddler, to the entire book made it more fun.. Although I figured out the whodunit, I did not mind; it made the story more enjoyable. The characters brought the story to life. However, the dialogue switches from Spanish to English. The experience was not bothersome to me. Miriam's job was something I had never encountered in a cozy mystery, as was her cooking job at the Spanish TV station. It made the book worth it to read. Thank you Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for the ARC of this book. This was an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    Dr. Miriam Quinones-Smith along with her husband, Robert and son, Manny have moved from New York to Coral Shores, Florida. Her best friend, Alma drags Miriam to the Women’s Club luncheon where Sunny Weatherman collapses and later dies at the hospital. Detective Frank Pullman focuses in on Alma as the guilty party. Miriam knows that her friend is innocent and sets out to prove it to the consternation of Detective Pullman. Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel Reyes is the debut of A Caribbean Kitche Dr. Miriam Quinones-Smith along with her husband, Robert and son, Manny have moved from New York to Coral Shores, Florida. Her best friend, Alma drags Miriam to the Women’s Club luncheon where Sunny Weatherman collapses and later dies at the hospital. Detective Frank Pullman focuses in on Alma as the guilty party. Miriam knows that her friend is innocent and sets out to prove it to the consternation of Detective Pullman. Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel Reyes is the debut of A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series. I liked Miriam and her son, Manny as well as Alma. There are a couple of other friendly secondary characters. Miriam has a doctorate in food anthropology, and she is also an excellent cook. Her cooking along with her food knowledge lands her job at UnMundo doing cooking segments. I was frustrated with Miriam’s mother-in-law, Marjory Smith who treats Miriam terribly (likes she is dirt on her otherwise pristine shoes) and Miriam’s husband, Robert. He does not listen to Miriam, does things without consulting her, and believes his mother is just wonderful (talk about wearing blinders). The mystery followed the standard formula. Sunny Weatherman is killed early in the story, but there is little action until the second half of the book. Miriam asks good questions and uncovers clues that help her investigation. Detective Frank Pullman is your standard detective. He asks questions, arrests the wrong person, and appreciates Miriam’s help (the information she uncovers) while telling her to keep her nose out of his investigation. I ended up liking the detective more by the end of the book. I like how he calls Miriam Veronica Mars. The mystery can easily be solved early in the story. As clues were revealed, it reinforced my decision. They why took longer to figure out. I liked how the mystery came together at the end. The biggest problem I had with Mango, Mambo, and Murder was the Spanish dialogue. Miriam is Cuban and I expected there to be some Spanish in the story. There is a significant amount of Spanish dialogue with no translation (I tried to learn Spanish, but I was not successful). There is plenty of cooking in this cozy that will have you hungering for Cuban food. There is humor scattered throughout the story that I enjoyed, and I loved little Manny. Mango, Mambo, and Murder is a cute Cuban cozy with a monster mother-in-law, a mysterious murder, a key conundrum, a television triumph, an unhelpful husband, and shrewd sleuthing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    K.A. Davis

    MANGO, MAMBO, AND MURDER is the first book in the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series by Raquel V. Reyes. The appealing setting of Miami and the Cuban cultural theme made for a unique backdrop to the cozy mystery murder. With the protagonist, Dr. Miriam Quiñones-Smith, being a food anthropologist, the reader is treated to not only the tastes of the Cuban food on page, but also to some history of the dishes and ingredients. This added a layer of enjoyment for me personally. (Tip: don’t read while yo MANGO, MAMBO, AND MURDER is the first book in the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series by Raquel V. Reyes. The appealing setting of Miami and the Cuban cultural theme made for a unique backdrop to the cozy mystery murder. With the protagonist, Dr. Miriam Quiñones-Smith, being a food anthropologist, the reader is treated to not only the tastes of the Cuban food on page, but also to some history of the dishes and ingredients. This added a layer of enjoyment for me personally. (Tip: don’t read while you’re hungry or have a snack nearby!) I really wanted to love Miriam as a character – she’s super intelligent, a caring mother to her adorable 4-year-old son, creative, and an excellent cook – but, she doesn’t have much of a backbone… yet. She has a lot of internal dialog that indicates she’s fed up with how her utterly despicable mother-in-law treats her (and treats any person of color), but she chooses to suck it up and not rock the boat so to speak. Even Miriam’s husband seems oblivious to his mother’s prejudices or willfully ignores her barbs. I hope this changes in future books and that the character growth is swift. As other reviewers have stated, the amount of dialog in Spanish, without translation instantly provided, slowed down the pace for me even when I have a basic understanding of the language. The mystery itself is well-plotted with plenty of suspects to keep the reader on their toes. Miriam does an admirable job of juggling her duties as a mother, as a brand-new cooking segment tv and YouTube host, and for snooping. I appreciated that the detective investigating the murder(s) recognizes her valuable insight and connection to the community. Mango, Mambo, and Murder is a solid platform for future books and I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    What a wonderful read. Well-developed characters, realistic problems with in-laws, prejudice, female friendships, an adorable toddler and a strong sense of Caribbean-American culture elevate this above the normal cozy. While many cozies center on food in some flavor or another, I haven’t run into a food anthropologist before which adds depth and cultural association with the recipes and ingredients (plus they sound scrumptious). While the culprits are a bit obvious, overall, the story is strong. What a wonderful read. Well-developed characters, realistic problems with in-laws, prejudice, female friendships, an adorable toddler and a strong sense of Caribbean-American culture elevate this above the normal cozy. While many cozies center on food in some flavor or another, I haven’t run into a food anthropologist before which adds depth and cultural association with the recipes and ingredients (plus they sound scrumptious). While the culprits are a bit obvious, overall, the story is strong. There is a lot of time setting the scene and introducing the characters with their background, but that is not unusual in the first book in a series. I enjoyed it. It moves a long without feeling bogged down by an info dump. It is also interesting seeing the behind-the-scenes of a making of a food segment of a morning show. When you are finished reading this, it doesn’t feel like one of the million of other cozy series out there. If you are looking for a good story and something beyond the usual cozy, grab this. You won’t be disappointed. I look forward to reading more about Miriam and her family and friends in the future. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the ARC in return for an honest opinion.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    Miriam,Robert and their 4 year old son Manuelito move from a small NYC apartment to a house in in an affluent section of Miami called Cape Shore. This begins the story in this 1st of the Caribbean Kitchen mysteries. This is a really fun read. The characters are great; Manuel is adorable, Miriam is a great " detective" and you will love her friend Alma. There is even an unlikable character...the mother in law of course! The mystery was very good even though it was easy to figure out who the murder Miriam,Robert and their 4 year old son Manuelito move from a small NYC apartment to a house in in an affluent section of Miami called Cape Shore. This begins the story in this 1st of the Caribbean Kitchen mysteries. This is a really fun read. The characters are great; Manuel is adorable, Miriam is a great " detective" and you will love her friend Alma. There is even an unlikable character...the mother in law of course! The mystery was very good even though it was easy to figure out who the murderer might be. There is a fair amount of Spanish language but it adds to the whole ambiance of the book. Even though I know just a little Spanish, Un poco. One still got what was said. I really enjoyed learning about the history of Cuban cuisine and culture. I will definitely continue on with this series. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the Publisher, Crooked Lane Books for the opportunity to read and review this book which publishes on Oct 12, 2021

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Morin

    This is the first time I’ve read anything by this author, and I found the story to be interesting. Miriam is the main character and when her best friend is accused of murder, she does her best to help her prove her innocence. I think the writing was well done, and the story itself was good. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series. # MangoMamboandMurder #NetGalley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I have mixed feelings about this book. Miriam and her family move to Coral Shores from New York for her husbands new job . Miriam spends a lot of time with her childhood friend, Alma, who gets her a job at a Spanish tv network doing a cooking segment. At a luncheon the women attend, a guest at their table collapses and later dies. The police suspect Alma but Miriam knows she is innocent. I really liked the plot and the mystery of the book. Miriam is a great lead character and her son Manny is ado I have mixed feelings about this book. Miriam and her family move to Coral Shores from New York for her husbands new job . Miriam spends a lot of time with her childhood friend, Alma, who gets her a job at a Spanish tv network doing a cooking segment. At a luncheon the women attend, a guest at their table collapses and later dies. The police suspect Alma but Miriam knows she is innocent. I really liked the plot and the mystery of the book. Miriam is a great lead character and her son Manny is adorable. I loved Alma and the introduction of Miriam's aunt and uncle, along with her cousin. Miriam's mother in law on the other hand was horrible. She treats Miriam like trash. Miriam's husband isn't any better. He thinks his mother could do no wrong and doesn't see a problem with how she treats her and is generally never home to the point that Miriam thinks he is having an affair. The other problem I had with the book is that being that the character is Cuban, there is a lot of Spanish dialogue in the book, which I wouldn't mind if I understood Spanish or if there were a translation. Miriam had entire conversations with her son that I have no idea what was said. I really wanted to like this book more than I did but unfortunately it was a miss for me. I received this book from netgalley and Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michaela

    This is a cozy mystery set in Miami where Cuban food anthropologist Miriam Quiñones-Smith has recently moved to with her family, only to find herself soon immersed into crime. It´s an easy-to-read even if sometimes longish story which mostly deals with Miriam´s problems with her husband, mother-in-law and friends. The mystery only takes over towards the end of the book. Also not always easy to understand if you don´t talk Spanish - I could help myself with French and Italian. I liked that Latino This is a cozy mystery set in Miami where Cuban food anthropologist Miriam Quiñones-Smith has recently moved to with her family, only to find herself soon immersed into crime. It´s an easy-to-read even if sometimes longish story which mostly deals with Miriam´s problems with her husband, mother-in-law and friends. The mystery only takes over towards the end of the book. Also not always easy to understand if you don´t talk Spanish - I could help myself with French and Italian. I liked that Latinos, strong women, xenophobia and LGBTQ+ characters appeared. Would have liked Miriam getting to work in her skilled job. Yummy Cuban recipes attached! Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

    An amateur sleuth who’s also a food anthropologist who specializes in Caribbean food? Yes, please! This is a delicious culinary cozy that serves up both mouthwatering Caribbean food and a fun, family-centered mystery.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    (view spoiler)[I was actually convinced the husband was having an affair, so well done to the author for that particular red herring. (hide spoiler)] This was fun! Loved the cast of characters and the setting. Would definitely read more in this series/by this author. (view spoiler)[I was actually convinced the husband was having an affair, so well done to the author for that particular red herring. (hide spoiler)] This was fun! Loved the cast of characters and the setting. Would definitely read more in this series/by this author.

  17. 5 out of 5

    M’s bookshelf

    3.5 Stars Good food, great characters and a scintillating mystery, what's not to like? If there's one thing I'd say; do not read this book while fasting because it'll definitely leave you with cravings. Raquel does a brilliant job in creating realistic and intriguing characters with personalities of their own. Although the book starts off confusing, it dives into the mystery in no time; which then helps fuel the curiosity. Miriam is a multifaceted character who is set on righting the wrong but is 3.5 Stars Good food, great characters and a scintillating mystery, what's not to like? If there's one thing I'd say; do not read this book while fasting because it'll definitely leave you with cravings. Raquel does a brilliant job in creating realistic and intriguing characters with personalities of their own. Although the book starts off confusing, it dives into the mystery in no time; which then helps fuel the curiosity. Miriam is a multifaceted character who is set on righting the wrong but isn't afraid to cross some lines which makes her relatable and interesting. The writing style was at times confusing since it switched back and forth from Spanish (I have to brush up my language skills!) but flowed very well and was pretty easy to read and visualize. Although the mystery started a while into the books, I loved reading the backstories of all the different characters and how Miriam interacted with each of them. I would have loved to see more of it. The mystery is a central part but was quite obvious once we got reading. However, the book was too interesting to stop. I would have enjoyed more serious twists in the mystery but this book definitely made for a cozy read! The writing, plot, and characters no doubt, prove true to the books lively name! Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing me with an e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest review. The book is out 21 October 2021!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachaelbookhunter

    Miriam has moved back to the Miami area of Coral Shores with her husband and young son after years of living in New York. She is happy to be back where she grew up and to see her best friend again. But her parents no longer live there while her new house is within walking distance of her disapproving, interfering mother in law. Her friend attempts to get her involved in activities and one of the first is lunch at the Women's Club. After a woman sitting at the same table ends up dead things begin Miriam has moved back to the Miami area of Coral Shores with her husband and young son after years of living in New York. She is happy to be back where she grew up and to see her best friend again. But her parents no longer live there while her new house is within walking distance of her disapproving, interfering mother in law. Her friend attempts to get her involved in activities and one of the first is lunch at the Women's Club. After a woman sitting at the same table ends up dead things begin to get a little crazy for Miriam. Her friend is arrested and she has no choice but to figure out what's going on. I really enjoyed the setting and Miriam's background. Her family is Cuban and this background is essential to her character. She is a food anthropologist and with her friend's help gets a job on a cooking show. There are a lot of delicious food descriptions. Some of the dialogue is in Spanish without being fully explained. But I don't feel as I missed anything and even understood some of it and maybe learned a few words. I really enjoyed the awkward family gatherings/situations. They felt real. Even though a death occurs early on the mystery doesn't start for a little while. When Miriam begins to actively investigate, the tone changes a little. Miriam is a little chaotic in her thoughts and she thinks this way about a lot of things. There's something going on with her husband as well and I wished she had reacted differently. It was a lot at once. I'm not sure if she makes the best sleuth as some of her tactics weren't the best. But this was her first time and things might have been more interesting or challenging if the mystery had been stronger. The murderer is a little obvious and I didn't really consider them because of it. The reason behind the murder too was underwhelming for me. Some of the elements involved as Miriam questioned things were interesting and bring up some things to think about. Overall it was an interesting read. 3.5/5

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    I loved reading a cozy mystery with a Latinx flavor. There was so much here that felt authentic and cozy in a way that I had never encountered before. The use of food was perfection and made my mouth water. I also loved that Miriam is trying to teach her son Spanish and is connected to her culture. The mystery itself was not the strongest element but I really did care more about the characters and their relationships than I did for any other part of the story and that was a huge plus for me. I d I loved reading a cozy mystery with a Latinx flavor. There was so much here that felt authentic and cozy in a way that I had never encountered before. The use of food was perfection and made my mouth water. I also loved that Miriam is trying to teach her son Spanish and is connected to her culture. The mystery itself was not the strongest element but I really did care more about the characters and their relationships than I did for any other part of the story and that was a huge plus for me. I did not care much for the marital problems that Miriam was having but the mother-in-law story felt very real.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Potterhead Aanya

    One of the best books I have ever read, the only fault there was a bit too much spanish..... And a translation would have been appreciated. My rating 4 stars

  21. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    I absolutely loved this one and want more!!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes is the debut novel of the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series. Offered as a Read Now on Netgalley when I word on got, it was a cozy mystery and I had to grab it. What I enjoyed about this particular story that differentiated itself from a lot of other cozies was that the protagonist was a married woman who is also a mother. Typically, the amateur sleuths are single women with the potential of a romantic interest in the picture. I also liked the latinx cult Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes is the debut novel of the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series. Offered as a Read Now on Netgalley when I word on got, it was a cozy mystery and I had to grab it. What I enjoyed about this particular story that differentiated itself from a lot of other cozies was that the protagonist was a married woman who is also a mother. Typically, the amateur sleuths are single women with the potential of a romantic interest in the picture. I also liked the latinx culture infused within the story that made this different from others. However, the small criticism I have is that Miriam didn’t really get involved with the investigation until well into the story and some of the Spanish sayings were a bit lost on me. But I do understand especially in the initial novel of a series, you have to establish the character and relationships she has with the other main players of the story. Thank you Crooked Lane Books for the arc. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)

    Miriam Quinones-Smith met and married her husband Robert in New York, where they also had a son. But when Robert's mother offers them a down payment on a new home -- near hers, of course -- Robert doesn't refuse and so they find themselves living back in Miami, where both of them grew up. Robert has asked Miriam to put her career on hold for a year while their four-year-old son grows adapted to his new life, and so she does. But she doesn't expect her new life to become part of a Women's Club, an Miriam Quinones-Smith met and married her husband Robert in New York, where they also had a son. But when Robert's mother offers them a down payment on a new home -- near hers, of course -- Robert doesn't refuse and so they find themselves living back in Miami, where both of them grew up. Robert has asked Miriam to put her career on hold for a year while their four-year-old son grows adapted to his new life, and so she does. But she doesn't expect her new life to become part of a Women's Club, and on her first visit there with her friend Alma, a real estate agent, a woman passes out and dies. Ruled an accident, it's soon apparent the woman was murdered. When another woman dies, it's a sealed deal. Now Miriam is caught up in a murder investigation, trying to raise her young son, and keep her marriage together. It's not as easy as it sounds... The rest of the review contains spoilers, so do not read if you have not read the book: (view spoiler)[I wanted to read this book because I thought it would be interesting. It wasn't. I soon found out that if I wanted to read it I would have to either a) learn Spanish; b) ask my Cuban neighbor to sit with me while I read the book so he could translate; or c) keep a Spanish-to-English dictionary next to me. None of these options seemed viable, so it made the book difficult. It was mainly because almost every other paragraph was in Spanish, and it quickly became frustrating to read. No one wants to read a book that frustrates or irritates them (at least I hope not). It doesn't help that she states she speaks Spanish to her son because she wants him to be bilingual (which is perfectly fine and probably a good thing), but that she wants her husband to speak English to him so he learns both languages (which isn't going to happen because Robert is never around). (FYI, I not only have a Cuban neighbor, but an Ecuadoran as well, and they both speak English to me, and a Mexican uncle who has always spoken English to my family - just putting it out there). I also wasn't interested in learning about her son's bodily habits and body parts. I already know how it works. I find that rather weird, to tell the truth. I also didn't like her hateful mother-in-law (and, for the record, I will state that I love my own mother-in-law; but since I have a backbone, I'd leave a marriage like this rather than be miserable). I guess I just don't like the 'evil nemesis' in books, and it's worse if it's a relative, because you know they'll be in every single book. What really got my goat was the dinner scene, where her mother-in-law didn't set a place for her at the table, and expected her to sit with the children. The very worst in this book is the fact that her husband treats her like garbage. He never comes home, doesn't tell her of his new job, allows his mother to decorate their home, and hangs out with his old girlfriend. Because of this, Miriam spent the entire book wondering if her husband was having an affair. He's a jerk and she should leave him for his cousin, who actually spent time with her and treated her well. To sum it up: I didn't like that over half the book was in Spanish (it kind of limits your readers anyway); I didn't like Miriam, who won't stand up for herself (nothing worse than a weak woman); I didn't like Robert or his mother. The way the characters are written is not applaudable, and I can only hope that in the next book there are changes. Sorry. (hide spoiler)] I received an advance copy from NetGalley and the publisher but this in no way influenced my review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Keira S

    4.5/5 “Holding onto a grudge is like holding onto an anchor and jumping into the sea.” Now that an inspiring quote has made an appearance, let's begin! What I liked/loved: - Characters! I feel like authors don't get enough credit for creating NEGATIVE characters./ antagonists. There were a few of those in this book that made my blood boil. (Which translates to Raquel doing a fantastic job in bringing them to life!) Since I have mentioned the antagonist, I cannot take the spotlight away from th 4.5/5 “Holding onto a grudge is like holding onto an anchor and jumping into the sea.” Now that an inspiring quote has made an appearance, let's begin! What I liked/loved: - Characters! I feel like authors don't get enough credit for creating NEGATIVE characters./ antagonists. There were a few of those in this book that made my blood boil. (Which translates to Raquel doing a fantastic job in bringing them to life!) Since I have mentioned the antagonist, I cannot take the spotlight away from the MC. Miriam. She was a likable character and her affection for her family and best friend seemed genuine. I admired her self-control when experiencing racism. Manny. What a delight!!! Are toddlers really like that? (My guess is going to be no, haha.) Robert. Being in an interracial marriage, it was admirable how he welcomed her culture and they worked together. I was rooting for them throughout! So many amazing characters, I wonder how book 2 would go about it! - Writing style. Despite being around 300+ pages, I was able to finish the book within a day. Written in the first person past tense, the author was able to capture my attention with her engaging plotline and dialogues. I cannot stress how much I LOVED being introduced to the Caribbean culture. It's so beautiful. The food, history, and family structure. -Bilingual aspects. Mainly written in English, it included a few Spanish dialogues and words. It made it feel more authentic even when there were a few instances where I found myself trying to translate the words, haha. -Recipes at the end? Hell yes! That was such an added bonus! I am very keen on the papaya smoothie. What could've been better? - Miriam and Detective Frank Pullman's relationship. It lacked authenticity once she had turned into an informant. - I was hoping someone else was the "killer" though there was a good amount of information and research involved to create a good distraction. While it was expected, sort of, I wasn't bored reading through Miriam's thought process or the events that occurred in her life. - It took about three minutes of turning the water off and on, flushing the toilet and opening and closing the hall bathroom door to stir Manny. Okay, not necessarily an issue, my personal opinion on here. Why was she doing this? Her husband was an environmentalist! And I thought she was too. When these lines popped up, I WAS SHOCKED! Why Miriam, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?! Overall, I loved the book! Can't wait to read more from the author! Thank you, NetGalley and the Publisher for the complimentary ARC. All thoughts are of my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    What a great read!!! I absolutely loved the bilingual writing, even though the English version was right after the Spanish, it stretched my knowledge of Spanish from growing up in New Mexico. I haven’t lived there in seventeen years, so my brain needed that workout. It was like being home and surrounded by family. Miriam, her husband Robert, and their son Manny move into Coral Shores, FL from New York City, and it’s a huge change for Miriam, even though she grew up just a few miles away. You see What a great read!!! I absolutely loved the bilingual writing, even though the English version was right after the Spanish, it stretched my knowledge of Spanish from growing up in New Mexico. I haven’t lived there in seventeen years, so my brain needed that workout. It was like being home and surrounded by family. Miriam, her husband Robert, and their son Manny move into Coral Shores, FL from New York City, and it’s a huge change for Miriam, even though she grew up just a few miles away. You see, Coral Shores is where all the rich white people live in Miami, think trust funds and mega rich. Miriam doesn’t fit in and boy does her mother-in-law shove that in her face. Not only that, but her mother-in-law parades around with her son’s ex, trying to get the two of them back together. She doesn’t like Miriam because she’s from the wrong part of town, and the wrong skin color. She also doesn’t like the fact that Miriam and Robert are raising Manny to be bilingual and that he speaks more Spanish than English right now. But when Miriam attends a Women’s Club meeting, the woman next to her collapses and dies. When the death is declared suspicious, for some reason Miriam’s best friend Alma, the realtor everyone in Coral Shores uses, is declared the main suspect and is arrested on suspicion of her murder. Then another woman collapses while Alma is under house arrest, Miriam decides that she is going to solve the case herself and clear Alma’s name. That’s not all Miriam’s got going on in her life. Her cooking segment on the Spanish channel takes off and her segment is put on Youtube where it takes off. People around town are recognizing her. Plus when she sees her husband’s new car at one of those “No Tell Motel’s” Miriam realizes that her marriage might be in trouble and she needs to figure out what’s going on with her family as well. Even though Miriam has only been in Coral Shores for a few weeks, she has her finger on the pulse, makes lots of friends quickly and figures out who the killer is. She usually just one step, or ½ step ahead of Detective Pullman and the police department. It was easy to figure out who the killer was and how, but not the why. I really liked that it was harder to figure out the why, I liked the recipes, I thoroughly liked the book. I can’t wait to read more in this series and more from this author. *I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and this is my honest and voluntary review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    MANGO, MAMBO, AND MURDER is an intriguing cozy mystery with recipes, cooking, family, and a murder mystery. Miriam moved with her husband and toddler to Miami, when he was roped into a great job offer. Miriam, who has a PhD in food anthropology, left her job and academic prospects behind to come along with him. Luckily, with her BFF Alma, she is carving out a new life for herself, starting as a cooking segment for the local TV station - a huge step down for her, but something new - and it gets h MANGO, MAMBO, AND MURDER is an intriguing cozy mystery with recipes, cooking, family, and a murder mystery. Miriam moved with her husband and toddler to Miami, when he was roped into a great job offer. Miriam, who has a PhD in food anthropology, left her job and academic prospects behind to come along with him. Luckily, with her BFF Alma, she is carving out a new life for herself, starting as a cooking segment for the local TV station - a huge step down for her, but something new - and it gets her away from her domineering mother-in-law and problematic family, who are white and rich and would wish everyone in their circle was the same. When she gets roped into a luncheon, one of the women seems to pass out but is generally ignored by the others. Later, she learns that this woman had died, and when another woman dies, Miriam decides to help investigate - especially since her BFF Alma is a suspect. While she investigates and has to worry about who the next victim will be, she is also balancing her new life in Miami, the cooking show, and her husband's suspicious behaviors. This was an intriguing look at family, racial issues, cooking, and friendship that made for a great cozy mystery. Miriam is a really compelling character that pulls the reader into the story. Her struggles resonate with readers who may be undergoing or had undergone similar turmoil, and the murder mystery adds an extra, fun layer of suspense to the book, making the pages turn quickly. It was really fun to have the inclusion of Spanish naturally throughout as well as the recipes of the cooking shown in the book (provided at the end). With great characters, thought-provoking themes, and a solid mystery, this was a delightful cozy mystery that I would recommend picking up! Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    3.5 stars Miriam is a food anthropologist which was a detail we haven't seen before in the typical food themed cozy's. (they're usually chefs, bakers or caterers) She not only goes over recipes but discusses the history of the origins for the various ingredients. It was interesting to learn those specifics. Caribbean food is the focus of the book. The characters are appealing & relatable for those of us who are from diverse backgrounds so it kept my attention but the actual mystery doesn't begin u 3.5 stars Miriam is a food anthropologist which was a detail we haven't seen before in the typical food themed cozy's. (they're usually chefs, bakers or caterers) She not only goes over recipes but discusses the history of the origins for the various ingredients. It was interesting to learn those specifics. Caribbean food is the focus of the book. The characters are appealing & relatable for those of us who are from diverse backgrounds so it kept my attention but the actual mystery doesn't begin until about 1/2 way in. It was very obvious who the bad guy was. I think b/c this was the first in a series, the writer was establishing the locale & characters. It's more of a character driven story than a mystery. There was humor. I loved the chemistry b/w Miriam & detective Pullman who referred to her as "Veronica Mars" while she referenced "Murder She Wrote". I found that to be delightful. A cheeky nod by the writer to those of us mystery lovers. Fave quotes: "Fail! Sleuthing was harder than I’d anticipated. What would Jessica Fletcher do if she were in my position? I thought about the hours and hours of Murder She Wrote episodes that I‘d watched with my mom. Angela Lansbury made it look so easy. " 'I shook my head and dipped a piece of bread into the last dreg of my soup. “At my house, we watched telenovelas and, for some weird reason, Murder She Wrote reruns.” “The old white lady that trips over dead bodies? Well, that explains a lot.”' On a side note-I've had cafecito and yeah, it's better than American. I'd compare this to "Arsenic & Adobo" as well as "Dial A for Aunties" so use that as a reference for whether you'd like this or not. I probably will read the next one in the series as I'd like to see if the writer is able to develop her plots more thoroughly. Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane books for a preview ARC in exchange for a review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Teisha

    Mango, Mambo, and Murder is the first book in the A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series. The story takes place in Coral Shores, a community in Miami, FL. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Miriam shined as the protagonist of the story. Her background in cultural anthropology is something that is not often seen in the cozy mystery genre so I enjoyed how Reyes tied Miriam’s education into the story line/her TV gig. It was also nice to read about Caribbean food history throughout the book because it adde Mango, Mambo, and Murder is the first book in the A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series. The story takes place in Coral Shores, a community in Miami, FL. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Miriam shined as the protagonist of the story. Her background in cultural anthropology is something that is not often seen in the cozy mystery genre so I enjoyed how Reyes tied Miriam’s education into the story line/her TV gig. It was also nice to read about Caribbean food history throughout the book because it added to the plot and character development. Speaking of characters…can we talk about Miriam’s mother-in-law? That woman was a piece of work, let me tell you! I hope Miriam finds a way to give it to her in future books because *whew* Robert (Miriam’s husband) did little to stop his mother although he did comfort Miriam when insults were flung her way. As a matter of fact, most of Robert’s family did the same thing so at least she wasn’t completely alone. I loved Miriam’s relationship with her son, Manny, as well as her relationship with childhood friend, Alma! Reyes did a great job of using those relationships to bridge Miriam’s past and present together. It also helped in making sense of other relationships in the book, including fellow mothers navigating the Coral Shores social scene. The mystery itself was good overall. It gave off “it’s about the journey not the end goal” kind of vibes because of the possible suspects, Miriam's involvement with law enforcement, and how the murder is ultimately solved. There was more of a focus on confirming who the murderer was based on the list of suspects as opposed to throwing out multiple red herrings to confuse the reader. I can appreciate a cozy mystery that takes that route because it gives the reader a chance to “enjoy the ride” so to speak. Overall, this is a great start to a new cozy mystery series and I’m looking forward to reading the second installment when it comes out. There are not a lot of non-white protagonists in cozy mysteries so it’s great to add Miriam to the list!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (read_with_steph)

    I'm a huge fan of cozy mysteries and always looking to try new series, so when I saw this new one I was super excited to try it! I love the premise and involvement of Cuban food, and, of course, it has an adorable cover. However, ultimately, this book was really just... fine. The highlights were the MC, Miriam, cooking, and certain characters finally getting what was coming to them. But the ending certainly left something to be desired, with Miriam outright ignoring her friend begging her to cal I'm a huge fan of cozy mysteries and always looking to try new series, so when I saw this new one I was super excited to try it! I love the premise and involvement of Cuban food, and, of course, it has an adorable cover. However, ultimately, this book was really just... fine. The highlights were the MC, Miriam, cooking, and certain characters finally getting what was coming to them. But the ending certainly left something to be desired, with Miriam outright ignoring her friend begging her to call the cops and doing something stupid instead, and her husband (who has been shady all book) revealing his big ~secret~ that he totally didn't need to keep secret from his WIFE. And Miriam just forgives him?? I didn't get it at all. Miriam's MIL is also completely racist, which is acknowledged in the book, but never really rectified or addressed by her son. I guess this is a series, so there's still time, but that part felt so egregious it was hard to swallow. As a final thought on something that did not affect my rating of the book--there's a lot of Spanish in this book. I took high school Spanish ~10 years ago and can catch a bit here and there, but this book had more than I could understand, and didn't always provide the necessary context for non-Spanish speakers. Unlike a book like A Lot Like Adios or Island Affair, which I think integrate Spanish successfully in ways non-Spanish speakers can understand, this book had a lot of back-and-forth in Spanish and at times I felt like I was missing content by not being able to understand. Maybe I'm not the target audience then, but I wish I had known that before I had picked up the book. Thanks to Crooked Lane Books for my eARC! All thoughts and opinions are my own. 4 stars - 6/10

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    There's a lot I liked about this book: the focus on Cuban food and culture, the relationships between Miriam and her friends and family, the writing kept me engaged without bogging me down with too much information. The author does a fantastic job of placing you in the Miami area and making you really feel like you're there, enjoying the food and meeting the people. The investigation doesn't start until halfway through so Miriam spends her time getting her house together, making friends, and get There's a lot I liked about this book: the focus on Cuban food and culture, the relationships between Miriam and her friends and family, the writing kept me engaged without bogging me down with too much information. The author does a fantastic job of placing you in the Miami area and making you really feel like you're there, enjoying the food and meeting the people. The investigation doesn't start until halfway through so Miriam spends her time getting her house together, making friends, and getting treated terribly by her husband and mother-in-law. I really felt bad for her for most of the book but am so glad everything worked out in the end. With that being said, there was something that really bothered me with this book. When a book is written about a particular culture, it is understood that some things might be said better in language other than the one the book is written in. This book is about Cuban people and food. I would expect names of dishes to be in Spanish as well as a few phrases that would lose too much in translation if said in English. However, full conversations without translation should be left out. A simple, "I explained to my son, in Spanish,..." would have worked better and left readers less confused. And "I could finally get a big ola (sp?) de presion for making frijoles negros"- really? We're familiar with pressure cookers in the English speaking world; you can call it that. A little bit of Spanish sprinkled in here or there goes a long way. Yes, I realize this is how people talk but we don't write the way we talk . No need to overdo it. I will read the next one in the hopes that there will be significantly less. I received a copy from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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