By following Mango, Mambo, and Murder with Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking, Raquel V. Reyes establishes that her Caribbean Kitchen mystery series will be delighting cozy crime readers for years to come. Miriam Quiñones-Smith and the diverse community and culture she surrounds herself with continue to bring spice and vitality to the cozy mystery sub-genre.
The victim ratio in Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking is quite high, but Raquel V. Reyes successfully keeps the light-hearted tone and delightful fun on full display throughout. As with the first in the series, Reyes ups the authenticity factor high by engaging the reader with descriptions of the delicious Cuban food, the promise of a calypso band, and just the right sprinkling of her native language.
Once again, the family dynamic takes center stage, with Miriam’s passive-aggressive mother-in-law pulling enough shenanigans to really raise the reader’s ire. But the always resourceful Miriam navigates this challenging relationship with skill and style, all while leaving no stone unturned in her amateur investigation(s).
Fall is not the season most associated with the more tropical Miami, so taking readers behind the scenes of Coral Shores’ off-season was a superb choice, reminding readers that all communities—even those more associated with the glitz and glamour of hot summer nights—have changing seasons and beloved traditions.
After Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking, cozy mystery fans will be standing in line to see what Raquel V. Reyes—and Miriam Quiñones-Smith—are cooking up next.
The women who lead Cathy Ace’s WISE Enquiries Agency series continue to delight in the fifth entry, The Case of the Disgraced Duke. Once again, the quirky and vexing citizens of Anwen-by-Wye clash, leaving the four members of WISE Enquiries to pick up the pieces and patch the conflicts.
As with the other books in the series, Cathy Ace juggles multiple storylines—and multiple mysteries—simultaneously, often highlighting how they connect to, or at the very least, influence each other. The same goes for the women of the Agency: Annie, Carol, Christine, and Mavis each have their own unique skill set, but they have learned over the course of the series that their talents work best in conjunction. Many hands make light work, as the saying goes.
Speaking of, despite the fact that Cathy Ace’s series is on the lighter side, the ramifications of such tawdry crimes often risk ruin for the Duke of Chellingworth’s family and friends. With their loyalty to Althea, the dowager duchess, the WISE Agency women are determined to save the day and prevent a tarnished birth for the newest member of the family.
Fans of the series will hope that the wait for the next WISE Enquiries Agency novel is not quite as long as the wait for The Case of the Disgraced Duke, while knowing that whenever it arrives, the visit to the Welsh countryside will be most enjoyable—and likely deadly.
Disclaimer: A print galley of both titles was provided to BOLO Books by the respective authors. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.