Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder
by Tina Kashian
As usual, even though this is the fifth book in the Kitchen Kebab Series, author Tina Kashian does a brilliant job of bringing the reader up to date on the characters in the series at the same time that they are taking the Polar Bear Plunge in the little New Jersey town of Ocean Crest. The title of the book, Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder, encapsulates the plot—but in reverse order. The frigid swim Lucy Barbarian and her sidekick Katie Watson undertake for charity results, unfortunately, in a drowning, but not one of accidental causes. This death (MURDER) and Lucy’s investigation to clear her friend Susan, a local baker, takes top billing in the story. Mediterranean cuisine (MOUSSAKA) comes in second as Lucy manages her parents’ restaurant; the book features enticing descriptions of food. Romance is also in the air (MISTLETOE) as Lucy plans her wedding to head chef Azad.
This cozy mystery will have you turning pages quickly as Lucy discovers that everyone who had opportunity to commit this crime also had motive. Secrets abound. Some of Lucy’s inquiries edge along dangerous lines, and the local detective discourages her “interference.” Gadoo, Lucy’s adopted cat, and Cupid, her landlady’s shih tzu, learn to tolerate each other, and Gadoo has an exciting major role in this book.
The setting is an ocean beach town that depends for its economic survival on three months of summer tourist trade. This book, however, has a cold Christmas backdrop with a nice mix of mystery and holiday fun.
I would like to extend my thanks to Netgalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #5 in the Kitchen Kebab Mystery Series, but works quite well as a standalone.
2. A recipe section is included with 4 recipes ranging from easy to more complicated.
3. There was a small scene where a character did a coffee reading similar to someone telling the future from tea leaves. I do not read books with a paranormal focus, but this coffee reading was an extremely minor part of the book and would not dissuade me from reading more in the series.
Publication: September 29, 2020—Kensington Books
It was isolated in the evening, and a cold breeze blew from the ocean. A full moon hung like a Roman coin in the velvet sky and illuminated the ocean in an iridescent glow. The sounds of the waves were constant and calming.
The streetlamp cast long shadows on the snow-covered street. Coming from a cheerful and noisy crowd in the park, it was eerily quiet.
The mesmerizing pull of the ocean was Mother Nature’s way of clearing her thoughts.