It’s Indian summer in Santa Cruz and restaurateur Sally Solari decides an open-air painting class is the perfect way for her to learn more about Paul Gaugin, the inspiration for her family’s newest restaurant. But the beauty of the Monterey Bay coastline is shattered when Sally’s dog Buster sniffs out a corpse tangled up in kelp.
The body is identified as Gino, a local fisherman and a regular at the Solaris’ restaurant until he disappeared after dining there a few nights before. Witnesses claim he left reeling drunk, but his waitress swears Gino only had two beers with his dinner. And then the fingers begin to point at Sally’s dad for negligently allowing an inebriated customer to walk home alone at night.
From a long menu of suspects that includes Anastasia, the mysterious woman who dined with Gino that fateful night, Gino’s deckhand Bobby, and bocce player Frank who accused Gino of cheating, Sally must serve up the tall order to clear her father’s name in Death al Fresco, Leslie Karst’s third culinary cozy perfect for fans of Joanne Fluke and Leslie Meier. (Summary via Goodreads)
When I read a book there are lots of times that I find one word best describes the book. And I have to say when reading Death al Fresco by Leslie Karst the word that pops in my mind throughout the entire book is HUNGRY.
In Death at Fresco, the third book in the Sally Solari Mystery series by Karst, you are hanging out with Sally who is going back and forth from her father's restaurant, Solari's to Gauguin's, the restaurant that Sally inherited from her aunt. As she just recently inherited Gauguin's she is trying to learn thr ropes of owning and running her own business but she is also getting pulled back to her father's restaurant to help him prepare for a huge dinner honoring the Mayor of their sister city.
As if that isn't enough a local fisherman, Gino, that frequented the Solari's is found washed up on the beach by Sally's dog. When Sally learns his approximate time of death happens to be right after he was in the restaurant appearing very intoxicating and he was kicked out by her father, Sally cannot help but try to figure out what happened and why he ended up dead.
While you read Death al Fresco you will notice that it is slightly different than most cozies in the way that Sally approaches the case. Usually the main character is butting heads with the police and getting themselves in hot water. However, with Death al Fresco as Sally goes about working at both restaurants, she witnesses things and just seems to talk to some of the locals.....without giving much away. Even though the underlying fact is that she is trying to find out who would hit Gino over the head and throw him into the ocean and why. He was just an old local fisherman....... Also she wants to prove that her father had nothing to do with his death even if there are some facts that say otherwise......
Make sure you have a yummy snack, maybe an antipasto or a nice dish of black cod with miso and sake, or a slice of panettone or something to keep your appetite in check because once you start reading it will be hard to put the book down.....
Review by Missi S.