Review of Murder From Scratch


Restaurateur Sally Solari’s cousin Evelyn may be blind, but she can see all too clearly that her chef mother’s death wasn’t an accidental overdose—she was murdered.

Santa Cruz restaurateur Sally Solari’s life is already boiling over as she deals with irate cooks and other staffing issues at the busy Gauguin restaurant. The rainy December weather isn’t cooling things down, either. So she’s steamed when her dad persuades her to take in Evelyn, her estranged blind cousin whose mother has just died of a drug overdose.

But Evelyn proves to be lots of fun and she’s a terrific cook. Back at the house she’d shared with her mom, Evelyn’s heightened sense of touch tells her that various objects—a bottle of cranberry juice, her grandfather’s jazz records—are out of place. She and her mom always kept things in the same place so Evelyn could find them. So she suspects that her mother’s death was neither accident nor suicide, no matter what the police believe.

The cousins’ sleuthing takes Sally and Evelyn into the world of macho commercial kitchens, and the cutthroat competitiveness that can flame up between chefs. In Leslie Karst’s scrumptious fourth Sally Solari mystery, Sally will have to chop a long list of suspects down to size or end up getting burned.


The characters are well rounded and well developed.  When Sally’s father asks her to take in a cousin that she really does not know, she does not know what to make of her cousin.  But she realizes she is funny and a lot of fun.  Evelyn, her cousin, is blind and she has lost her mother.  Because she is blind her other senses are heightened.

Evelyn is sure her mother was murdered because things have been moved in her house and she knows her mother would not have done that.  Sally and Evelyn have to figure out what happened and who the murderer is.  

The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and they helped pull me into the story from the very beginning.  The writing style flows smoothly and defines the character very clearly by their actions and words.  The mystery was well plotted and there were enough clues to sift through and suspects to consider. You will need to put your thinking caps on if you want to solve this.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.