A Measure of Murder
A Sally Solari Mystery
By Leslie Karst
Author’s Website: www(.)lesliekarstauthor(.)com
Sally Solari is busy juggling work at her family’s Italian restaurant, Solari’s, and helping Javier plan the autumn menu for the restaurant she’s just inherited, Gauguin. Complicating this already hectic schedule, Sally joins her ex-boyfriend Eric’s chorus, which is performing a newly discovered version of her favorite composition: The Mozart Requiem. But then, at the first rehearsal, a tenor falls to his death on the church courtyard–and his soprano girlfriend is sure it wasn’t an accident.
Now Sally’s back on another murder case mixed in with a dash of revenge, a pinch of peril, and a suspicious stack of sheet music. And while tensions in the chorus heat up, so does the kitchen at Gauguin–set aflame right as Sally starts getting too close to the truth. Can Sally catch the killer before she’s burnt to a crisp, or will the case grow as cold as yesterday’s leftovers?
In a stew of suspects and restaurateurs, trouble boils over in the second in Leslie Karst’s tasty and tantalizing Sally Solari mystery series, A Measure of Murder.
My first foray into the writing of Leslie Karst was a fun and enjoyable jaunt. With characters like Sally Solari and her innate inquisitiveness, how could one not enjoy the journey? One aspect I really enjoyed was that the story had many offshoots, which kept this reader intrigued and guessing throughout the story as to whodunit.
Sally Solari is a woman who obviously likes to keep busy. In addition to working at her father’s restaurant – Solari’s (bin her defence she is training a replacement to run the front of the house), she is learning the intricacies of the restaurant she inherited from her aunt – ‘Gauguin’. And now Sally has joined her ex-beau (Eric’s) choir. Lo and behold, during one choir rehearsal, a death occurs – a tenor turns up dead. While the police have ruled it as an accident, the girlfriend (also a member of the choir – a soprano) insists that it is not. She seeks out Sally to see if she can help her prove that it really was no accident.
There is no shortage of characters in this book. As there were so many, I had to actually write names down until the field of possible suspects was narrowed down a bit as it was a tad confusing to keep everyone straight.
The humorous side of a cozy mystery definitely came out and had me chuckling numerous times. I quite enjoyed the reference to Miss Marple:
“Eric eyeballed me and then shook his head with a laugh. ‘I’m not going to be able to talk you out of this, am I? Now that you’ve gotten a taste for it, playing Miss Marple and solving crimes around out little town.”
I loved some of the descriptions surrounding the restaurant and food preparation had my mouth watering:
“You’ll want to let that reduce down to just a tablespoon or so. Au Sec, it’s called.” Javier peered over my shoulder at the mixture of white wine vinegar, cracked peppercorns, fresh tarragon, and chopped shallots simmering in the saucepan. It was late Friday afternoon, and as promised, he was showing me some of the hot line basics.”
“The ratio for a hollandaise -or in this case, its derivative sauce, béarnaise-is two pounds of butter, which is what this will end up being after it’s been clarified, to a dozen egg yolks.”
The other adjacent story-lines were interesting and definitely added depth to the story…at times adding maybe some red herrings? But truth be told, without the ‘Mozart’s Requiem’ story-line of how it came to be in the hands of Marta (choir director), I might have lost interest.
I am tempted to go back and read book one of the series “Dying for a Taste” to see if following Sally from the beginning will give me a better sense of the character as a sleuth in addition to her as, well, her.
I think there is great potential in this series and as such look forward to reading more of Leslie Karst’s writing in the future. Now off to cook an Italian meal – this book certainly wet my appetite!
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*