FF’s Star Rating: ☆☆ ☆
Sally Andrew’s Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic is the follow-up novel to the bestselling Recipes for Love and Murder. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading the latter, but while that may be the case, the author made it easy for me to learn everything I needed to learn about Maria van Harten to enjoy this book just like any standalone. With many delicious recipes in her arsenal, Tannie Maria is not your average solver of murder mysteries.
There were death threats, but Slimkat, a bushman, did not let the fear of death control him. Perhaps if he did, he would be alive and the master of sound relationship advice and food recipes Tannie Maria would not be haunted in her waking and sleeping hours by a kudu. Someone in the Klein Karoo leads a support group for people who suffer from PTSD and that person is known as the satanic mechanic. Tannie Maria joins the group.
Told in first person and set in a contemporary setting, this book takes readers on a mental jaunt to the Klein (an Afrikaans word meaning “little”) Karoo in South Africa. As it can be seen in more than one occasion, the author likes to write about the Klein Karoo sky, which one can expect to always have but a few clouds. The setting our protagonist navigates is one that is hot and filled with a variety of wildlife.
Tannie Maria is dating Detective Lieutenant Henk Kannemeyer. What this loving couple has in common with each other the most is that they both have lost spouses; however, while Tannie Maria has “killed” her abusive husband, Henk lost his wife to cancer. Henk doesn’t want to lose someone he loves like that ever again so he tries to keep Tannie Maria, who had been there when Slimkat died, out of the loop as much as he can.
There’s a particular type of sleuth fiction fan that will enjoy this book more than others. That type of sleuth fiction fan is the type that absolutely loves delicious eating. The reason for that is Tannie Maria’s almost constant mentioning of food and cake and just a whole bunch of delicious yumminess throughout the book. In a relationship advice column she writes for a local newspaper, she closes every bit of advice she gives with a different recipe.
Now, on the down side, should probably keep a snack handy while you’re reading this book so that you can find out who murdered that Slimkat fellow. I found it a bit weird that Jesse, the official investigative reporter that works for the same newspaper as Tannie Maria, would say the words “like this” over a phone call she makes to Tannie Maria. The person on the other end of the line can obviously not see that “like this”.
Sally Andrew explores the ways one’s life might actually be more neatly woven than the tangled mess one thinks it to be. There are some sexual scenes, but nothing too graphic. The violence that does happen isn’t gory and always happens when you least expect it. Thanks to the author, I had myself a delicious taste of the Klein Karoo. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy following murder investigators who are not actual detectives or private investigators.
Free paperback received from Penguin Random House SA.
Date Published: October 8, 2016