Friday 19 April 2024


Book review: Death In Nonna's Kitchen by Alex Coombs [blog tour]

As an avid lover of whodunnits, I was thrilled to be introduced to Alex Coombs' Old Forge Café Mysteries last year. The first book in the series – Murder on the Menu – was a delight for both crime lovers and foodies alike as it encompasses the perfect blend of gripping mystery and scrumptious cooking desciptions. In the second novel, there's a little less recipe testing but a whole lot more murder....

About Death In Nonna's Kitchen

After the events of the first book, chef Charlie Hunter is locally known for solving the murder that happened in Hamden Green last year. So when celebrity chef Matteo McCleish – who makes an appearance in the area to work on the exclusive food that will be served as part of the upcoming opera festival – is being blackmailed, he turns to Charlie for help. 

He hires her to become part of his team, so she can investigate from the inside and figure out who isn't to be trusted. But Charlie quickly realises there's more at stake than Matteo's reputation if the truth were to come out. People's lives are at risk, and every single one of the knife-wielding chefs in the kitchen could be in on it...

My review

I've quickly become a big fan of chef Charlie and the quirky cast of Hamden Green villagers. This time around we already know the main characters – such as the local Earl, medium Anna Bruce, and Charlie's feisty employee Jess – so we have an opportunity to delve a little bit deeper into their lives, which is always a great thing about an ongoing series. 

Although we didn't quite get enough from our favourite bus boy Francis, as Charlie is spending most of her working hours in Matteo's kitchen, rather than her own. So I do hope he gets a chance to shine again in the next instalment. (He did have one wonderful moment where he, once again, came to the rescue in the most epic way.) 

Matteo and his crew were a great addition to the mix, keeping things interesting and unexpected. They were the unknowns and the immediate suspects when things went awry, keeping both the established characters and the readers on their toes. Like Charlie, I was enamoured by Murdo and I really liked Octavia too as the story progressed, but the others were all potential blackmailers in my eyes.

And, I'll be honest, while I had a "feeling" about a bad egg early on, I did completely get the wool pulled over my eyes with the red herrings, meaning that the explosive revelation came as a complete surprise. Personally, this is my favourite way to enjoy a murder mystery, feeling slightly smug that I figured something out early on, but also being on the edge of my seat throughout as the plot takes me into wrong directions along the way.  

Author Alex Coombs has really figured out a great recipe for a delectable whodunnit with his Old Forge Café Mysteries series. His in-depth knowledge about food and the inner workings of a commercial kitchen blends wonderfully with the absolute madness of the murder rampage. Add to that some hilarious side plots to ensure the story can never quite be taken seriously (one word: Sandra) – and you've got a highly entertaining page-turner. 

Death In Nonna's Kitchen by Alex Coombs is published by No Exit Press and you can now buy your copy from your favourite local book shop!

Blog tour stops for Death In Nonna's Kitchen by Alex Coombs

This review for Death in Nonna's Kitchen is part of the blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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