Murder from Scratch

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, e...

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Title:Murder from Scratch
Author:Leslie Karst
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Murder from Scratch Reviews

  • Betty

    Although this the fourth book of the Sally Solari series, it is the first one I have read and a new author for me. I was pleasantly surprised as it held my attention until I finished, many books about do I will read this author again and look for the earlier books.

    Sally takes an estranged blind cousin, Evelyn. Her Mother had just passed due to an overdose of drugs. away and Evelyn was alone. She is 20 years and had a good education. It was fantastic reading about how Evelyn was able to live her

    Although this the fourth book of the Sally Solari series, it is the first one I have read and a new author for me. I was pleasantly surprised as it held my attention until I finished, many books about do I will read this author again and look for the earlier books.

    Sally takes an estranged blind cousin, Evelyn. Her Mother had just passed due to an overdose of drugs. away and Evelyn was alone. She is 20 years and had a good education. It was fantastic reading about how Evelyn was able to live her life with the minimum of help The police feel the death was suicide and are ready to close the case. Evelyn feels her Mother would not have committed suicide and Sally agrees with her. Sally begins to explore what happened and finds a number of co-workers that had a motive for wanting dead. The ending will please you. I highly recommend this book.

    Recipes are included.

    Disclosure: Thanks to Crooked Lane Books for a copy through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.

  • Bridget

    MURDER FROM SCRATCH is book four in the series of the Sally Solari Mysteries of which I look forward to reading more. It’s a delicious mixture of mystery, family, and irate chefs and a fun, fast and interesting read. I haven’t read the other books in this series yet, however, I don’t think that this spoilt my enjoyment of this novel. That said, there is nothing more exciting than picking up a book that is the first in a new series.

    Santa Cruz restaurateur Sally Solari’s life is difficult enough a

    MURDER FROM SCRATCH is book four in the series of the Sally Solari Mysteries of which I look forward to reading more. It’s a delicious mixture of mystery, family, and irate chefs and a fun, fast and interesting read. I haven’t read the other books in this series yet, however, I don’t think that this spoilt my enjoyment of this novel. That said, there is nothing more exciting than picking up a book that is the first in a new series.

    Santa Cruz restaurateur Sally Solari’s life is difficult enough at the busy Gauguin restaurant. So she’s worked up 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 mum, 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 mum 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’ turn detective and Sally and Evelyn are thrown into the world of male-oriented kitchens, and the cut-throat competitiveness that can flame up between chefs. With a long list of suspects in the frame, will Sally be able to find the perpetrator or end up getting burned?

    Leslie Karst’s delightful writing style is well-paced and complemented by some interesting characters, some of whom were annoying but helped to make the story as good as it was. There was some romantic and spicy love entanglement, too. Written in the first-person narrative and sharing Sally’s innermost thoughts, Leslie Karst includes some wonderfully amusing moments and vivid descriptions especially of some of the food, such as fall-off-the-bone pulled pork and salmon with habanero-lime butter. An ex-lawyer, the highly organised and extremely likeable Sally demonstrated admirable sleuthing techniques and her cousin Evelyn, although with her own problems, exuded warmth and friendliness.

    The book had a natural, steady pace and I was kept guessing right until the surprising reveal. Delightful and entertaining, MURDER FROM SCRATCH is a quick, light, highly recommended read for all cozy mystery fans.

    {Thank you to #NetGalley, #Crookedlanebks and Leslie Karst for the free copy of #MurderFromScratch and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}

  • Tari

    Sally found herself playing host to her blind cousin Evelyn after Evelyn had come home to find her mother's dead body. After poking around the house a little and hearing about how a suicide note was worded, Evelyn was completely sure her mom hadn't committed suicide, and she wanted Sally to help her prove it. This was an exciting case that had several good suspects, red herrings along the way, and just when I thought we were being double-red herringed into thinking it was one person, I was still

    Sally found herself playing host to her blind cousin Evelyn after Evelyn had come home to find her mother's dead body. After poking around the house a little and hearing about how a suicide note was worded, Evelyn was completely sure her mom hadn't committed suicide, and she wanted Sally to help her prove it. This was an exciting case that had several good suspects, red herrings along the way, and just when I thought we were being double-red herringed into thinking it was one person, I was still wrong, but it was a fun ride. The showdown was great and Sally really kept her brains about her and made some pretty smart moves and observations, one of which involved a fork in the perp's face.

    During the case, Sally and Det. Vargas started being on a first-name basis, so maybe we'll get to see them go a on a few dates eventually. He seemed to appreciate her and Evelyn's help in this investigation. Sally's dad even found a lady to date. It'll be interesting to see what happens next. I really enjoyed the character of Evelyn! She was a strong young woman and an amazing cook, which told Sally from the get-go that they'd get along famously when her dad asked her to take Evelyn in for a few weeks. It's always a fun trip to Santa Cruz!

    I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

  • Shalini

    This was the first cozy mystery that I genuinely liked. There was solid sleuthing shown which warmed my thriller loving heart. My first book by author Leslie Karst, though this was the fourth in the series, it was quite fun to follow Sally as she put on her thinking cap to find out who murdered her blind cousin Evelyn's mom.

    I loved the way the author had characterised Sally. She was a line cook in her own restaurant. She managed her work, her hobbies, her friends quite comfortably. This book dea

    This was the first cozy mystery that I genuinely liked. There was solid sleuthing shown which warmed my thriller loving heart. My first book by author Leslie Karst, though this was the fourth in the series, it was quite fun to follow Sally as she put on her thinking cap to find out who murdered her blind cousin Evelyn's mom.

    I loved the way the author had characterised Sally. She was a line cook in her own restaurant. She managed her work, her hobbies, her friends quite comfortably. This book dealt with the cut throat restaurant business where making money seemed extremely difficult. It was quite enlightening. Evelyn too had a great part in the book, she was shown to be quite an enterprising strong woman, who had heightened senses.

    My niggles would be there are certain lines which indicated the past few books, which I had no idea about. Hence I couldn't get a feel of their backstories. But that didn't affect my reading as Sally kept her personal life quite separate from her investigation. Another point which made me smile, having not read the complete title, I came to know the main character's name in chapter 9 when someone addresses her.

    Overall, though a bit slow from my other books, but the good murder mystery more than made up for it. I quite enjoyed the interplay of familial relationships shown too.

  • Ellen Byron

    I loved this book! It's a great mystery read. Sally is a wonderful protagonist. I feel like I'm there with her. And now I want to visit Santa cruz!

  • Jammin Jenny

    I really enjoyed this cozy mystery book set in Santa Cruz California. In the story, Sally Solari's relative is found dead by her daughter Evelyn. The police think it's a suicide at first, but Evelyn is sure it was murder. Sally and Evelyn do some sleuthing to find the murderer, and Sally ends up in a very precarious situation. Sally is a really likable MC and I enjoyed her frustrations with her love life. Her restaurant Gauguin is also really cool. And I loved her reaction to her dad dating agai

    I really enjoyed this cozy mystery book set in Santa Cruz California. In the story, Sally Solari's relative is found dead by her daughter Evelyn. The police think it's a suicide at first, but Evelyn is sure it was murder. Sally and Evelyn do some sleuthing to find the murderer, and Sally ends up in a very precarious situation. Sally is a really likable MC and I enjoyed her frustrations with her love life. Her restaurant Gauguin is also really cool. And I loved her reaction to her dad dating again.

  • Mark Baker

    Sally Solari gets the news from her father that her distant cousin Jackie has died of a drug overdose. While Sally is sad, she and Jackie weren’t close – in fact, they hadn’t spoken in years and she hadn’t met Evelyn, Jackie’s twenty-year-old daughter, who happens to be blind. Evelyn was still living with her mom, and she can’t face trying to live in the house alone right away, so she winds up moving into Sally’s spare room for a little while. The two women hit it off, and are soon plotting home

    Sally Solari gets the news from her father that her distant cousin Jackie has died of a drug overdose. While Sally is sad, she and Jackie weren’t close – in fact, they hadn’t spoken in years and she hadn’t met Evelyn, Jackie’s twenty-year-old daughter, who happens to be blind. Evelyn was still living with her mom, and she can’t face trying to live in the house alone right away, so she winds up moving into Sally’s spare room for a little while. The two women hit it off, and are soon plotting home cooked meals and plans for Evelyn’s twenty-first birthday.

    A stop by Evelyn’s house to pick up a few things she needs bring some surprises to light. Things are out of place. Since Evelyn is blind, she and her mother kept everything in the same spot so that Evelyn could always find what she is looking for without needing help. Evelyn suspects this means someone else was in the house when her mom died. The police have ruled it a suicide by drug overdose, but is Evelyn right? If so, can Sally see the clues to find the killer?

    There is a solid mystery here with several viable suspects. I did feel the pacing was a bit off, but I loved how Sally pieced things together and how the climax played out. Sally’s group of family and friends is wonderful, and a couple of sub plots allow us to see more of them. The book is set in the beginning of December; while it doesn’t have a lot of Christmas spirit, there is some, and it adds a fun touch to the book. The standout character here is Evelyn. Through her, we get a look at modern life for a person who is blind, and I found that fascinating. We get five recipes at the end, and they sound delicious if a bit ambitious for this lazy bachelor to attempt to make. (Not that I ever make any of the recipes in the culinary cozies I read.)

    NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

    Read my full review at

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  • Sue Em

    ••• 4 and 1/2 stars ••• At Gauguin, the restaurant left to her by her aunt, things are going well for Sally, so we'll that she is taking her chef, Javier, on as a full partner. But her father lets her know that a cousin has passed away, either suicide or perhaps something more sinister. Evelyn, her cousin's blind daughter, comes to stay with Sally for a few days and the more they learn, the more it looks like murder. As they look into it, the number of suspects behind to narrow down. Hopefully t

    ••• 4 and 1/2 stars ••• At Gauguin, the restaurant left to her by her aunt, things are going well for Sally, so we'll that she is taking her chef, Javier, on as a full partner. But her father lets her know that a cousin has passed away, either suicide or perhaps something more sinister. Evelyn, her cousin's blind daughter, comes to stay with Sally for a few days and the more they learn, the more it looks like murder. As they look into it, the number of suspects behind to narrow down. Hopefully they can it out before the murderer strikes again. Quite a treat! Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jypsy

    A fun cozy mystery for a relaxing afternoon read. It's what you would expect, but the story is still great.

  • Gail C.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing an advance digital copy of MURDER FROM SCRATCH by Leslie Karst in exchange for an unbiased review. This is the fourth book, my first read, in the Sally Scolari series. The mystery stands alone and is fully contained within this novel. There are some secondary relationships that appear to carry over from one book to the next, however it is not necessary to have read the earlier books to get a sense of how the relationship stands at present

    Thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing an advance digital copy of MURDER FROM SCRATCH by Leslie Karst in exchange for an unbiased review. This is the fourth book, my first read, in the Sally Scolari series. The mystery stands alone and is fully contained within this novel. There are some secondary relationships that appear to carry over from one book to the next, however it is not necessary to have read the earlier books to get a sense of how the relationship stands at present.

    In this novel, Ms. Karst has created the character of Evelyn, a blind young woman. It was refreshing to have a person with a disability portrayed accurately and without either special “superhuman” traits or almost insurmountable problems. In this book, Evelyn, the daughter of the murder victim, is a welcome addition in providing a reason for Sally to try to solve the murder. She also provides some well-researched, accurate information for how a blind individual functions in a sighted world. I particularly appreciated that, for Evelyn, her blindness was just a part of who she was in a way similar to the reality that we all have individual challenges and strengths. Not to trivialize blindness, it does present unique problems to overcome. However, in this novel, Evelyn does so with a calm, attitude that indicates it’s just part of who she is, not something that needs to be singled out above the rest of what makes her who she is.

    The book is well plotted, although I found it easy to solve the mystery and found myself wondering why it took Sally so long to discover the murderer and the motive. One of the drawbacks was that instead of detective work that led up to the possibility of several individuals being guilty, Sally would focus on one suspect above the other, decide they were guilty, then discover her error because of an alibi, etc. The result was that one by one suspects were eliminated rather than maintaining the possibility of their guilt for the final denouement

    In this novel, Evelyn’s mother is found dead of an overdose in the living room of the house she shares with Evelyn. The police think it’s suicide, pointing to a letter from her mother to Evelyn that says she is sorry. As Evelyn points out, the note is directed to “Evelyn” but her mother never called her that, preferring to call her a diminutive, such as “Evie”. She and Sally are convinced that it is murder and Sally sets out to solve it with little or no help from the police, although she is friends with the detective in charge of the case.

    There are some interesting characters I would like to see further developed, such as Javier, the chef and co-owner of Sally’s restaurant, Detective Vargas, Sally’s father and her nonna, Eric and even Sally herself. As they are written here, they are not deep enough to fully engage me as a reader, leaving the impression that this is a series that is good in concept with some good plotting and a need to develop a bit more depth.

    There are some interesting recipes included at the end of the book. Someone who is looking for a strong culinary hook in their cozy mysteries might find this enough reason to read this series. If you are looking for a strong mystery that contains some tension, even if it is within the typical confines of the cozy genre, this book has potential, but may come up slightly short of the mark.

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