May 12, 2021

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo

by Mia P. Manansala

Published May 4, 2021
by Berkley

Rating: 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Genre: Mystery

This fast-paced debut cozy mystery will make you laugh, cringe, and salivate simultaneously. It was chosen as one of Library Reads top 10 books for May 2021.

About Arsenic and Adobo

Lila’s returned home to help with the family’s failing Filipino restaurant. Unfortunately, Shady Palms is a small town and she can’t escape her food blogger/restaurant reviewer ex who seems to have it out for the restaurant, consistently giving it bad reviews. Because that’s not stressful enough, the landlord who wants the restaurant off his property is her ex’s new stepdad. Yikes!

When the landlord and the ex come to eat lunch, Lila’s ire is up and she makes no bones about being angry with the ex constantly criticizing the restaurant in his reviews. And then he ends up facedown in his dessert. Dead from poisoning which makes her the prime suspect.

My thoughts about Arsenic and Adobo

This book was so much fun to read! Lila is likable and relatable – trying to figure out what she wants, feeling pressure to meet her family’s expectations. I loved her interactions with her extended Filipino family – grudges going back to grade school but knowing that they’d have her back when it mattered. The imperious gambling grandmother was terrifying and hysterical. I loved that the huge colorful cast of characters was diverse in all sorts of ways – ethnicity, religion, sexuality and even eating habits. The author did a great job of giving each character their own voice and quirks.

The food descriptions were amazing! Lila’s bestie works at a coffee shop and her drink concoctions sounded so good. The book includes recipes and chicken adobo is happening!

The mystery was well done – lots of layers and interlocking pieces, several suspects with believable motives. Plus there were hints of a love triangle – hopefully, that gets explored in future books.

In conclusion

Arsenic and Adobo is a fabulous culinary cozy debut! If you loved Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto, you’ll love Arsenic and Adobo.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for the ARC.


  • Book blogger and enthusiastic reader. Former bookstore owner. Current library marketer and podcaster. Books, cats, and coffee are a huge part of my life. And glitter. Always glitter.

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