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Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Mia P. Manansala, on your first book!
Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Mia P. Manansala

Quick take

That awkward moment when your ex-boyfriend gets poisoned in your restaurant and everyone thinks you did it.

Good to know

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit


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Why I love it

Gigi Pandian
Author, The Alchemist's Illusion

I adore the cozier side of mystery fiction. I seek out that sweet spot where you can be completely swept up in a book, but also know that the story won’t take too dark a turn. I want a terrific mystery with characters I enjoy spending time with and a happy ending. When there’s a multicultural cast and good food thrown into the mix, even better. So I was thrilled to get an early look at Mia P. Manansala’s debut, Arsenic and Adobo, a stand-out cozy mystery full of heart, the importance of home, and tons of good food.

To get over a horrendously bad breakup, Lila Macapagal has moved home to help her family’s struggling restaurant. Unfortunately, when her loathsome food critic ex-boyfriend drops dead while eating there, things go from bad to worse, and Lila and her family are implicated. To save herself and the restaurant, Lila takes it upon herself to discover who the true killer really is.

I wish I could transport myself to Shady Palms to hang out with heroine Lila and her amazing friends—not to mention eat the Filipino-inspired cooking. (Luckily Manansala shares recipes with readers. YUM.) If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted and laugh-out-loud mystery romp, hanging out with a fun cast of characters, and drooling over the delectable food from Tita Rosie’s Kitchen, be sure to pick up Arsenic and Adobo. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

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When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

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Get an early look from the first pages of Arsenic and Adobo.

Member thoughts

All (23879)
All (23879)
Love (8350)
Like (12813)
Dislike (2716)
24130 ratings
  • 35% Love
  • 53% Like
  • 11% Dislike
  • Hilliard, OH

    Even though this story starts off with a murder - it’s light hearted, fast paced, and such a fun read. I loved the different cultures, cuisines, and characters woven throughout the book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Lombard, IL

    Though I’m not typically a cozy reader, I couldn’t resist this book! Loved the characters, the setting, the story. Centered on a Chicagoland Filipino family, filled food references—what’s not to love!

  • New Haven, KY

    Loved it was a light hearted whodunnit! Relationships within the family are reminiscent of mine. Many interactions made me smile because I connected with the love and support they had for each other❤️

  • Janesville, WI

    I couldn’t put it down! I loved that the characters were diverse and the story was easy to follow without overwhelming details, but was still a surprise until 2/3rds through! Can’t wist for the next!

  • Winterville , GA

    Cute book. The writing isn’t beautiful, it’s no literary masterpiece, but it is the perfect cozy mystery. Prepare for mouthwatering descriptions of Filipino food from the sarcastic protagonist, Lila!

  • Wales, ME

    I was sick with a stomach flu when I started this. Kind of glad because I couldn’t put it down and I would have missed it if I had to work. The ending wasn’t predictable at all! Well written and fun!

  • Memphis, TN

    Super fun book! Loved how much it revolves around food and the mystery itself was super fun to guess along the way. The recipes in the back were also a nice touch (though I think I’m missing a page?¿)

  • Newtown, PA

    This was a fun read with great characters in a small town with lots of really good food! It was an interesting mystery and I loved the extended family culture. Cool that recipes were in the back! 4⭐️

  • Lorena, TX

    Murder, mystery, food, and even a little flirting— this book had all of my favorite things! Loved the characters, loved the author’s style. I’ll definitely be hoping for more from this author soon!

  • DeRidder, LA

    This cozy mystery was enjoyable because it didn’t have all of the usual tropes you see in cozies. Super refreshing! I also learned a lot about a culture that isn’t my own. I loved that about this!

  • Austin, TX

    This is hands down the best book I’ve ever gotten from BOTM. I love cozy mysteries, but a lot of them are marred with cliches.This book feels fresh and I love getting to read about another culture too

  • Reno, NV

    I love a good mystery and the ending wasn’t at all obvious! The food was described so well, it actually made me hungry… wish the characters were described more but I can’t wait for the next book!

  • Raleigh, NC

    I needed a light read and this book fell into my hands at the right time. I never realized I could be hungry while figuring out a mystery. And for once, I didn’t figure it out until the end! Loved it!

  • Chicago, IL

    Such a cute and fun book. There wasn’t much mystery to the story, it was pretty obvious who the main suspects were but loved the Filipino culture and food references. It had a new Chicago restaurant.

  • Millersville , PA

    OMG! This was sooo good. THE PLOT TWIST, the cultural references, so much diversity. Would have loved to know who Lila ends up with love interest wise but that’s the romantic in me. READ IT. DO IT NOW

  • Rochester , MN

    I thought I had it at page 20 but it turned out that Manansala had me! Didn’t end up putting it down - fun twists and turns but with enough love, light, and heavy food! I’m left definitely well fed!

  • Greenville, PA

    This book was a great book. I couldn’t put it down! I read it in 2 days and then i was bummed that it was over. Honestly in my opinion the cover art was refection of the main character and the humor.

  • Wood-Ridge, NJ

    AMAZING! The perfect mystery. I never saw the end coming. What made me love it even more was the blend of culture and family intricately woven within the story. I absolutely need to read more of Mia’s

  • Carson, CA

    A super fun cozy mystery that left me hungry not only for food, but for clues to solve the murder. I loved all of the food representation and seeing allergies represented. Can’t wait for the next one!

  • Austin, TX

    It was hard to put this book down! Not all of the loose ends were tied up but I didn’t mind since this is going to be a series. But the various cultures, quick pace, and lovable characters were great

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