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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!

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by Mia P. Manansala

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Quick take

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

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit


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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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Free sample

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

Chapter One

My name is Lila Macapagal and my life has become a rom-com cliché.

Not many romantic comedies feature an Asian-American lead (or dead bodies, but more on that later), but all the hallmarks are there.

Girl from an improbably named small town in the Midwest moves to the big city to make a name for herself and find love? Check.

Girl achieves these things only for the world to come crashing down when she walks in on her fiancé getting down and dirty with their next-door neighbors (yes, plural)? Double check.

Girl then moves back home in disgrace and finds work reinvigorating her aunt’s failing business? Well now we’re up to a hat trick of clichés.

And to put the cherry on top, in the trope of all tropes, I even reconnected with my high school sweetheart after moving back to town and discovered the true meaning of Christmas.

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Why I love it

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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Member ratings (29,904)

  • Melanie R.

    Laurys Station, PA

    Omg, such a fun read. The characters were so like-able, the plot was strong, and the killer was a huge surprise to me! It was also nice to have a happy ending. Love love loved this book! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5!

  • Amanda S.

    Cedar Grove, WI

    This one took me a little bit to get into, but ended up loving to plot line and all the family intricacies. Loved all the food talk and that recipes were included! Loved the story, well done⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Alisha F.

    Columbus, 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. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • alexi a.

    el paso, TX

    This was such a fun read! A great mystery mixed with the perfect amount of humor. I did guess the killer before it was revealed, but the author did a great job of keeping you guessing! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Heather I.

    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!

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