There's a new book out that is sure to be a hit with armchair travelers and Kerry Hammond is here with a review. Check out our Q&A with the South African-based author, Sally Andrews - there are cool photos from Africa too.
The Satanic Mechanic by Sally Andrew released on March 28 in Trade Paperback by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. This is the second book in the Tannie Maria Mystery series. There were two reasons I was drawn to this book. The first was the locale, set in South Africa it promised to offer an exotic getaway that I could experience from the comfort of my couch. The second thing that drew me was the title. I am a Rocky Horror Picture Show fan and I just had to read a book that reminded me of my favorite song from the movie.
Our main character is Tannie Maria, a lover of food who writes a column for the Klein Karoo Gazette in rural South Africa. Tannie Maria answers letters from the lovelorn and offers them not only advice, but recipes that will cure their woes. Her own love life is moving along with police detective Henk Kannemeyer, but Tannie Maria is finding it hard to take their relationship to the next level because of her memories of a past abusive husband.
To work through her anxiety, she seeks the help of a support group run by a man known as the Satanic Mechanic. At the same time, Tannie Maria finds herself mixed up in a murder investigation when a man is poisoned at a festival and she is one of the people present when he dies. She feels obligated to help find the perpetrator, but Henk wants her to stay away from any possible danger.
This book was like nothing I’ve ever read before and I absolutely loved it. The characters are wonderful and I fell in love with Tannie Maria from the first page. She is a kind, caring, lovable woman, who uses food to feel better when she’s troubled (I can relate). The author’s use of the local customs and language throughout the book was extremely interesting, and she paints such a beautiful picture of the countryside.
If you are looking for a series with a lovable amateur sleuth and a puzzling mystery without a lot of blood and gore, this is the series for you. Tannie Maria offers recipes to her readers at the Gazette and often cooks for her friends. The author includes several recipes at the end of the story so the readers can try their hand at the exotic dishes mentioned in the book. Now that’s just icing on the cake.