Arsenic And Adobo By Mia P. Manansala: Book's Review & Summary

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala | Best New Mystery and Thriller

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala | Best New Mystery and Thriller

Mia P. Manansala’s debut mystery novel, Arsenic and Adobo, has quickly become a fan favorite for those looking for a thrilling, engaging read. The protagonist, Lila Macapagal, is a food blogger who moves back to her hometown in order to help her grandmother save their family restaurant. However, things take a dark turn when one of the restaurant’s customers is poisoned and dies. Lila must use her sleuthing skills to clear her family’s name and catch the killer before it’s too late.

Manansala’s writing style is fast-paced and engaging, with enough twists and turns to keep readers on the edge of their seats. She expertly weaves together elements of mystery, food, and family drama to create a story that is both alluring and suspenseful.

Main Themes and Ideas

Arsenic and Adobo deals with a number of themes and ideas that are relevant to readers today. One of the main themes is the importance of family heritage and tradition. Lila’s family restaurant, for example, is an important part of her family’s legacy, and they will do anything to protect it.

The book also explores the theme of identity, particularly for those who are part of the Filipino diaspora. Lila struggles to reconcile her American identity with her Filipino heritage, and this struggle is reflected in her relationships with those around her.

Critical Evaluation of Writing Style

Manansala’s writing style is impressive and effective, especially given that this is her debut novel. She has a way of building suspense and keeping readers engaged without giving too much away too soon.

Additionally, Manansala’s use of food as a central motif is a unique and refreshing take on the mystery genre. Lila’s recipes and descriptions of various dishes add an extra layer of depth to the story and make it stand out from other mysteries in the genre.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The book’s main strength is its ability to engage readers and keep them hooked until the very end. The characters are relatable and likable, and the story is both suspenseful and heartwarming.

One of the minor weaknesses of the book is its reliance on some common mystery tropes. The “small town with dark secrets” setting, for example, has been used in many other mystery novels.

Comparison to Other Works in the Genre

Arsenic and Adobo stands out in the mystery genre for its focus on food and family, which sets it apart from other novels in the genre. However, it can be compared to other cozy mystery novels, such as Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen series or Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mysteries.

Overall Impression and Recommendation

Overall, Arsenic and Adobo is an entertaining and engaging read that is sure to please fans of the mystery and cozy mystery genres. Manansala’s writing style is impressive and effective, and the story is suspenseful, heartwarming, and filled with memorable characters. This novel is highly recommended for anyone looking for a fun and exciting read.


Q: Is this book suitable for young adult readers?

A: Arsenic and Adobo is recommended for readers over the age of 18 due to some mature themes and language.

Q: Are there any potential triggers in this book?

A: The book deals with themes of death and murder, but there are no graphic descriptions of violence or gore.

Q: Is this the first book in a series?

A: Yes, Arsenic and Adobo is the first book in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series.

Q: Where can I purchase this book?

A: The book is available for purchase on a variety of online retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. It may also be available at your local bookstore.

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