Murder with Macaroni and Cheese by A.L. Herbert is the second book in the “Mahalia Watkins” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, August 2016

Murder with Macaroni and CheeseMahalia’s Sweet Tea is known for serving the best soul food in Prince George’s County, Maryland. But owner Halia also likes to indulge in some à la carte detective work. Can she solve the murder of a former “mean girl” when a high school reunion takes a deadly turn?

When the organizing committee for her upcoming high school reunion desperately needs a caterer, Halia agrees to help out. Soon she’s serving up her signature macaroni and cheese and famous chicken wings to a host of appreciative ex-classmates. Some folks have blossomed since graduation. Others, like manipulative Raynell Rollins, currently married to a former football star, haven’t changed nearly enough.

When Raynell is found dead the morning after the reunion, the roll call of possible suspects could fill the school gymnasium. Extra-marital affairs, mega-church scandals and sports secrets. . .Raynell had her perfectly manicured hand in a lot of sticky situations. With her cousin Wavonne’s bungling assistance—and a helping of unwelcome dating advice from her mother, Celia—Halia is on course to track down the killer, before she becomes the alumna most likely to meet an untimely end. . .

Features delicious recipes from Mahalia’s Sweet Tea, including Double Crust Chicken Pot Pie and Chocolate Marshmallow Cake!

This was a fun read that started off with the Halia catering her high school reunion at the request of a classmate who was the high school bully. All the hurt that she hoisted on her classmates stirs up memories and when she accidentally dies from a drunken fall, Haila begins to suspect that there’s more to this accident than what the police thinks and thus begins this amusingly entertaining whodunit that embraces down-home southern colloquialisms, as spoken by cousin Wavonne who is a hoot for all that is worthy of her.

I like how this was set-up with the author taking the time to introduce us to the players involved in this particular story-line and I knew who was going to die, but what the author did was prolong the inevitable and that propelled me to keep reading as I had to know how Halia was going to solve this when the police thought otherwise and what a fun journey it was with a few surprises thrown in to keep me on my toes. Halia is a great character and I would like to see her have more of a social life but it’s Wavonne who provides the comic relief that had me laughing out loud at her antics. This is an enjoyable and delectable read that includes scrumptious recipes that are interspersed within the narrative.

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