If you are a “Tannie Maria Mysteries” fan, you have probably been counting down with me to the launch of “The Milk Tart Murders”! Yes, our favourite Tannie is back! And I must also admit, although Maria is a “Tannie” (Auntie, Aunt), I am one as well, so she is my soul sister in more ways that what I have time to get into right now.
If you have not read any of the previous books in this delicious local series (in order of release: Recipes for Love and Murder, The Satanic Mechanic, and Death on the Limpopo), I would actually recommend that you get started as soon as possible. The backstories, history and quirks of the main characters have been developed over a period of time, so personally I don’t think that this book will make sense as a standalone read for those not familiar with Sally Andrew’s close-knit Karoo community.
Reading the first couple of pages of “The Milk Tart Murders” was like a homecoming. Tannie Maria’s chickens, Henk’s chestnut moustache, Jessie’s scooter – all familiar, warm and welcoming. And almost in true ‘Murder, she wrote’ style, we very quickly are confronted with a suspicious murder and story takes off from there. Twists, turns, suspicions, ‘journalistic investigations’, agony aunt recipes – all falls into place, as expected. In a crazy world, Tannie Maria is the coziness you need right now. Old favourites return, and we meet a couple of new role players (I must mention a goat called Mildred) as well. As South African as you can get – with old-school linguistic gems like ‘ronts’ and ‘photostats’ scattered in-between, I loved every minute. This was one of those rare ‘stay up after midnight’ reads for me, because I just had to finish that elusive ‘one more chapter’.
As the previous books, it is a comfortable and easy read – with short chapters and quoteworthy exchanges – and as always, a whole batch of Tannie Maria’s recipes that I will definitely try out soon. No spoilers here, just a highly recommended and feel-good read! 5/5 for me!
Published – March 2022 by UMUZI, imprint of Penguin Books. Available at all major book retailers.
A special thanks to Penguin Books SA for the review copy, in exchange for a honest review