In Hummus and Homicide by Tina Kashian, Lucy Berberian has just returned to her hometown of Ocean Crest on the Jersey Shore after quitting her job as a patent lawyer in Philadelphia. Immediately, Lucy gets dragged into waitressing for the Kebab Kitchen, her parents’ Mediterranean restaurant. On her first day home, Lucy goes to a bar with her longtime best friend, Katie Watson, with whom she is staying while in town. At the bar, they encounter a former high school bully, Heather Banks, there with her boyfriend, the best selling thriller novelist Paul Evans. Heather throws insults at Lucy, creating a scene between the two women that comes back to cause trouble for Lucy and her family when Lucy discovers that Heather is the new health inspector who uses her position to settle vendettas and possibly get bribes.
Heather then shows up at the Kebab Kitchen after lunch and finds ridiculous and expensive things she expects the restaurant to fix within five days or be shut down. Lucy has learned that her parents are hoping to sell the restaurant because it is getting difficult to handle. If the Kebab Kitchen gets shut down, this could jeopardize the Berberians’ ability to sell it. As Lucy stresses over the inspection, she is astonished to see Heather walk in and announce she plans to eat dinner there. All she wants, however, is pita bread and the all-you-can-eat hummus bar. That night, Lucy goes to take out the trash, only to stumble over the body of Heather. The medical examiner thinks she died of cyanide. Worse, the detective on the case, a former high school boyfriend of Lucy’s sister, Emma, who holds a grudge against Emma for cheating on him, won’t look past Lucy as his only suspect. Thus, Lucy realizes she has to investigate the case herself to find the truth in order to clear her name and save the Kebab Kitchen.
I really enjoyed listening to Hummus and Homicide, with its unique twists and turns. We are kept wondering about the identity of the murderer, but even more how the cyanide got administered to Heather. The book is filled with the aromas and tastes of Mediterranean food and made me crave hummus and baklava and other Mediterranean food.
The characters are drawn very effectively, with the family’s having realistic family dynamics. The parents seem like traditional parents who try to map out their children’s lives. Their desire for Lucy to get married and give them more grandchildren came off as very typical of many parents.
Rachel Dulude performs the audio edition of this book. Using strong expression, Dulude does a good job of making this book enjoyable. The voices she uses for each character suit the characters well. I was pleased to notice that she made each one realistic without making the women’s voices high pitched or the men’s voices unnatural.
I thoroughly appreciated getting to listen to Hummus and Homicide. I liked the setting of the Mediterranean restaurant, a different take on the traditional culinary mystery, which usually seems to happen in a bakery. The characters especially made the book fun, in particular Lucy’s mother. This was a strong book all around, and I give it five stars!
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