Death Comes in Through the Kitchen by Teresa DovalpageDeath Comes in Through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage
Narrator: Cynthia Farrell
Series: Havana Mystery #1
Published by Recorded Books on March 20, 2018
Source: Audible Plus
Genres: Mystery
Length: 11 hrs 14 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Set in Havana during the Black Spring of 2003, a charming but poison-laced culinary mystery reveals the darker side of the modern Revolution, complete with authentic Cuban recipes

Havana, Cuba, 2003: Matt, a San Diego journalist, arrives in Havana to marry his girlfriend, Yarmila, a 24-year-old Cuban woman whom he first met through her food blog. But Yarmi isn’t there to meet him at the airport, and when he hitches a ride to her apartment, he finds her lying dead in the bathtub.

Lovelorn Matt is immediately embroiled in a Cuban adventure he didn’t bargain for: the police and secret service have him down as their main suspect, and in an effort to clear his name, he must embark on his own investigation into what happened to Yarmila. The more Matt learns about his erstwhile fiancée, though, the more he realizes he had no idea who she was at all—but did anyone?

I was looking for a book set in Cuba when I ran across Death Comes in Through the Kitchen. It sounded like one I would enjoy – an interesting setting, an interesting main character, and Cuban food. I ended up being disappointed.

Matt arrives in Havana to meet his Cuban fiancée, Yarmila, hopefully get married and persuade her to return with him to the States. Things go down hill immediately when he finds Yarmila dead in her apartment He becomes a suspect in her murder and the authorities believe he may be an American spy.

We see most of the story from Matt’s viewpint.. He’s pretty clueless really, about Yarmila’s death, but also about life in Cuba. We also get to see the case, and Cuba, from Detective Martinez’s point of view. She’s in charge of the official investigation, but she’s not getting much cooperation from the other people involved. And finally, we have El Padrino, a former police officer turned private detective/ Santeria priest who is hired to help find the killer.

The problem is no one is likable. Matt is judgmental and naive. He met Yarmila through her blog and really knows nothing about her. Yarmila wasn’t who she appeared to be. Martinez and El Padrino are okay, but we don’t get to spend enough time with them. Most of the Cubans are portrayed in negative lights.

This just wasn’t a good read for me. I’ll grant you that I did learn a little about Cuba during that time, but book itself was blah and some parts just struck me as odd.

About Teresa Dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage is a Cuban writer. She was born in Havana but left in 1996 for the United States. She obtained her doctorate in Latin American literature from the University of New Mexico.

She has published thirteen novels. Her third novel Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006) was runner-up for the Premio Herralde. Her next novel El difunto Fidel (The Late Fidel) won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009. She has also published several plays and short story collections.

Dovalpage lives in Taos, New Mexico and teaches at UNM Taos.

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