• Arsenic and Adobo

  • A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Mia P. Manansala
  • Narrated by: Danice Cabanela
  • Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (647 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A RUSA Award-winning novel!

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes - one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block….

©2021 Mia P. Manansala (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

One of CrimeReads' "Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2021"! 

One of BookRiot's "Most Anticipated Books of 2021"! 

One of Bustle's "Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2021"! 

"Even though I tend to write dark, hardboiled stories in which people get hit in the face with tools, I love to read a well-written and quirky cozy mystery. Manansala has created just that with her debut novel, a tale full of eccentric characters, humorous situations and an oh-so-tricky mystery. Check this one out for the poetic prose and the mouth-watering recipes that are integral to the plot." (The Washington Post

“This book hits the exact right spot.... Mia P. Manansala manages to create a murder mystery where nothing is too horrifying and you know everything will be okay in the end. And because of that, you just get to go along for the ride of trying to figure out what really happened when Lila Macapagal’s ex-boyfriend Derek drops dead in front of her at her family’s restaurant. I’ve heard it described as a 'cozy mystery' and that’s exactly what it is, a perfectly cozy puzzle to solve. Also, it will make you very hungry for Filipino food - and then it delivers with recipes in the back!” (Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times best-selling author of Malibu Rising 

"This breeze-right-through-it mystery mystery follows baker Lila Macapagal as she investigates the murder of her ex-boyfriend, the town's too-mean food critic, after he dies over a meal in her aunt's flailing Filipino restaurant. Finding out whether or not Lila can solve the crime and save the restaurant is as satisfying as it is climactic with just the right amount of drama." (Bon Appetit)

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What listeners say about Arsenic and Adobo

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Please stop making Filipinos sound like characters in a JoKoy sketch

Please stop making Filipinos sound like characters in a JoKoy sketch. We don’t sound this way. I was so excited to order this book - murder mystery with a Filipino context? Yes! But why does every lola, aunt, lolo, tito need to sound like a caricature? Why do we racially box our own selves in?

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A Guilty Pleasure

My favorite thing about this book was the lesson in Filipino food and culture. I also enjoyed the fact that most of the characters are people of color. As a Native American/Mexican American myself, it's so nice to have a story that doesn't center around all white characters. You get some cultural insight without it being only about social plights. As for the story itself, it was a light, who done it, and more of a guilty pleasure than a brain twister. And in the end after hearing about all the great food, you are given recipes to try out.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting food.

The performance was good. I liked the characters but the whole thing left me wondering. I had a hard time listening to the whole thing. I found myself kind of speeding through the thing, sorry.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Phil-Am fun!

4.5 stars: This was a super fun beachy listen! It is amazing to feel represented in many ways in this book. I could almost smell the adobo alongside those ube cookies! The narrator was a good fit with a good Filipina accent, though most of the characters sounded the same. I would highly recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable and relatable

As a Filipino who loves cozy mysteries, Mia Macapagal's first novel did not disappoint. Pinoy pride, having a kababayan with a series in my favorite genre. The mystery, was good. The food and culture were on point. I also enjoyed the narrator- Danice Cabanela's performance especially of Tita Rosie, Lola Flor and the Calendar Crew. Reminds me of my relatives who have moved to the States.

4 people found this helpful

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This book made me hungry, & I loved the narration!

This was such a fun book. The plot moved along quickly and kept me engaged. There was so much talk of filipino food that it had me yelping the nearest filipino restaurant on several occasions. The narration in particular was really great. Her interpretation brought each of the characters to life and she also found the humor in the story. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, especially as a low-stress mystery to read in the midst of the pandemic.

4 people found this helpful

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So boring I forced myself to finish for book club

The characters were not interesting or believable. They were too selfish and me centered to be real, at least I hope they are not representative of this generation or we are doomed. Relationships revolves around what do I get out of this rather than give and take. Makes me think people who get married now should actually read the vows and think about what they mean, and don’t get married if you clearly don’t get them. The food references were simple and over done - boring!
Overall this book was more boring than this review.

2 people found this helpful

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Cheesy but cute enough to keep reading

This was definitely one of those stories that too many things went wrong and characters made silly decisions. The dialogue was pretty cheesy, but despite all of that I really did enjoy it. I think I recall the author prefacing that this is the tone of the book; I'm glad I went in prepared. It kind of felt like watching reality TV - you know you should probably be doing other things but you love it anyway and can't stop wont stop.

2 people found this helpful

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Humor in my culture

I was born into this culture and found the humor in how it was presented. The concept of food as a way of showing affection is spot on. A family-first approach to life is definitely part of who we are.

I enjoy cozy mysteries and thought the con was pretty obvious from the start. The murderer took a while to figure out, the clues were very vague. But the search for the culprit kept me engaged until the end.

An entertaining story overall!

1 person found this helpful

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I heard the voices of my family

This was a great listen! I enjoyed each minute and the story had a surprising twist I didn’t expect until closer to the end! The narrator was amazing at imitating the Titas and the accents were on point. To the person who reviewed this audible complaining about how over the top the accents were and compared them to Jokoy skits needs to relax. My family literally sounds like this. What was the narrator supposed to do? Sound monotonous? The accents added to the emotion most of us second generation Fil-Ams are familiar with which drew me in more to the story. Had I read this book myself, I probably would have done the accents in my head myself. Great read! Can’t wait for Homicide and Halo Halo!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Karina Dahl
  • Karina Dahl
  • 07-25-22

Cosy and comfortable…

if you can put those descriptions on a crime story. A bit too long and our main character a bit to self-centred

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Holly
  • Holly
  • 12-31-21

fun and light

lovely food descriptions. not much depth but a fast paced bit of drama. enjoyed it!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Mrs. B C Murrill
  • Mrs. B C Murrill
  • 06-19-21

Too much food

This was a good story although the plot had a few holes and the protagonist made trouble for herself by overreacting to authorities from the start. It was good to have a non white story but all that food!!! Nah... Good book for foodies who love cozy crime.