Hummus and Homicide
Book 1, A Kebab Kitchen Mystery
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
When Lucy Berberian quits her Philadelphia law firm and heads home to Ocean Crest, she knows what she’s getting—the scent of funnel cake, the sight of the wooden roller coaster, and the tastes of her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. But murder wasn’t on the menu . . .
Things are slow in the off-season in this Jersey Shore town, but Lucy doesn’t mind. She doesn’t even mind waitressing at the Kebab Kitchen. Her parents have put in a new hummus bar, with every flavor from lemon to roasted red pepper. It’s fun to see their calico cat again, and to catch up with her old BFF, who’s married to a cop now.
She could do without Heather Banks, though. The Gucci-toting ex-cheerleader is still as nasty as she was back in high school . . . and unfortunately, she’s just taken over as the local health inspector. Just minutes after eating at the Kebab Kitchen—where she’s tallied up a whole list of bogus violations—she falls down dead in the street. Word on the grapevine is it’s homicide, and Lucy’s the number one suspect . . .
The first A Kebab Kitchen Mystery
Hummus and Homicide by Tina Kashian is the first story in A Kebab Kitchen Mystery series. Lucy Berberian is returning home to Ocean Crest, New Jersey after quitting her job as a patent attorney in Philadelphia. Lucy’s parents own Kebab Kitchen and can certainly use her help in the restaurant since they are down a waitress. Lucy is happy to reconnect with her friend Katie Watson. Lucy is staying with Katie and her police officer husband, Bill while she is in town. Lucy is surprised to learn that her parents are contemplating selling the restaurant. They already have three potential buyers that include Lucy’s former boyfriend, Azad Zakarian. The one thing marring Lucy’s enjoyment at being home is Heather Banks. Heather was the mean cheerleader girl in high school, and now she is the new health inspector. She quickly learns that Heather has not changed one iota since high school. Heather comes to do an inspection of the premises before the restaurant can be listed for sale and, despite the cleanliness of the facility, she lists nitpicky (and bogus) violations. The next day Heather returns to eat from the new hummus bar (which she criticized the day before). After Heather departs, Lucy takes the trash outside and finds Heather dead in the back-parking lot. Detective Clemmons is assigned the case, but he holds a grudge against the Berberian family (thanks to Lucy’s sister). Raffi, Lucy’s father, wants her to investigate Heather’s death and find the culprit before their business is ruined. Lucy, with help from Katie, retraces Heather’s steps the day she was killed and delves into Heather’s life looking for suspects. Who disliked Heather enough to murder her? The bike shop owner, a restaurateur, the mob boss, the suspense author who was dating Heather, or the loan shark? Join Lucy in her investigation in Hummus and Homicide.
Hummus and Homicide is nicely written and has a steady pace. I like that the author sets the stage for the series by giving us Lucy’s background and introducing us to her family and friends. The mystery was interesting, but the killer can easily be discerned early in the book (one detail is the key). There are some interesting suspects that Lucy questions. I just wish that there had been more action. If Lucy is going to continue to be a sleuth, she needs to work on her questioning technique. Her queries sounded more like accusations. Lucy also has a temper (triggers easily) and loose lips. You can tell that Tina Kashian (aka Tina Gabrielle) has written romance novels. We have Lucy’s ogling her romantic interests. She admires the attractive and handsome Azad (many times) and appreciates Michael Citteroni’s physique. The family kept pushing Lucy and Azad together trying to rekindle their romance. I prefer romances that progress slowly over the course of a series and for it not to overshadow the mystery element. As usual, there was repetitive information (Cooking Kurt’s show was mentioned five times for example). Hummus and Homicide was a typical cozy mystery where the main character returns home, someone dies, she investigates and solves the crime, there are love interests, potential sidekick, the amateur detective is inept in her questioning, and the main character realizes she likes being home and is going to stay. There are some nice cozy moments in the book. You can tell that Lucy’s family loves her and the mother is especially happy that her daughter has returned to Ocean Crest. My rating for Hummus and Homicide is 3 out of 5 stars. I will check out Stabbed in the Baklava when it releases in August. Hummus and Homicide is just the first book in the series, and I hope Tina Kashian ups her game in the next book in A Kebab Kitchen Mystery series. There are recipes (hummus) at the end of Hummus and Homicide.