Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Satanic Mechanic by Sally Andrew

First Line: Have you ever wanted something really badly?

Although Tannie Maria is still busy with her recipe and advice column for the local paper, she can't help being concerned when Slimkat the bushman's life is threatened. She takes these threats seriously and is determined to find out who wants to kill him. Problem is, the man in her life wants to keep her safe and could very well be keeping secret some of the answers she needs to find.

It would be nice if those things were the only items on Tannie Maria's to-do list, but... she has personal mysteries that need to be solved, too.

Reading Sally Andrew's first Tannie Maria mystery, Recipes for Love and Murder, last May was one of the best things I've done all year. Once introduced to this wonderful South African landscape, its culture, and the characters, I snapped up the second book as soon as it was available. I didn't want to read The Satanic Mechanic too soon, I really didn't... but I simply could not deny myself.

The country of South Africa is a character in this book. Andrew's descriptions of the landscape and wildlife are absolutely marvelous and immediately immersed me in the story. Tannie Maria is the type of character who notices changes in the weather and countryside, and how animals are behaving-- and these observations, to varying degrees, usually have some sort of impact on the narrative.

To Tannie Maria, cooking equals love. She is falling in love with Detective Lieutenant Henk Kannemeyer and this means that her cooking skills are going into overdrive. However, all is not sunshine and flowers in this budding relationship. Maria has demons from her past that must be laid to rest, and to do this she joins an open-air Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder group. Attending the meetings introduces her to the threatened Slimkat.

What subsequently happens to Slimkat is almost incidental until things start happening in the group sessions. In this second book in Sally Andrew's series, the mystery is secondary to her characters, all that delicious food, and the vibrant South African surroundings, but those three things are so rich and satisfying I really didn't mind. 

If you love series like Martin Walker's Bruno Chief of Police or Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri-- series that have wonderful characters, vivid settings, and sumptuous cultures that you can sink into with a sigh-- I urge you to read Sally Andrew's Tannie Maria mysteries (in order). They're wonderful!

The Satanic Mechanic by Sally Andrew
Canongate Books © 2016
eBook, 312 pages

Cozy Mystery, #2 Tannie Maria mystery
Rating: A-
Source: Purchased from Amazon  



  1. You had me at the setting for this one, Cathy. And I do like both Walker's and Hall's series, too. Perhaps I ought to try this one...


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