Dying for a Taste by Leslie Karst

dying-for-a-tasteDying for a Taste by Leslie Karst
Series: Sally Solari Mystery #1
Genre: Mystery (c0zy)
Setting: Santa Cruz, California
Published by Crooked Lane Books
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: April 12)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
304 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: After losing her mother to cancer, Sally Solari quits her job as an attorney to help her dad run his old-style Italian eatery in Santa Cruz, California. But managing the front of the house is far from her dream job.

Then in a sudden twist her Aunt Letta is found murdered in her own restaurant, and Sally is the only one who can keep the place running. But when her sous chef is accused of the crime, and she finds herself suddenly short-staffed, Sally must delve into the world of sustainable farming—not to mention a few family secrets–to help him clear his name and catch the true culprit before her timer runs out.

Leslie Karst serves a platter of intrigue in her stirring and satisfying debut Dying for a Taste, which is sure to become a new favorite of food mystery fans.

Initial impressions

  • Sally Solari is a great character. I love reading about her restaurant adventures and her Italian family.

The story

  • Sally Solari quit practicing law to work in her family Italian restaurant after her mother died.
  • Sally’s aunt is murdered in her own restaurant. Sally inherits the restaurant and her aunt’s sous chef is the main suspect for the murder. Sally can’t imagine he would have murdered her aunt so she sets out to find out why her aunt was murdered and who did it.
  • In the course of the book she discovers a lot of secrets and a lot of suspects.


  • I like Sally a lot. She’s smart and fun to read about. And she has loyal friends–most of whom went to law school with her. I like that she’s friends with her ex-boyfriend.
  • She has run the front of the house for her family restaurant for a few years since her mother died. She’s not very happy doing this since her father doesn’t allow Sally to make any changes or help in the kitchen. The Italian family dynamics are fun to read about.
  • She’s happy she isn’t working as an attorney anymore since she didn’t enjoy the constant battle to have enough billable hours.
  • After her aunt is murdered Sally finds out things about her aunt she hadn’t expected–and more suspects than she had expected.
  • One of Sally’s characteristics which was something I haven’t encountered in a mystery before–hot flashes! She has started getting hot flashes at an early age. They’re annoying to her, but I think I would have been more upset about it than she is. I guess it’s good she’s accepted it.
  • The beautiful setting in Santa Cruz and along the California coast comes through in this book especially during Sally’s bike rides.
  • There are lots of suspects in this story. I thought Ms. Karst did a good job creating motives for a number of people and keeping the story interesting.
  • I like that this is a cozy without being too cute or silly.
  • There are recipes at the end of the book–and they sound yummy!


  • I did figure out who the murderer was. Of course, I did wonder if I was wrong!

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I’m looking forward to reading more mysteries about Sally!
  • I love finding new authors and the fact this is a debut author is great. I like her writing style and feel she did a good job with the characters, setting and mystery.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst spent her early years in various locales: Columbus, Ohio; South America and Mexico; Oxford, England; and Santa Monica, California. She moved from Southern California to Santa Cruz to study English literature and Romance languages at UCSC, and has been a Northern California gal ever since.
  • Leslie went on to attend Stanford Law School and then worked for twenty years as the research and appellate attorney for a civil law firm in Santa Cruz County. During this period, she discovered a passion for food and cooking, and so once more returned to school—this time to earn a degree in culinary arts from Cabrillo College.
  • Now retired from the law, she spends her time cooking, singing alto in her local community chorus, gardening, cycling, and of course writing. Leslie and her wife, Robin, and their Jack Russell mix, Ziggy, split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

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