Title: Blackmail and Bibingka (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #3)
Author: Mia P. Manansala
Genre: Adult Cozy Mystery / Contemporary
Publication Date: October 4th, 2022
Publisher: Berkley Books
“It’s Christmastime in Shady Palms, but things are far from jolly for Lila Macapagal. Sure, her new business, The Brew-ha Cafe, is looking to turn a profit in its first year. And yes, she’s taken the first step in a new romance with her good friend, Jae Park. But her cousin Ronnie is back in town after ghosting the family fifteen years ago, claiming that his recent purchase of a local winery shows that he’s back on his feet and ready to give back to the Shady Palms community. Tita Rosie is thrilled with the return of her prodigal son, but Lila knows that wherever Ronnie goes, trouble follows.
She’s soon proven right when Ronnie is accused of murder, and secrets and rumors surrounding her shady cousin and those involved with the winery start piling up. Now Lila has to put away years of resentment and distrust to prove her cousin’s innocence. He may be a jerk, but he’s still family. And there’s no way her flesh and blood could actually be a murderer…right?” (Goodreads)
I was hesitant on starting this one since I wasn’t really a fan of the second book. I’m happy to say that this one worked well and I enjoyed solving the mystery right along side Lila.
The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Lila Macapagal. She is still very curious about solving crimes and somehow she always ends up at a crime scene. Her dog is still the star of the show and they definitely got a lot of page time!
The other characters were also interesting to get to know. Ronnie has been her estranged cousin and moved back recently to start a winery after being away for 15 years. It’s not the best time to show up when a murder happens at the winery but at least he has a cousin like Lila. Although, there is some built up anger between them.
I’m always happy when I don’t know who the murderer is and this was exactly that! I kept going back and forth on who I thought it was and I would have never guessed the outcome of it all.
Overall, this was another fun cozy mystery. I’m glad I read the acknowledgement because it said there will be three more books. Woo! Can’t wait to see what the next plot consists of.