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Friday, March 18, 2022


“The Milk Tart Murders” is truly recommended as a wonderfully entertaining novel. (Review by Barry Meehan)


“I ate on the stoep as I watched the sun sink behind the distant koppies.

‘Yoh,’ I said to the vetkoek and mince in my hand. ‘You are quite something.’

And it was almost as if the vetkoek replied, ‘You know, Maria, you’re quite something too.’

If it were a person who’d said that, I might’ve blushed, but from a vetkoek, I decided to accept the compliment.”


Let me say this right up front – The Milk Tart Murders, the fourth in the Tannie Maria series, is a delicious read. It follows Recipes for Love and Murder, Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic and Death on the Limpopo, all best-sellers that have been translated into 14 languages across five continents.

If you’ve never heard of this series before, Tannie Maria is the “Agony Aunt” for a small newspaper in the Klein Karoo. She is firmly of the belief that most problems sent through to her by the paper’s readers can be solved, especially when one of her recipes is thrown into the mix. She firmly believes she can solve the relationship problems of her readers, but the big question is – can she solve her own?

She lives a simple life in her house in the veld, along with her chickens, indigenous plants and herbs, essential to her recipes. She sometimes finds herself talking to the trees, amongst other inanimate objects, as per the excerpt at the start of this review.

As far as the plot is concerned, Oom Frik of Oom Frik’s Fantastiques dies during a screening of the Marilyn Monroe classic Some Like It Hot. He was a grumpy old soul with a heart condition, but was his death from natural causes, or could it have been murder? Police investigations are under way, but rumours of expensive treasures among Oom Frik’s “Fantastiques” and the fact that he seemed to change his will on a regular basis intrigue Tannie Maria and the newspaper’s investigative journalist, Jessie, to conduct their own investigation, which leads them along twisted paths to several dangerous situations.

The Milk Tart Murders is a wonderfully easy book to read. Sally Andrew’s unexpected turns of phrase leave one laughing out loud, along with several “didn’t see that coming” plot twists and turns. Her characters are larger than life – some much larger – but all totally believable. Keep a good record of who’s who in Oom Frik’s family and circle of friends and acquaintances, though – there are quite a few, all potential suspects, each one with a specific role to play in the story.

The Milk Tart Murders is truly recommended as a wonderfully entertaining novel.

Something else to note is that the first novel in the Tannie Maria series, Recipes for Love and Murder has been adapted as a TV series. It starts on M-NET tonight, Sunday, March 20 at 20h00. If it’s anywhere near as well put together as the novels, it should be a breath of fresh Karoo air. Don’t miss it! – Barry Meehan

The Milk Tart Murders is published by Penguin. ISBN:  978-1-48590-463-2