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The Satanic Mechanic

A Tannie Maria Mystery

By Sally Andrew

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Format: Paperback, 336 pages
Published In: Australia, 01 August 2016
Tannie Maria writes the Love Advice and Recipe Column for the Klein Karoo Gazette- words of wisdom for the lovelorn, along with a recipe for something delicious that may help. But Tannie Maria's own problems resist her attempts to self-medicate, even with an amazing peanut-butter coffee chocolate cake. Her new relationship with Detective Henk Kannemeyer continues to be haunted by the memory of her abusive husband, and she decides to check out a PTSD counselling group run by a man they call the Satanic Mechanic. But then someone is murdered-poisoned with mustard sauce-before her eyes, and Tannie Maria's quest for healing takes a more investigative turn. Which means her intimate relationship with Henk is about to get professional. And more importantly, very complicated.

About the Author

Sally Andrew lives in a mud-brick house on a nature reserve near Ladismith in the Klein Karoo (South Africa). She has published a number of non-fiction books and educational articles. The feel-good books Recipes for Love and Murder and Tannie Maria and the Satanic Mechanic are her first novels.


'Recipes for Love and Murder is chock full of good food and interesting characters.' Kerry Greenwood 'A delightful debut, tender and funny. The mystery takes on the worldwide problem of abused women while revealing both the beauties and problems of South Africa. And the recipes will make you want to drop everything and start cooking.' STARRED Review, Kirkus 'This looks likes cosy crime - and it is both funny and sweet - but it has a hard edge and doesn't skirt the difficult subjects of South Africa's history and the region's huge problem with domestic violence. It is a culinary and linguistic treat too, packed with recipes and smatterings of Afrikaans.' Bookseller 'A clever, funny and warm-hearted debut crime novel from South Africa, that will make you laugh and cry.' Good Reading 'Andrew offers up engaging characters and a storyline with enough surprises to keep it interesting...Recipes for Love and Murder is easily digestible murder-mystery fare, with a love story or two thrown in for extra seasoning.' Otago Daily Times 'A delightful debut, tender and funny.' Kirkuk Reviews, Best Fiction Books of 2015 'A blue-ribbon winner.' Wall Street Journal, Best Books of 2015 'Funny, serious and touching.' New Zealand Listener 'A triumph.' -- Alexander McCall Smith 'Sally Andrew gives the reader a murder mystery with an original plot, a twist or two and quite a few red herrings...She laces it with plenty of humour, fills it with wonderful food, and wraps the whole thing in some gorgeous descriptive prose...[the] second Tannie Maria mystery is even better than the first.' BookMooch 'I enjoyed the characters, of which there were many but they were well-drawn and distinct, and admired Andrew's evident love of her South African surroundings, which comes across in her descriptions of the landscape, animal and bird life, and her liberal use of Afrikaans. Her writing has a strong sense of place and the setting serves the plot well.' Otago Daily Times 'Andrews adds lashings of colour to the mix; lyrical descriptions of life - and wildlife - in the bush, as well as the colloquialisms that give it such a sense of location. The deaths are served with a light hand - no guts or gore here - and, for dessert, a handful of the recipes.' 'Food heals, arouses, coerces, and kills in Andrew's sublime second psychological cozy featuring South African agony aunt Tannie Maria van Harte. Her food wisdom is universal, unassailable: potato salad eases worry; warm orange pudding makes one feel whole.' Publishers Weekly 'The sights and sounds, animal life and community affairs of the Klein Karoo in South Africa, the huge diversity of people and cultures and the big issues that face the Bushmen, all form a fascinating background to the murder mystery. Readers who enjoyed the first book, will have another treat in store for them.' ReadPlus 'Exotic and enchanting...All the characters in Ms Andrew's evocative novel are finely drawn.' Wall Street Journal 'This friendly novel is something to savour...especially in its assertion that there's not much in life that the love of a little lamb, stalwart friendships, intimate relationships and several slices of the tantalisingly-titled Venus Cake can't cure.' Seattle Review of Books 'Sublime...Tannie Maria's authentic recipes for which Andrew credits many sources are easy to make far from the veldt. Her food wisdom is universe, unassailable: potato salad eases worry; warm orange pudding makes one feel whole.' Publishers Weekly, starred review 'This wonderfully-written South African read will have you laughing all the way...The cultures and languages of South Africa are richly and beautifully expressed...this book is the sequel to Recipes for Love and Murder, but it can easily be read as a standalone book with its charm and loveable characters.' Writers Write 'Sally Andrew stirs up another engaging mystery in her second Tannie Maria novel, The Satanic Mechanic...Tannie Maria's second adventure is like the meals that come from her kitchen: a bit eclectic, with many different influences, but ultimately a satisfying feast for readers.' Shelf Awareness 'I really love Sally Andrew's voice. It's simple, stripped of all excess and cuts you to the core. Tannie Maria is a wonderful, warm, comforting character...At the same time, she is much more complex than that...There is so much character and soul in this series it's impossible not to fall in love.' Nocturnal Book Reviews 'Sally Andrew's latest entry in her Tannie Maria series is an enticing, engrossing novel filled with charmingly fascinating characters, interesting subplots, believable psychological struggles, a delightful sense of place and yes, a mystery...If you're looking for a good story with a lot of psychological development, great characters, and a wonderfully portrayed setting, this is it.' Reviewing the Evidence 'Sally Andrew created a most unusual protagonist in Tannie Maria in last year's Recipes for Love and Murder. The sequel is just as captivating-perhaps even more so-with The Satanic Mechanic, filled with eccentric characters, a budding romance, and an interesting mystery...Readers will end the book feeling they wish they knew Sally Andrew and Tannie Maria.' Auntie M Writes 'Don't miss this great story. Trust me. It's darn good.' Book Loons 'Blending a madcap mystery with loveable characters, in the beautiful setting of South Africa's rural Klein Karoo, Sally Andrew really does have the perfect recipe for a crime series.' Crime Spree 'This book was like nothing I've ever read before and I absolutely loved it. The characters are wonderful and I fell in love with Tannie Maria from the first page...if you are looking for a series with a loveable amateur sleuth and a puzzling mystery without a lot of blood and gore, this is the series for you.' Mystery Playground 'Very readable, with a charm which is sustained to the last page.' Crime Review

EAN: 9781925355130
ISBN: 1925355136
Publisher: The Text Publishing Company
Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 2.5 centimetres (0.29 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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1 review(s)
All Reviews
Marianne on
“I was deciding whether to call Henk when the phone rang and it was him. That sort of thing happens a lot, you know. I think about something, and then there it is. It makes me wonder if my life is neatly woven, instead of the tangle it looks like. If I could just follow all the threads, maybe I’d see a nice pattern”.

The Satanic Mechanic is the second book in the Tannie Maria Mystery series by South African author, Sally Andrew. Slimkat Kabbo is the face of the Kuruman Bushman’s successful land claim case. With his peace-loving attitude (“Fighting can make you bitter. But sometimes it must be done. If you have to fight, then you must do so with soft hands and a heart full of forgiveness”), he is no boastful victor. So when he is poisoned right there in front Tannie Maria and the Klein Karoo Gazette’s intrepid investigative reporter, Jessie Mostert, and under the noses of the Oudtshoorn and Ladismith police, they are puzzled.

Would the vanquished in the land case, the Hardcore diamond miners and the Agribeest cattle company really take revenge in this manner? Or was someone else behind the harassment and death threats the Bushmen had received? Tannie Maria’s boyfriend, Detective Lieutenant Henk Kannemeyer doesn’t want Maria getting involved; after her recent kidnapping and near murder, he doesn’t want to risk losing her again. Tannie Maria dislikes being told what to do, but she has another problem with Henk, one of a more intimate nature, one that stems from her former husband’s abuse and needs a counsellor’s help.

The first one she sees puts her on a diet. Readers familiar with Tannie Maria know that food plays a big role in her life: “I took a mouthful of tart, and I closed my eyes and let the sweet warm brandy and cream sing down my throat to my belly”. A visit to the doctor has a different outcome, as well as some dietary advice: “’If you apply common sense you should be fine. Obvious stuff: exercise, eat healthy food, only eat when you're hungry.’ The problem is, I thought as I left his office, I am always hungry”. Eventually, she consults the Satanic Mechanic.

Sally Andrew gives the reader a murder mystery with an original plot, a twist or two and quite a few red herrings. She touches on some topical issues: PTSD, the plight of wildlife crossing roads, and the status of gays and lesbians certain African nations. She laces it with plenty of humour, fills it with wonderful food, and wraps the whole thing in some gorgeous descriptive prose: “The phone rang. It was Henk. His voice was warm and sweet like hot chocolate, and it made a smile run through my whole body” and “...they started on a beautiful Xhosa song. Some sang high, others low, with choruses answering each other. They moved in time to the music. The voices wove a hammock of sound that held me and rocked me” are examples.

Also: “Hattie’s fingers were running around her keypad like mice…” and “He was a small man who walked lightly on the ground. But he seemed very tall, as if his head was being pulled up to the stars” and “I picked up another letter on the pile, one that looked impatient to be opened”. Sentences like: “In the Karoo sky, there are so many stars it is hard to see the darkness” are sure to make readers want to visit the Klein Karoo.

Andrew’s characters are appealing, much more than one-dimensional, and occasionally quirky; their dialogue is natural and evokes the South African accent. If there is a flaw in this book, it’s that all those mouth-watering descriptions of food are bound to make the reader hungry. But what’s this? Twenty pages of recipes at the end! Mmmmm.

Sally Andrew’s second Tannie Maria Mystery is even better than the first. Readers who are unfamiliar with Tannie Maria would do well to read Recipes for Love and Murder before this book for two good reasons: firstly, many of the characters from Recipes appear in this book, and there is not a great deal of recap; secondly, the reader will be treated to double the reading pleasure. A brilliant sequel!

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