About a year ago, we interviewed homegrown author Sally Andrew and ran an extract from her first novel – which you (and we!) loved. Her warm and wise (but troubled) character, Tannie Maria, is a delight, and we’re happy to spend more time with her in this, her second book. Here’s a taster of the first two chapters of Tannie Maria & the Satanic Mechanic.
We know how to pick a winner! Sally’s first book, Recipes for Love and Murder, has been doing really, really well.
The rights have been bought by 21 publishers in 14 languages so far, and it was chosen as one of Oprah.com, Kirkus Reviews and Wall Street Journal’s best books of the year. Here at home it’s a bestseller, and won the Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award, which means that booksellers voted it their favourite South African book.
In case you missed it, let’s get you up to speed. Set in the Klein Karoo (which is also home to Sally), the novel centres on Tannie Maria, who works at the local newspaper as a food columnist and agony aunt. Her own life hasn’t run smoothly, so she has the empathy it takes to advise others on their troubles. And her rounded shape is down to the fact that she’s a comfort eater. Yes: a lovely, imperfect heroine.
If you loved Mma Ramotswe and The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, you’ll likely love Tannie Maria too. In fact, if you need more of an endorsement, the author of the No. 1 series, Alexander McCall Smith, no less, called Sally’s first novel ‘a triumph’.
In the latest instalment, Maria needs counselling herself… As she begins a new relationship with the handsome Detective Henk Kannemeyer, she finds it difficult to shake the ill-effects of her previous marriage. Will Henk’s love prove the salve she needs?
Of course there’s a murder in the mix too, but before we let any spoilers loose, here’s the first couple of chapters to get you going.
Have you ever wanted something really badly? You can’t just wait till it lands in your lap, but if you chase it too hard you might chase it away from you. Or catch something you didn’t expect. I was maybe too hungry for love and ended up with murder on my plate.
It was a warm Saturday afternoon in March, and I was getting ready for dinner with Detective Lieutenant Henk Kannemeyer.
A bokmakierie sang out in my garden, and a bird replied from a thorn tree in the veld.
I put a bowl of salad onto the stoep table. ‘Ag, you look beautiful,’ I told the salad.
I had made three salads and two puddings, for just two people.
I guess that shows I was trying too hard.
Henk was bringing the potjie for the fire. The potato salad and coleslaw were in the fridge; the rocket salad with Brie, red figs and pomegranate pips was on the stoep table. There had been some gentle rain the day before that made the air so clean that I could see the red rocks on the Rooiberg and the purple folds of the Langeberge. But now was not the time to enjoy the view. There were still the butter dumplings to make, as well as the icing for the peanut-butter coffee chocolate cake.
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