Manansala, Mia P. – Homicide and Halo-Halo

Homicide and Halo-Halo (Berkley 2022) is the second cozy mystery in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen mystery series. Written in first person, baker Lila Macapagal is about to open the Brew-Ha Café in Shady Palms, a fictional town about 2 hours outside of Chicago. Lila, a proud Filipino American who bakes awesome fusions of Filipino and American pastry, is a 25-year-old who has been asked to guest judge a local beauty pageant that she won as a teenager. The first sign of trouble is a threat about the competition, and then one of Lila’s fellow judges is found dead. Cozy mysteries are usually lightweight and amusing – while Homicide and Halo-Halo is written in a light-hearted style, characters grapple with serious issues such as PTSD, fatphobia, fertility and pregnancy issues, predatory behavior, unresolved grief, parental death, and dismissive attitudes toward mental health.

Mia P. Manansala is a writer and certified book coach who earned her undergraduate degree in English at Northeastern Illinois University. A 2017 alum and 2018-20 mentor for Pitch Wars, a volunteer-run writing program, Manansala uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture. She is the winner of the 2018 Hugh Holton Award, the 2018 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, the 2017 William F. Deeck – Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, and the 2016 Mystery Writers of America/Helen McCloy Scholarship. A lover of all things geeky, Mia spends her days procrastibaking, playing JRPGs and dating sims, reading cozy mysteries, and cuddling her dogs Gumiho, Max Power, and Bayley Banks (bonus points if you get all the references).