Mrs Sidhu's Dead and Scone, Suk Pannu

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

We first came across this character in the TV Series, MRS SIDHU INVESTIGATES starring Meera Syal who is just perfect as the caterer, and amateur eponymous sleuth at the centre of a surprising number of food adjacent (but not necessarily caused by) deaths. (Seems they all stem from a radio series). So finding the audio version of the first of a series of novels by Suk Pannu was a rather happy event, coinciding as it did with a bit of a period craving more amusing listening.

On the cosier side, this is lighter in style, but with depth and some interesting insight underlying these stories. Mrs Sidhu is a widow with a complicated relationship with her now deceased husband which turns out to be a lot more complicated than she realised when her Honoured Sister-In-Law comes to visit. Coinciding with the time that she's got herself into a spot of bother at a major "society" wedding, necessitating a change from event caterer to at home banishment and a never-ending production line of aubergine bhajis. Supported somewhat haphazardly but in a very well-meaning manner by a slightly overbearing boss, and absent minded but fond of idleness son Tez, Mrs Sidhu decides to wiggle out from under the control and watching eyes of all, getting herself a job as a private chef at an exclusive double-celebrity rehab centre. Double because it's clientele includes a hefty number of sort of celebrities and local luminaries, whilst also being overseen by a celebrity not quite a therapist writer of the sort of self-help, self-improvement books that seem to be everywhere these days. Long story short, the actual therapist, Dr Wendy Calman, is brutally murdered in her nearby home, and the obvious suspect is the retreat's gardener, who is also her boarder. He's a man with considerable mental health problems of his own, but there's also something odd going on about a cult that used to flourish in the area before it's founder disappeared after the suspicious death of two members. The founder, a man called Mackie, supposedly then turned up dead in far flung locales, although there's something very suspect about the way the line up of yet more murders has something to do with the village fete raffle and mysterious numbers and symbols.

Given that the police are rather fixated on their potential suspect (who has gone into hiding himself), it's up to Mrs Sidhu, with her beautifully baked goods, some convenient requirements to distribute food and drinks to those talking about the case, and her ... shall we say ... bathroom based catering pursuits to save the day. All whilst convincing her son and sister-in-law that she's not completely lost the plot, coming to terms once again with the situation her widowhood has left her in, keeping up the pretence that she hasn't taken a second job behind her bosses back, and working hard to prove that the gardener didn't do it, whilst having the daylights scared out of her by him, and his Satanic artworks, on a fairly regular basis. All of which she does with the exasperated support and championing, but not really, of local cop and sort of friend DI Burton.

The audio of this one came from the library, and the name of the narrator is Maya Saroya. She did a fabulous job with the voices and tonal requirements to make this a very enjoyable listening experience. Would recommend both the audio book and the TV series if you're looking for something on the entertaining, and slightly lighter side.

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

Mrs. Sidhu – unofficial Aunty to everyone, caterer, and amateur sleuth from Slough – spices up the lives of Berkshire's elite with both her mouth-watering dishes and her sharp detective skills. But when she stirs up trouble among the rich and ruthless, she finds herself an outsider in her own community.

Banished to the kitchen by her boss and sentenced to an endless loop of aubergine bhajis, Mrs. Sidhu seizes the opportunity to whip up a new recipe for success – getting a job as a private chef at an exclusive celebrity rehab retreat. But when a therapist is found dead in the quiet village, Mrs Sidhu’s appetite for mystery is rekindled.

As the plot thickens, it becomes clear that the killer is picking victims through a twisted raffle at the village fete. Is a vengeful spirit returning to exact a horrifying revenge, or is there an impostor among the residents hiding a deadly secret?

Review Mrs Sidhu's Dead and Scone, Suk Pannu
Karen Chisholm
Thursday, June 20, 2024
Blog Updates - Week Ending 21st June
Karen Chisholm
Monday, January 15, 2024

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