This is a summary based on my understanding of the novel. Please also note that this summary contains spoilers. You may want to read the entire book first before proceeding
Lila Macapagal is back in Shady Palms to help their family business – Tita Rosie’s Kitchen. This was after she broke up with her cheating ex fiance.
One day, as she was serving customers, Derek Winter came to dine along with his stepdad, Mr. Long. Derek is a food critic who already gave them multiple bad reviews while Mr. Long is their landlord their renting to who is eager to kick them out.
While serving dessert to Derek and Mr. Long, Derek suddenly collapsed. Lila thought he was fooling around but later on realized that it was serious. Derek died that day in their restaurant.
The restaurant was temporarily closed and they were under investigation because Mr. Long is insisting that Tita Rosie’s Kitchen is responsible for Derek’s death.
The investigator found arsenic on the dish that was served to Derek. They also found drugs on Lila’s locker. Lila was briefly arrested but was able to be bailed out.
Lila and her bestfriend, Adeena, decided to investigate by themselves. They asked questions and met with other restaurant owners who Derek also gave bad reviews to. It turns out Derek is making money from this – he review, an inspector would arrived and the restaurant owners would either hire someone or pay fees.
There were addional crimes aside from Derek’s. Janet was nearly murdered inside her office and was in coma. Mr. Long was murdered in his kitchen with the use of Tita Rosie’s knife.
There were a lot of scenes in the book but this is what really happened:
Derek is being poisoned slowly by Mr. Long because he thinks Derek is turning his back on him. He was slowly poisoning him with Arsenic. But what really killed Derek was narcotics, and it was Kevin who did this.
Kevin is the owner of the coffee shop across the stree from Tita Rosie’s. Kevin’s younger sister was killed by drug overdose and it was Derek and Janet who supplied the drugs. He gave a cup of coffee to Derek with drugs in it when Derek mentioned that he’ll be going away. It was also Kevin who hurt Janet.
Kevin is currently in coma becauae Lila hit him in the head during confrontation. This was self defense so Lila won’t be arrested.
It was Nancy (Mrs. Long) who killed Mr. Long because she overheard him talking about how Derek died.
In the end, Nancy told Lila what happened but she decided not to do anything about it. Nancy left the deed of Tita Rosie’s and Java Jo’s. Which means they would no longer need to pay rent and Lila and Adeena can open their business.
The End of Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala