Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Review of "Death of a Chef" by Alexander Campion




Commissaire Capucine Le Tellier of the Paris police, married to a noted restaurant critic, often hobnobs with French high society. As the story opens Capucine's friend Cécile opens a fashionable trunk she purchased at a street market and finds the nude body of Chef Jean-Louis Brault, owner of La Mère Denis - a restaurant with the phenomenal rating of three Michelin stars. Chef Jean-Louis apparently had no enemies, with the possible exception of restaurant critic Lucien Folon. Folon frequently wrote unfair, scathing reviews of La Mère Denis, hoping it would lose one of its Michelin stars.

Soon afterwards, Fermin Roque, an activist who orchestrated the workers' takeover of a Faience pottery factory, is also found dead. Finally, a wealthy businessman who invested in both the restaurant and the Faience factory is kidnapped, raising the suspicion of a connection among the three crimes.

Capucine and her detective squad investigate and discover intriguing clues that eventually lead them to the truth. During all this Capucine dines in fine restaurants and elegant homes, and the delicious meals and wines are described in great detail. This adds a fun element to the story.

There are a variety of engaging characters in the book, including Capucine's snooty (but good-natured) mother and erudite father, her randy cousin, an elegant woman who owns a Faience stall at the street market, French villagers who keep secrets, and more.

This is an enjoyable cozy mystery with an engaging plot that leads to a satisfactory conclusion. I'd recommend it to fans of cozies.

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