Title: A Soufflé of Suspicion
Series: A French Bistro Mystery Series
By: Daryl Wood Gerber
Author’s Website: http://www.darylwoodgerber.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
The buoyant mood at Bistro Rousseau deflates when Chef Camille’s sister, Renee, turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen, and Mimi Rousseau must tease the real killer out of a mélange of menacing characters.
Crush Week in Nouvelle Vie is a madhouse—in a good way. Tourists pour into town for the pressing of the Napa Valley’s world-renowned grapes and all the town’s businesses get a nice lift, including Bistro and Maison Rousseau. Mimi is raising the ante this year with a Sweet Treats Festival, a wonderland of croissants, cakes, tarts, and soufflés crafted with expert care by the area’s top talents.
Chef Camille’s sister Renee is managing the festival with a cast-iron fist, upsetting everyone, including her sister. Which is bad for Camille when Renee turns up dead in the chef’s kitchen. Mimi is still building her business, so her first course of action is to whip up answers and catch the unsavory perpetrator before Camille takes a dusting and gets burned. (Goodreads)
The works of Daryl Wood Gerber (as well as her books written under the name of Avery Aames) have been on my radar to read for a very long time. A Soufflé of Suspicion is my first foray into her writing. Even though this is the second book in the series, there was enough back story and character introduction so that I had no difficulty getting right into the story.
The main character, Mimi is a likeable and relatable character. She has baggage, like the rest of us:
“Perhaps my deceased husband’s duplicity about our finances was the reason I questioned a man’s undying love. I mean, c’mon, Derrick had lied to me for years about how flush he was. How could he do that if he’d cherished me?”
I loved the following excerpt – definitely set me up for the mystery…
“A shiver ran down my spine. I was not superstitious by nature. Fantasies and folk tales didn’t suck me in, but I had to admit, a black cat crossing my path unnerved me. Black cats signified imminent danger, didn’t they?”
Without giving anything away, I enjoyed the way the story and ensuing death was presented and the subsequent sleuthing. I was kept in the dark (though I certainly had my suspicions) until the end, which as I have said numerous times before – just the way I like my mysteries. Many of the towns residents had enough depth that I can see a future of many more stories from this town and its residents. Bummer, since it will surely mean more deaths, but I have faith that Mimi can handle it ☺
The book was faced paced, with numerous other things happening around town to certainly distract us from the murder investigation like the Napa Valley crush week. With the addition of the Sweet Treats Festival, Mimi was certainly stretching herself, but she seemed to handle all of it well.
I was also taken with the menu’s that were developed – definitely left me wanting some of their great menu offerings:
“For the next hour, I threw together the weekly special menu: brochette d’agneau à la Grecque, which was lamb brochettes with sweet peppers, zucchini, and onions with a Greek citrus sauce of fresh rosemary, orange, lime, and grapefruit juice; pâtés aux fruits de mer, which included bay scallops, prawns, snow peas, and wild mushrooms over egg linguini with a garlic vermouth sauce; porc à l’orange, a sautéed pork tenderloin medallion with an orange sauce; ….”
I quite enjoyed the reference within the story with respect to another one of my favourite cozy mystery writers – Kate Carlisle – loved that Mimi enjoyed this author as well ☺ :
“The Bookery was a charming bed-and-breakfast that held literary events. In my spare time, I loved to read, and I enjoyed attending book fairs and meeting authors. I’d visited The Bookery at least a dozen times. One of my favorite mystery authors, Kate Carlisle, who’d written a series set in San Francisco as well as the wine country, had appeared at a book event there a few months ago.”
One more positive aspect that I enjoyed was the cover art. It captured my interest from the get go. And let us not forget the myriad of secondary characters (which I hope we see more of in future books). They as well had sufficient breadth and depth to peak my interest.
Now that I have had a taste of Ms. Gerber’s writing, I will most certainly read the first book in this series. And when the chance presents itself, I may well pick up other series written by her as well.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*