Murder, She Wrote: Killer in the Kitchen
Murder, She Wrote, Book #43
By Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
Author Website: www.donaldbain.com
Jessica loves the Fin & Claw restaurant, owned by young Cabot Cove couple Brad and Marcie. The eatery is the couple’s dream come true, but it’s quickly turning into a nightmare.
Famed chef Gérard Leboeuf has decided to open his brand of bistro right next to theirs. Given the competition, the charming chef’s manner soon turns sour. Tensions rise hot and fast until they boil over, leading to a nasty confrontation between Leboeuf and Brad.
So when one chef is found with a knife planted in his chest, the other becomes the prime suspect. But there’s a long list of those who had a motive to kill in this kitchen war, and it’s up to Jessica to uncover who really added murder to the menu. ( Goodreads)
Killer in the Kitchen is Jessica Fletcher at her best! With 42 earlier cozy mysteries under Donald Bain’s belt, one would hardly think there is anything new for Jessica, but don’t even think that. One of the things that I like about Murder, She Wrote series is that each can be read as a standalone and one can jump into the series with any of the novels. You can’t read just one! If you are like me, you will be looking for some earlier ones to read. While I can’t personally vouch that these are like the television show, I heard it on good report that they are. And she just keeps getting better.
Jessica’s friend, Isabel, has a son and daughter-in-law who are opening a new, upscale restaurant specializing in seafood Oceanside in Cabot Cove. They were young and hopeful, having learned all they could about reaching their dream of having a successful fine dining establishment. Isabel took a second mortgage on her home to help them. Her son, Brad, is a bit of a hothead but he knew what he wanted in the facility design. Marcie, Brad’s wife, calmed and kept him on track, until it suddenly looked as if their plans looked would be derailed.
Several years earlier, Jessica Fletcher met the famous chef, Gerard LeBoeuf, when she was working on a mystery involving a five-star restaurant. She spent time with him in his New York restaurant to learn more about the best in haute cuisine establishments. About a year before, he, his wife and son moved to a mansion on the edge of Cabot Cove. As Brad and Marcie worked on getting their restaurant completed, Chef Gerard announced that he was opening a French Bistro next to Brad and Marcie‘s establishment that would open about the same time.
LaBoeuf, his family and friends attended Brad and Marcie’s Grand Opening. They were loud and obnoxious; they complained about the poor quality of the food and hassled Isabel, who was proudly helping at the Grand Opening. Things only went downhill from there. Brad and Marcie despised the famous chef for his actions and behaviors, his theft of key employees, and how they invited much of the town for a free, upscale meal at his Grand Opening. Not long afterwards, Chef Gerard was found murdered in the kitchen of his Bistro after closing up. Brad, who had made threats against LaBeouf during their Grand Opening, was the only suspect. Jessica knew that, in spite of his temper, Brad wouldn’t have done it, but the small town of Cabot Cove was not standing behind him the way she did. It was time for Jessica to get to work to find the real murderer before Brad was railroaded to prison.
Jessica could step off the pages of the novel as a fully-defined woman; Chief Mort Mezgar and his wife Maureen are also quite well defined. Brad and Marcie are also defined well. We learned more about the other characters throughout the novel as required by their roles. The author is outstanding with both character and plot development; the action and conversations show each person as we would see those who are our friends or acquaintances. Jessica is a top-nothch heroine; I like her best for her wisdom, the way she speaks with and behaves around her many friends in Cabot Cove, and her tact. I also like how she uses logic as she looks for the bad guy/ bad gal and reviewing the notes she meticulously takes.
The plot is superb with twists and turns that only Jessica could follow, or at least keep up with! If there is another suspect, Jessica Fletcher will find him or her. When rumors of the chef’s mob ties ripple through town, as well as rumors that he was not the happy family man he pretends to be, the door is wide open to many possibilities. This was an extremely well-written cozy with a protagonist who, like fine wine, gets better with time. It is intriguing and hard to put down. The ending was amazing with a surprise resolution and all loose ends tied up. I highly recommend Killer in the Kitchen to cozy mystery lovers of all ages, including older teens. If you like well-written, complex mysteries in the ultimate of small town locales, this is a must read. This series has more than pleasantly exceeded my expectations and I hope it does for you, too!