“Is there anything that doesn’t make you think about food?”
` end of chapter 8
This is book 3 in the Chef Maurice series, released October 12, 2015 from Purple Panda Press. It’s time for the Beakley Spring Fayre complete with bake off. Chef Maurice isn’t one of the judges this year thanks to an invitation being extended to a famous television chef, Miranda Matthews. Miranda, being a bit of a prima donna, makes enemies easier than one could make a cake. As the day at the Fayre goes on, Miranda has disappeared and when she is found, she is no state for judging a bake off. She is face down in a brook. And Chef Maurice suspects there is a villain about with a penchant for topping off chefs. The good Chef feels this is a job for him and Arthur, who is on a diet, to test their detective skills.
As a sub-plot, Patrick, Chef’s sous chef, is being lured away to become a head chef for a Bed and Breakfast that his mother is opening. PC Lucy isn’t too happy about that, but doesn’t want to hold him back. This leads to all kinds of misunderstandings especially by Patrick who is a little dense when it comes to women.
PC Lucy soon has her hands full with the murder investigation and trying to keep Chef Maurice reasonably out of it. The only way to do this seems to be to invite him to take part in a limited way so that he is in sight.
As the novel progresses, there are enough clues to point to one suspect. But in the way that Chef Maurice has, he believes it is the wrong suspect and that more investigation should be undertaken.
If Hercule Poirot were an eccentric french chef, then he could be Chef Maurice. His little grey cells are never mentioned, but they are obviously hard at work throughout the investigation.
It’s a bit of a page turner and the reader is presented with most of the same clues as the good Chef, but there are a few that are held back resulting in a somewhat surprising ending. Not entirely surprising, but somewhat surprising.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s a really good story, but the execution was not quite as well done as in the previous 2 books. It is still a good book and worth reading. It could be read as a standalone, but the reader would benefit from reading the other 2 books in the series first. Book one, Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle, is currently free for Kindle on Amazon.com.