Pros: Good mystery and cast
Cons: Mimi’s relationship with Tyson
The Bottom Line:
Crush Week, festival
Complicated by murder
Crush Week, Sweets Fest, and Murder
Fans of Daryl Wood Gerber’s books (and the books she wrote as Avery Aames) know that she loves creating event for her mysteries. So I wasn’t surprised to find that A Souffle of Suspicion, the second in her French Bistro mysteries, features a festival.
In this case, the festival is centered around sweets, a sure fire crowd pleaser. However, Mimi Rousseau’s Bistro and Maison Rousseau are only providing the grounds. This Sweet Treats festival is also timed for Crush Week, the time in the fall when the Napa Valley swells with tourists coming to watch the grape harvest. Between the two, the hotel has no vacancies and the bistro is booked solid for both lunch and dinner.
Mimi is not responsible for the festival, that falls to Renee, the sister of Mimi’s head chef Camille. However, Renee has ruffled a few feathers in her efforts to turn the festival company she just bought into a successful business. Still, Mimi isn’t prepared to get a call from Camille that she’s just found Renee dead in Camille’s kitchen. While it was clearly murder, the police are looking at Camille. Can Mimi clear her?
Who doesn’t love sweets? That alone helped pull me into the story. Not that I needed much since we meet Renee and a few of the suspects early on and it isn’t too long before Renee dies. I did feel the pace could have been better a time or two, but overall that was a minor complaint. The climax was surprising and pointed out some clues I had completely missed when I was reading the book.
My bigger complaint comes from one particular relationship between the characters. One of Mimi’s good friends is Tyson, the detective in charge of the case. Now, I get the police not liking her help is solving things. I am perfectly fine with warnings about staying out of police work. However, I have a hard time buying that they are friends. Most of their interactions feel more antagonistic than that.
That’s the only character or relationship I have an issue with, however. The rest of the returning characters are charming, and I loved getting to spend time around them again. The suspects were strong, and I really couldn’t figure out who was going to wind up the killer until Mimi figured it out.
Of course, we get plenty of recipes to go with the culinary theme. They do focus on the French bistro theme of the series, although we do get a couple of treats as well.
A Souffle of Suspicion features a well done puzzle with characters we love and plenty of mouth water food. What more could culinary cozy fans want?
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.