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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

‘Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes’ by J A Lang

Published by Purple Panda Press, 
15 July 2015. 

Chef Maurice is head chef and owner of Le Cochon Rouge, the finest (and only) restaurant in the Cotswold village of Beakley.  Following an unfortunate incident in which a bottle of rather fine Barolo became an ingredient in what was agreed to have been a splendid red wine jus, it has been decided to provide some staff training and so the Cochon Rouge Wine Appreciation Society was established.  Chef Maurice’s love of food and drink is boundless and so, when renowned wine collector Sir William Burton-Trent turns up to the Society’s first meeting and invites him to a dinner and wine tasting the following evening, he is delighted.

With his friend, food critic Arthur Wordington-Smythe, Chef Maurice makes the snowy journey to Sir William’s home, where they chat with their fellow guests, unaware that in a short time they will find themselves involved in a classic locked room mystery.  Their host is found dead in his own wine cellar.  Chef Maurice is no stranger to murder and he, Arthur, and his colleagues at the Cochon Rouge, together with the local Police Constable Lucy (will she and Patrick, the sous-chef, ever get together?) use smart logic and a kipper sandwich to solve the fine wine mystery in fine style. 

This book is the second in what is developing into a delightful series.  It is a cozy with Golden Age trimmings; the plotting is deft, the characters are attractive, and the writing has a light touch – altogether a entertaining read.
Reviewer:  Jo Hesslewood
Other books by the author:  Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle;  Chef Maurice and the Bunny-Boiler Bake
J.A. Lang is the author of the Chef Maurice Mysteries, set in the fictional Cotswold village of Beakley, conveniently located within driving distance of her home in Oxford, England. She lives with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.When not at her writing desk, she enjoys cooking, eating, travelling to places with good food, drinking good wine, and thinking about her next meal. (Please note that any similarities between J.A. Lang and her main character, Chef Maurice, are purely coincidental.)

Jo Hesslewood.  Crime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

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