A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery
by Daryl Wood Gerber
A Deadly Éclair: A French Bistro Mystery
Setting – California
Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B06XWDWRLF
It’s always been Mimi Rousseau’s dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she’s been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband’s tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she’s able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn’s first wedding ever.
The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan’s half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners’ dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan’s will.
Now it’s up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Éclair.
This series is off to a magnificent (magnifique) start! Mimi Rousseau is living her dream of owning her own inn and bistro. She has collaborated with Bryan Baker for the financial backing needed for the purchase and the vast remodeling effort to get both places open. In fact, the story opens with Mimi and her staff getting reading to host its first wedding. Bryan’s niece, talk show host, Angelica Edmonton and her fiancé are excited to be married at the inn. Things start to go awry with Angelica’s father, Edison, arrives at the out-of-towners’ dinner, but when Bryan is found dead the next morning at the bistro with an éclair in his month, Mimi doesn’t think things can get any worse. Now her mentor is dead and she is a prime suspect.
I have been looking forward to the book since I first saw the cover pop up on Facebook and it certainly exceeded my expectations. As a fan of the author’s Cheese Shop Mysteries and Cookbook Nook Mysteries, I knew the characters would be strong and the food descriptions would have my mouth watering and I was right.
Mimi Rousseau has a lot on her plate but I knew right away she could handle it. She is strong and savvy and has hired a top-notch staff. Chef C. and sous chef Stefan keep the kitchen under control while Heather runs the dining room. The inn, a fancy bed, and breakfast is managed by Mimi’s BFF, Jorianne. Mimi oversees everything from the menus and wine to all the events happening at the inn and bistro. All of the characters are very well defined for the first book in a series but there is plenty of room for them to grow. The secondary cast, the wedding party, family, and friends, are also very well crafted. I was drawn right into all of their drama.
The story was very fast paced with some corkscrew twists and more suspects than I at first set my sites on. This author knows how to set the scene and have readers nibbling on each little clue as we follow Mimi in her investigation. The mystery is well plotted and so entertaining. I was enthralled from the first page until the last and then I wanted more.
Now let me talk about the food. Oh, my! Thanks to the tantalizing descriptions I could almost taste and smell so many delightful dishes and even the unique flavors of the wine served. I love onion soup so every time it was mentioned my cravings stepped up another notch. Daryl Wood Gerber does share some recipes in the back of the book including recipes for Chocolate Éclairs and Onion Soup Gratinée. Both have been copied into my recipes file.
I am really excited about this new series and can’t wait for book #2, A Soufflé of Suspicion, coming in July 2018.
After reading about all that deliciousness in the book I am so happy Daryl is sharing recipes as part of her Great Escapes Tour. Be sure to visit each day to enjoy the full feast.
Welcome back to the traveling feast. I’m celebrating the upcoming release of the first French Bistro Mystery, A DEADLY ÉCLAIR, by hostessing a traveling meal, one blog at a time. This way you can sample different foods…one day at a time.
Of course, I’m focusing on French-themed foods because my protagonist, Mimi Rousseau, would serve these kinds of items either at her bistro or at her home. Mimi used to be a chef in San Francisco, but life took a turn, and she returned home to Nouvelle Vie, an enclave of Napa Valley, to start anew. Luckily, her benefactor gave her the opportunity to open her own bistro and bed-and-breakfast. Appetizers are an important feature in the bistro.
One can never have enough appetizers, right?
And champagne. It goes with everything. Ooh-la-la! Enjoy.
Here’s a brief scene from A DEADLY ÉCLAIR:
As I bent to retrieve a basket, a woman screamed, “Mimi!”
My pulse skyrocketed. I spun around.
My best friend, Jo, the woman who had bravely tasted all my childhood cooking fiascoes, the woman who had introduced me to Bryan and who had given up her high-paying CPA job to manage Maison Rousseau, ran at me full tilt, arms waving. “Help! It’s horrible!”
Camembert Pear Appetizer
- 1 8 oz. round of Camembert
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Bosc pear, peeled and cut into tiny cubes
- 1 Tablespoon rosemary (fresh, if you can, chopped)
- 2 Tablespoons Triple Sec (or other orange liqueur)
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
Remove the Camembert from the refrigerator and slice in half. Set aside.
Peel the Bosc pear. (It does not have to be completely ripe; may be firm)
Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the pear and cook about 3-4 minutes, until the pear is tender. Add the rosemary and Triple Sec. Cook another minute.
Remove the pears from the pan.
Set one half of the Camembert, bloomy rind side down, on a pretty serving dish. Pour almost all of the pears (except 2 Tablespoons) on the bottom half of the Camembert. Top with the other half of Camembert (bloomy rind on top). Top with the remaining pears.
Return the saucepan to the stove. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey and cook about one to two minutes, letting the combination reduce. Pour over the cheese and pears. Serve immediately (if you can, but sometimes guests aren’t always on time). It’s lovely at room temperature, too.
I’m offering a book giveaway (winner’s choice of 1 from my published paperbacks) every day of this traveling feast. To enter today, tell me—cheese platter or chips and dip in the comments ?
BY THE WAY, don’t miss out on the French Bistro-themed BOX I’m giving away on my Facebook Author page. Link below.
Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber is best known for her nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries and CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES, which she pens as Avery Aames. She will soon debut the new French Bistro Mysteries. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAYS OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!
Visit Daryl or Avery at www.darylwoodgerber.com.
November 1 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review, Recipe
November 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Review, Recipe
November 3 – Brooke Blogs – Review, Recipe
November 4 – A Holland Reads – Review, Recipe
November 5 – Jane Reads – Review, Recipe
November 6 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review, Recipe
November 7 – Back Porchervations – Review, Recipe
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”