Death and Croissants: A Novel
Humorous Literary Fiction/Amateur Sleuth
1st in Series
Setting – France
Poisoned Pen Press (March 14, 2023)
Paperback : 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 1728270553
ISBN-13 : 978-1728270555
Kindle ASIN : B0BGYQZ4K2
Meet Richard Ainsworth: an almost divorced part-time B&B owner, part-time film historian, and full-time self-deprecator. Hoping to continue running his B&B in the quiet Val de Follet, he has no idea of its hidden intrigue, from the mafia to swingers, to the peddling of (il)legal grape seeds. His quiet has flown the coop on a fateful afternoon with a bloody handprint, a missing guest, and one dead Ava Gardner (a beloved hen).
This is the first book in the Follett Valley Mystery Series. It features Richard Ainsworth, a middle-aged Englishman living in France and running a small B&B as he goes about living his boring life and he is very happy doing just that. He has a vast knowledge of old Hollywood movies and watching them keeps him entertained. His wife has left him to find a more exciting life which shouldn’t be too hard. He stays in touch with his 27-year-old daughter, Alicia, via FaceTime but the conversations are usually pretty short. He also has 3 chickens, Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, and Joan Crawford. Nothing much exciting happens in his life.
Then an elderly guest disappears, leaving behind a pair of glasses and a bloody handprint and a beautiful Italian woman checks in with her dog named Passepartout for an open-ended stay. The woman, Valerie, takes one look at the handprint and easily persuades Richard to join her in investigating the elderly guest’s disappearance. From that point on Richard’s life is new longer his own and it is far from boring. Mostly dazed and confused he follows Valerie hither and yon to solve the case of the missing guest.
Oh, my stars! Ian Moore puts his comedic talents to very good use in a tale that will have you laughing out loud and shaking your head as you read this twisted-up mystery.
Laid-back Richard is a feckless individual that gets drawn into a web of mystery complete with the Italian Mafia and nudist swinger B&B owners as femme fatale Valérie d’Orçay drags him deeper and deeper into the world of crime. It is not long before Brigadier-Chef Principal Philippe Bonneval enters their lives along with Chez Bruno and Judge Grandchamps and they find they end up with more questions than answers. I also have to mention Richard’s cleaning woman Madame Tablier. She is a hoot! All these characters are cleverly created and intriguing in their own right.
Mr. Moore wraps his characters in a madcap mystery with so many secrets, twists, and turns I totally lost count and just hung on tight and enjoyed the ride.
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the French countryside and the village of Vauchelles and every other place Richard and Valerie traveled. The people and the food and drink were well described as well.
When I started the book I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my “cup of tea”, and truth be told I had seen some reviews that almost kept me from reading it, but I couldn’t stop reading, Death and Croissants had it all. A lighthearted mystery, quirky characters, laugh-out-loud funny, and unbelievably crazy situations, along with a few chickens. I escaped right into this story and I was delightfully entertained. Now I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the series to continue but I don’t know how the author would top this story.
About the Author
Best-Selling author Ian Moore is also a stand-up comedian and conference host in the UK, and husband, father of three boys, farmhand, chutney-maker, and Basil Fawlty impersonator in France. Since doing less stand-up, he’s stopped taking himself so seriously. Death and Croissants is the first book in the Follett Valley Mystery Series.
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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.”