NoÃ«l Balen, who co-writes the Wine Maker Detectives
has teamed up with Vanessa Barrot to indulge our taste for
French cooking. This is the first in a series about a cookery
journalist is called MINCED, MARINATED AND MURDERED. This
amiable travel guide to the city of Lyon delves into the
understory of French cooking, the recipes made with food
easily found by ordinary people. So while we're learning
about a series of bizarre deaths in family owned
restaurants, we're also chuckling at the thought of eating
tripe, calf's muzzle, or chicken stewed inside a pig's
bladder. Every part of the animal had to get used.
I found the story of the bouchons interesting -- they were
started by women who used to be cook-housekeepers, out of
work as the wealthy did less entertaining; and serving free
meals to soldiers during the two world wars. The bouchon or
small basic restaurant of Lyon prospered and became a
desirable business with the growth of tourism, and this has
potentially led to a motive to kill the owners.
Sadly we don't see much of the victims, so it's hard to
feel that much sympathy, but we do learn enough to furnish
a plethora of possible villains. Laure Grenadier and her
photographer Paco Alvarez trot briskly from one location to
the next as they work up an article. As Paco is Spanish he
gives Laure a reason to explain the customs and recipes to
the reader. More detailed crime solving would require a
longer book or else less time discussing the tourist
sights. The light mystery MINCED, MARINATED AND MURDERED
was written in French and translated by Anne Trager for her
firm Le French Book which aims to bring enjoyable modern
French writing to English-speaking readers. Bon chance!
Revelations in a city where food is so much more than a meal
in a deliciously authentic culinary mystery novel set in France.
A routine assignment in Lyon, France's traditional capital
of gourmet food, turns bitter for food writer Laure
Grenadier when a beloved chef is found murdered. A wave of
panic follows with a second death, and Laure sets out to
find the truth. As she reviews the city's traditional
bistros, interviews the town's best chefs and local food
producers, and shares stories and culinary lore with her
photographer Paco Alvarez, she uncovers secrets and
rivalries. But will she find the murderer before the city
loses more of its master chefs?
Laure's passion for food and deep knowledge of culinary
history combine with a reporter's natural curiosity and a
particular Parisian chic, turning her into a natural sleuth
in a city where food is so much more than a meal. Paco's
photographer's eye brings the details to life, while murder
and mayhem spice up the mix.
In this fun, satisfying, mouth-watering French mystery
novel, authors NoÃ«l Balen and Vanessa Barrot whisk readers
to France for a troubling mystery, local culinary anecdotes,
recipes, home-grown products, and very human feelings.
"When you feel as much hunger as grief, then you know you're