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Book Review: A Deadly Eclair by Daryl Wood Gerber

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A Deadly Éclair (A French Bistro Mystery, #1)A Deadly Éclair by Daryl Wood Gerber

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A Deadly Eclair is the debut book in the ‘A French Bistro Mystery’ series written by Daryl Wood Gerber. I read the second book in this series earlier in the year after winning it in a giveaway contest. I enjoyed the characters and setting which led me to starting the series from the beginning. There’s something about the Napa Valley atmosphere full of wine, food, and culture that makes the books easy-to-read, immersive, and charming. I’ve been to many of the places being described or noted which helps ensure an even tighter connection to the story and the characters. It also helps that the books are well-written with the right balance of humor and knowledge (about wine, food, relationships, France).

Mimi’s husband died several years ago leaving her broke. After settling his debt and untying her emotional loss over all his lies, she moved back home to start anew. This book kicks off many months later once she’s decided to open a restaurant with the backing of a new partner, Bryan. He’s a pseudo-father figure for Mimi who lost her dad years ago. Bryan asks her to manager his niece’s wedding as part of her first few events. All goes smoothly until Bryan is found dead with one of Mimi’s famous desserts in his mouth… and, oh yeah, some jewels. Mimi’s surrounded by his family, his niece’s soon-to-be husband’s family, and some interesting friends. Which one of them had a past connection to Bryan that led to murder?

Throw in some wonderful side stories with how Mimi bonds with her new staff, opens her heart to going on a date for the first time, makes new friends, helps her mom overcome some new steps in her life, and tries to earn a living despite a few wondering if she killed Bryan to kick him out of her business. She’s tough, but caring. She’s a little nosy for my tastes, but it’s often typical of these types of series. Mimi has an investment in knowing who killed Bryan since it relates to her new inn, but at times, I felt like she grilled people a bit too much. Especially when they were her guests and she was trying to succeed with her new business. She’d annoy someone in one chapter, then they were friendly with her again in the next one. Maybe I just hold grudges a bit too long!

Now that I’ve devoured two, I can say I’m a series fan and look forward to the third which I assume will be published in mid-2019. I’ll be on the lookout for joining the blog tour or ARC team if possible.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: A Souffle of Suspicion by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Author Daryl Wood Gerber has been on my TBR list for ages, but I hadn’t gotten to reading from her collection in the past. When the second book, A Soufflé of Suspicion, in the French Bistro cozy mystery series was listed in a giveaway contest, I jumped on the opportunity. I was selected as a reader (yay!) and lined up the book for my late June reading list. I normally read series mystery books in order but I’m all out of time lately, so I just dove in to this cooking and killing edition. I’m now a fan and look forward to reading more from the author, especially given she has a few other series under different pseudonyms.

In this book, Mimi has just recovered from solving a crime in the last few weeks, and then another one happens. Renee, the sister of Mimi’s current chef, Camille, is found clobbered with a mixer in the kitchen. As details about Renee’s life unfold, there’s a possibility she was blackmailing someone, having an affair, or stealing information. Was she a good or bad person? We just don’t know… and at times, it seems like Camille had a few reasons to off her own sister, too. As a backdrop setting, it’s set in the delectable Napa Valley and it’s dessert week… so I was in love with the ambiance and the food/drink in this book.

I like the characters and see some long-term potential as they begin to settle into their roles as friends, enemies and in-between. Mimi as a lead is interesting, but its her connections to the rest of the town that provide all the great opportunities to be a sleuth. People just talk to her, yet she’s also constantly doing new things in the restaurant or meeting people to help re-build the town or her mom’s winery, so she has lots of relationships that can offer clues and secrets.

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For me, this falls into the right spot for a cozy mystery. I like that the recipes are all listed at the end and not interspersed throughout the story, as I don’t enjoy having to flip tons of pages to find the next chapter. I really enjoyed learning about the restaurant business. Many of the names of places and some chefs are authentic, as I’ve been to the places when I visited Napa Valley in the past. I kinda wanna go back now and see exactly where some of these conversations and stores are in comparison to streets I’ve visited before. Kudos to the author for making it real. She’s undoubtedly been there, and I wonder if we’ve been to the same winery at the same time. Ha!

As for the mystery plot, it was in the middle in terms of obvious versus complex. There was more to it than I expected, but I pegged the killer from the beginning. There were a few strong red herrings and misleading side stories, but ultimately, it’s a classic story that works well in this background. I will definitely read more from the author and look forward to catching up on the first book in the series.

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.