Title: French Pastry Murder
Author: Leslie Meier
Series: Lucy Stone Mystery #21
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Books
No. of pages: 288
Published: September 30, 2014
My Rating: 2 Stars
Tinker's Cove is abuzz with excitement when Norah, the queen of daytime TV, comes to town and selects Lucy and her pals to be featured in her "Women Who Make a Difference" episode. In recognition for their charitable work, the ladies and their husbands are awarded a dream vacation in Paris, complete with classes at Le Cooking School with renowned pastry chef Larry Bruneau. But their bon voyage is cut short when Lucy discovers the chef in a pool of blood on the second day of class... If she's going to enjoy her vacation, she'll have to unpack her sleuthing skills and clear her name. But will she be able to track down a killer more elusive than the perfect macaron?
Although I haven't been as enamored with the Lucy Stone series as I was when I began, I still cannot stop reading these little cozy mysteries. In this entry, Lucy and her friends, as well as their husbands, have won a dream trip to Paris. This works out on two ends. For one thing, Elizabeth is going to school in Paris, so Lucy gets to see how she is doing, and doesn't hold back dispensing motherly advice. Secondly, which is something that never fails in these books, Lucy gets to attempt to solve yet another murder, or two.
Don't expect a leisurely stroll down the Champs-Élysées, or visiting the Eiffel Tower. The Louvre? Nope. Instead, expect a near-constant bickering between Lucy and husband Bill. And, after over twenty book, Bill is still a jerk. I would rather like to see that he is a supportive husband, but I don't think we will ever see that. Then there is Lucy's apparent shock that her daughter has a sex life, and her decision to correct her on that matter.
In true course for Leslie Meier, there had to be a plot coincidence regarding murder. In this case, there was a near-miss with a chef being stabbed, then he is indeed killed. Good, Lucy gets to work. Then there was another murder. The group run into quite a bit of trouble when their passports are taken so attention is given to that. Despite the ever-present trouble Lucy got into while trying to get to the bottom of things, she, simply put, didn't. After all, she was on Parisian soil and they did have to get back home...
Despite my disappointment, this was a quick read and I do plan on finishing the series, because, by far, I really have been enjoying it. The next book in the series is Candy Corn Murder.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I started writing in the late ‘80s when I was attending graduate classes at Bridgewater State College. I wanted to become certified to teach high school English and one of the required courses was Writing and the Teaching of Writing. My professor suggested that one of the papers I wrote for that course was good enough to be published and I sent it off to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine’s Department of First Stories. I got $100 for the story and I’ve been writing ever since. The teaching, however, didn’t work out.
My books draw heavily on my experience as a mother of three and my work as a reporter for various weekly newspapers on Cape . My heroine, Lucy Stone, is a reporter in the fictional town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, where she lives in an old farmhouse (quite similar to mine on Cape Cod!) with her restoration carpenter husband Bill and four children. As the series has progressed the kids have grown older, roughly paralleling my own family. We seem to have reached a point beyond which Lucy cannot age–my editor seems to want her to remain forty-something forever, though I have to admit I personally am dying to write “Menopause is Murder!”
I usually write one Lucy Stone mystery every year and as you can tell, my editor likes me to feature the holidays in my books. Of course Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and my newest mystery “Eggnog Murder,” is included in an anthology with two other Christmas novellas by Barbara Ross and Lee Hollis. I’ve long been a fan of the classic English country house mystery, and was a faithful watcher of “Downton Abbey,” so I couldn’t resist trying to write one. I think I succeeded rather well, if I do say so myself, with “British Manor Murder,” which came out in October, 2016.
My books are classified as “cozies” but a good friend insists they are really “comedies of manners” and I do enjoy expressing my view of contemporary American life.
Now that the kids are grown — we have five fabulous grandchildren — my husband and I are enjoying dividing our time between Braintree and Cape Cod, along with our cat, Sylvester.