Thursday, April 15, 2010

Toast Mortem-Claudia Bishop

Toast Mortem
Claudia Bishop
Berkley, Jun 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780425230282

When her husband Myles the investigator went somewhere in the Middle East on a government assignment, his wife Sarah “Quill” Quilliam-McHale returns to her rooms at the Inn at Hemlock Falls. She is the owner and manager with her half-sister Meg who is also the chef. It is Meg who is upset due to her gourmet meals being ignored as everyone is dining at the La Bonne Goute Cuklinary Arts Academy whose owner Bernard Le Vasque wrote the bestselling cookbook Brilliance in the Kitchen and had a five year run on TV as a master chef.

Bernard is an arrogant peacock who believes he can get away with anything he desires. He asks Meg to work for him, but she in a rage throws a sharp meat cleaver at the pompous chef. Meg is arrested, but get’s out on bail. The sisters steal their rival’s pastry chef Clarissa Sparrow to work at the Inn. Levesque gets even by arranging dirty tricks to drive the innkeepers crazy. When Qull goes the Academy, she finds his murdered corpse. The police find evidence to arrest Clarissa, but her sibling employers believe she is innocent so set out to prove so; even dodging bullets to achieve their goal.

The latest Inn at Hemlock Falls mystery is a fun tale that has a sort of throwback feel to when Quill was not married as Myles is away for most of the exciting purebred amateur sleuth story line. The victim is vile so much so that seemingly everyone at his Academy, even his bookkeeping wife, loathes him; thus suspects abound. Series fans will appreciate the antics of the mom and the chef as they set out to find a killer.

Harriet Klausner

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