Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blowback-Peter May

Peter May
Poisoned Pen, Mar 1 2011, $24.95
ISBN: 9781590588413

In 2003 in France, top chef Marc Fraysse has called for a press conference. Because Chef Marc is so highly regarded, the world media arrives en masse wondering whether the superstar’s restaurant is about to be downgraded from his three Michelin plateau. Instead someone murders Chef Marc.

In 2010, having resolved four cold cases of the seven included in a bestselling book by journalist Raffin that he bet he could solve, Enzo Macleod works on the murder of the famous chef. He finds the world of superstar haute cuisine cutthroat and competitive with obtaining and maintaining a Michelin Three Star rating absolutely necessary; anything less is professional suicide. Looking at Marc’s personal life he finds the wife, the mistress, the brother and others danced in glee at Marc’s grave. On the professional side, the same rancor exists as everyone loathed the unpredictable and abusive Chef Marc. As he closes in on solving the case by reduction, induction and deduction, the inquiry haunts Enzo by reminding him of his oldest daughter Kirsty’s accusations of desertion. Enzo feels he must go home to Scotland to make amends for deserting his wife Linda, Kirsty and the rest of his family behind two decades ago to start anew in Cahors.

The Fifth of the Enzo Files is a great whodunit that enables the audience to observe the ruthless world of French haute cuisine as anything less than three stars is purgatory. The whodunit is cleverly devised to insure the reader has a horde of viable suspects with means and motives to choose from. Additionally Blowback provides by far the deepest look into Enzo’s past especially his life as a married Scottish professor. Peter May is one of the best mystery writers on the market today (besides the Enzo files, there is the delightful China Thrillers).

Harriet Klausner

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