Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle by J.A. Lang
Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle by J.A. Lang is a cozy murder mystery which takes place in the English countryside. Chef Maurice Manchot, Head Chef and owner of Le Cochon Rouge, is positively insulted when his usual supplier of mushrooms, forager Ollie Meadows, is late delivering the restaurant’s supply of mushrooms. Taking it upon himself to track Ollie down, Chef Maurice first learns that Ollie is missing, and then later discovers him dead. A love of truffles, a penchant for being where he shouldn’t, and a pignapping will ensure that Chef Maurice will land himself right in the middle of this murder investigation!
Something you should know about me; I am a huge fan of cozy murder mysteries – whether they be Christie-esque, clever and full of intrigue, or the more modern cozy with lots of fluff and puns galore.
By looking at the title of this book, I’m sure you can take a stab at which of those two categories it falls under.
The writing was done well, only a few minor errors on the grammar front and the sentences flowed well. My only real issue was that there did seem to be a lot of jumping around, so it can take a minute to readjust to the plotline and remember just who is doing what. The dialogue was also handled well. Where Chef Maurice is French, there could have been an overabundance of dialect and whole phrases done in French which can become unnecessarily complicated for this kind of read. The author, J.A. Lang, instead approaches the ‘French accent’ with sentences that aren’t always grammatically correct and with a few French words thrown in here and there, none of which distracted me. Actually, the way the dialogue was written, I could clearly hear all of the accents, even though there was never any heavy dialect included.
The plot was different than a lot of other cozies that I’ve read and was very interesting. I liked that the romance aspect wasn’t actually between the two main characters (not that that’s bad, it’s just nice to switch things up every now and then), and that various aspects of the plot pulled in a lot of secondary characters, allowing you to get to know them better.
Speaking of characters, I loved these ones! They were all very entertaining and had such distinct personalities. Even the secondary characters were great and Chef Maurice’s larger than life personality brings it all together. Their interactions played a huge role in why this book was so enjoyable, and the development of all of the characters was done well. I felt like I knew them all by the end of the book and they kept me wanting to read more.
As for the mystery aspect of this cozy, I did enjoy it. I had it all figured out a little too soon though and wished some things had been just a little more subtle. However, the big reveal left me with a lot of questions on the plausibility (I had to do some googling after and it seems while not likely, it is in fact a possibility!) and I feel overall it was all done rather well. There’s no waiting to get to the mystery as it starts right away (something I love) and all of my questions on the who, what, why, where, when, and how were answered.
Though I was able to predict the murderer (possibly due to the abundance of mystery books read and shows watched), I found that the book was an incredibly entertaining read, mainly due to the great characters. It’s something light and quick to sit down with on a rainy day or sunny afternoon and I’m looking forward to reading the next Chef Maurice mystery!
Entertainment Value: 4.5/5
Average Overall Rating: 4.1/5
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