A Deadly Éclair
Daryl Wood Gerber
Crooked Lane Books (2017)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (3/18)
“A Deadly Éclair” is the first book in the delicious new mystery series called ‘A French Bistro Mystery’ by Daryl Wood Gerber.
Mimi Rousseau had to move back to her hometown Nouvelle Vie, in Napa Valley, after discovering that her late husband left her heavily in debt. A wealthy patron, named Bryan Baker, gives her a helping hand by helping finance her dream of running an inn with a bistro. Her first big event is to be the wedding of a famous actress. This actress is also the daughter of her patron’s half-brother, and Mimi is thrilled to have this opportunity, until her patron is murdered. His body is found near her kitchen with an éclair shoved in his mouth. His death stuns her. It is both emotionally and financially a huge loss. She becomes a person of interest in the case when a notarized letter is discovered in his office. This letter absolves Mimi of any debt, should her patron die. Mimi is determined to prove her innocence and to make sure that the guilty party is caught so that they can pay for what they have done. This mystery is a challenge because many of the guests prefer to keep their secrets hidden. In the meantime, Mimi also develops a budding romance with her sexy wine rep. This situation is complicated because his soon-to-be gorgeous ex-wife is obviously still interested in him.
The author has set “A Deadly Éclair” in Napa Valley, which is the perfect place for a murder mystery that involves good wine and good food. Readers will enjoy the vivid descriptions of this setting. Readers will also find their stomachs growling as delicious meals are paraded through the pages. Fortunately, the author was kind enough to leave a section with recipes in the back of the book. The characters are well developed and add a great deal to the story. They are all colorful, even if they are not all well liked. The author does an excellent job of pointing out their faults and leaving it to the reader to decide if a character will be liked or not.
“A Deadly Éclair” by Daryl Wood Gerber would be a fun selection for a reader’s group. I would even suggest that group members could bring delicious dishes, made from the recipes the author provides, to a potluck where this book will be reviewed. I look forward to reading “A Soufflé of Suspicion,” which is the next book in this series.