The Sarah backstory: I stumbled across cozy mysteries some months ago when I discovered Kobo does a magical, magical thing: free ebooks. Free. Whole stories, just waiting to be downloaded. Since they were free, I went on a downloading spree – still do on occasion – and today the shelves of my digital bookcase have around 2300 eBooks. I’ve solemnly avowed myself to not download one more until I’ve seriously shrunken my Unread section.
This week I’m covering Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle.
The cozy mysteries suit me better than the Hardboiled Hardbacked Mysteries. They’re light, easy reads. Perfect after a long day of work.
My summary: In a sleepy, picturesque village where murders are generally not commonplace, a chef who drives like a madman and his loyal sidekick “assist” the local police in finding a murderer. Shenanigans ensue.
The story unfolds neatly in the way of changing weather/seasons to mark time changing, thankfully. None of this on-the-clock business here. I think that was my biggest gripe about the first book I reviewed.
Plot: Can tend to be a touch wacky in places but there is a method to the madness. My favourite kind, really. Unfolds as you would expect a murder mystery – the murder happens, plucky hero sniffs out clues and interrogates people (in this case with delicious baked goods – yes please) before some final clue snaps into place or piece of happenstance occurs and the Villain Is Revealed.
Character development: starts from the ground up. Arthur, the sidekick, is not just a sidekick. The cheffing staff are given gentle backstories and you’re not overwhelmed with a Personality Party either. Instead of an information-pile, you’re given threads of it here and there. You pick up details as you read along.
Two main characters are given equal screen-time. The rest of the supporting cast are there, often enough to not interfere but not so little that you flip back 25 pages thinking “Who the hell are you?” and also helping the plot move along nicely. I hate disturbing my reading time with flipping back, so this pleases me. Also! There are two pet animals, one dog and one pig (the cover-star) and both of them are given some personality.
Title and cover. Cute. Obviously a pun on trouble, but also you’d have to read the story to see the full pun.The cover itself is cute, a stylized pig against what looks like a checkered blanket (or in more likelihood, a tablecloth – not in a weird way.)
Takes me a couple of hours reading. Using last week’s scale of Netflix, there was no Netflix involved in my latest reading. Just music, and if I paused reading it was to rest my eyes from the bright computer screen.
Overall? 4 stars. J. A. Lang has a great voice for this kind of mystery, weaving in bits of dry humour and sneaking in an occasional pun. Quick, light to read – the mystery element of course is the most important here, and I didn’t see the murderer coming until near the reveal. Not who I thought.
Food comparison: Roast beef sandwich. Fits neatly and undeniably into the genre, some distinguishing flavours from others of its kind. Some people like it, others don’t. Makes a good snack or maybe a light meal.