What do you get when you have two authors, Noël Balen a writer and musician with over thirty mystery books to his name, and his corporate lawyer wife Vanessa Barrot who originates from a family of Parisian restaurant owners? The answer is: a great murder mystery story set in Lyon, the second largest city in France, and its gastronomic capital.
Laure Grenadier, managing editor of Plaisirs de Table magazine, and her photographer Paco Alvarez have just arrived at Lyon’s Part-Dieu station on an assignment when they hear of the death of the owner of the Petit Pouce Bouchon restaurant, Jerome Thevenay. A “Bouchon” is a traditional brasserie of Lyon and the book explains the heritage of these restaurants, it makes for a fascinating read.
For Laure the assignment is the perfect opportunity to catch up on old friends, whilst writing an exciting article for the magazine. Keen for copy and photographs the duo have a great time visiting the famous restaurants in the city. They meet the chefs, appreciate their wonderful food, lovingly made using secret recipes handed down through generations. The importance of Les Mères (the mothers) of old in ruling the kitchens is paramount to the traditions and fortune of the city as you’ll find out.
Laure loves Lyon and knows many of its inhabitants in the gastronomic community including the now late Jerome, and his sister Cecile. This close-knit community is devastated not only by his death, but by the manner in which he was killed (you’ll have to read the book to discover more!). However, their devastation turns to fear when another death occurs, and there is talk of a serial killer on the loose.
For Paco who doesn’t know Lyon as well as Laure, and the readers of this book, the tale is a true voyage of discovery. The secrets of Lyon are revealed such as the underground tunnels the locals use to get about quickly, and there are lush descriptions of the beauty and history of the city.
In following this murder mystery, you learn so much about Lyon, including how it was rejuvenated in 1978 when five students redefined the city with the CiteCreation murals, which celebrate Lyon’s history, great chefs and revitalised its residents.
As the plot thickens and yet another chef is murdered, old rumours are remembered, past events recounted, and hearsay runs amok in the kitchens. But will the murderer be caught?
I highly recommend this totally enthralling murder mystery, it is very cleverly written, and I would challenge anyone not to want to visit Lyon and its restaurants after reading it. I know it is on my list of places to see now!
About the authors
This deliciously authentic culinary mystery novel is the first of a new series set in France offering a well-balanced blend of gastronomy and suspense with mouth-watering excursions into the regions of France. Author Noël Balen, who also pens the made-for-TV Winemaker Detective Series, has teamed up with Vanessa Barrot and created a new female sleuth for this series, which combines local reality and fiction, historical fact and culinary anecdotes, recipes and local products, providing armchair travel, culinary delight, and mystery.
Available from Amazon: ISBNs: Trade paperback: 9781939474674 / Ebook: 9781943998029