Death du Jour
What a great idea, a mystery series during the French Revolution when restaurants began, chefs to the aristocrats finding themselves suddenly without employers. Food mysteries are eternally popular, as are history-mysteries, so this combination by a popular author/professional caterer should succeed.
Eighteen-year-old Fanny Delarue is sous-chef in a home in the Place Royale a year after the fall of the Bastille. Revolutionaries have removed the king from Versailles and brought him to the capital. The queen, with him, also suffered the attack of the March of the Women in which Fanny’s mother participated. And during which event a horde of jewelry disappeared. Then people in the Place Royale begin to die, starting with the chef of a neighboring kitchen.
Many details thrill the historical reader, for instance how Fanny buys lettuce at Les Halles in a box of sand, still growing for maximum freshness. However, a few quibbles keep me from enjoying the book perfectly. In particular, nothing should be more integral to the food-history-mystery than a perfect sense of the food and its seasons. So we have strawberries in November? And zucchini jumps out like beauty patches among the Parisian mob.