Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Grave Gourmet by Alexander Campion ***

"With the consummate petulance endemic to opera divas ..." The is hardly the kind of pedantic verbosity, I want to see as the first sentence of a mystery novel. However, after several pages of this writerly insecurity, Alexander Campion's first novel, The Grave Gourmet, settles down into the mystery formula: insightful detective, multiple suspects and motives, a little violence, a little sex, and a revealing summary that ties everything together (almost).

In this particular case, the detective Capucine , has become bored of financial cases, and is on her first murder. The plot twists includes the jealousies among the rarified staff of 3-star Parisian restaurants, industrial espionage, and traditional love triangles. While the story gives a fascinating view of haute cuisine, in the end this is just another mystery with little that rises above the many mysteries published each year.

This is the first novel and I imagine with time subsequent novel might be less self-conscious with fewer multisyllabic words and flights into metaphoric ecstasy. In between the beginning and the end, I found to an enjoyable read.

1 comment:

bibliochef said...

I felt similarly. See my upcoming review of his new book at Cooking with Ideas --