- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1st edition (March 7, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425208060
- ISBN-13: 978-0425208069
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,023,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Death du Jour (A Spice Box Mystery) Hardcover – March 7, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
After chronicling Civil War–era New York City in The Spice Box (2005), Temple brings revolutionary Paris to life in her winning second culinary historical. In the summer of 1790, Fanny Delarue, happily employed as an assistant cook in a wealthy household in the Place Royale, is focused on her chores and cooking lessons from Etienne de la Porte, the chef of a neighboring household. Fanny has little interest in the stormy atmosphere hovering over the city since the destruction of the Bastille and the removal of the king and queen from their sumptuous residence at Versailles. When someone stabs Etienne to death, Fanny finds herself in the middle of revolutionary turmoil and a mystery she's determined to solve. A well-constructed plot, an unpredictable ending, authentic historical details and period recipes will please any reader's palate. Temple is also the author of Death by Rhubarb and other titles in her Heaven Lee culinary series. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Fanny Delarue, cook for a rich Parisian family, suffers distress when her culinary mentor is brutally murdered. Fanny determines to unravel the mystery surrounding his death, fearing that if she doesn't solve the riddle of the crime, her position and her future lie in jeopardy. The mystery unfolds against the backdrop of that very brief period of revolutionary euphoria immediately following the fall of the Bastille and before the onset of the Terror. This was the moment when restaurants began proliferating as noble cooks moved out of palaces and chateaus to feed the nascent industrial class. Temple, herself a chef, takes great delight in the historical culinary details, and those of similar taste will follow her savory descriptions. The characters' psychologies may betray some anachronistic treatments, but the historical detail of -eighteenth-century Paris remains faithful. Temple tops off her mystery with a recipe for marinated leeks and two desserts that reflect the period and that may be readily reproduced by a competent cook. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Fanny is conflicted about the changes and frightened by the increasing violence. She, along with others, feesl pressured to demonstrate her commitment to "Equality and Fraternity." Is she truly a revolutionist or a royalist? Her master has fled to Germany, the staff has been dismissed, and her lover, Henri, has mysteriously disappeared. The murders of a neighboring chef and the maitre d'hotel of her master's house, plus the startling discovery of jewels and money hidden in her spice box, increases her alarm. With her own life in danger, she must discover who wants the jewels, and how Henri and perhaps her family are involved.
The dialog and thoughts of the characters seem stilted and too modern for eighteenth century Parisians. An indication of women's political actions and organizations also would have been welcome. However, these slights are more than compensated by the appeal to older students of the character of Fanny and the rich period descriptions. This momentous time truly is brought to life, informing the reader of major Revolution events as well as the lifestyles of Parisian workers.
The author is a caterer, and food and wine critic; thus, there is close detail to the food of the time, how it is prepared, and how eaten. Authentic recipes of eighteenth-century Paris are also included.
There is a lot of political unrest at this time. Then a neighboring chef, Etienne de la Porte, is found dead under suspicious circumstances. She and her head chef, and lover, Henri, had been taking classes from Etienne. He was also Henri's mentor. Soon after Fanny and Henri's boss leaves the area and dismantles his house and lets all the servants go.
Henri and Fanny end up staying at the master's house because Henri has been injured in the unrest. Then Henri disappears. Fanny searches for him and finds herself in some dangerous situations.
Can Fanny find Henri and Etienne's killer? Are they the same person? Can she stay safe while investigating?
This is the second in the Spice Box series. I liked Fanny and Henri. Even though historical mysteries are often hard for me to get into, I don't find that with this series. The author writes in such a way that I almost forget it's a historical mystery. I just get into the mystery. I found this time period to be very interesting. Not something I knew a lot about. I recommend this book.
Fanny is perturbed that she sees the same man nearby over a short period of time. She is disconcerted when he speaks to her, calling out to her by name as if he knows her. Violence comes to the housing complex where Fanny lives, when Chef Etienne who used to work at Versailles is murdered. Shortly thereafter, a mob tries to get into Fanny's home and the master of the house flees for England before the violence escalates. M. Desjadins, the English equivalent of a butler is murdered and Henri persuades Fanny to bury him without telling anyone. When Henri disappears, she is kidnapped and told his life is in her hands. She wonders if the contents of the spice box is linked to the violence and murders, and plans to find out.
France on the eve of the Revolution is vividly portrayed in this exciting historical mystery. The violence is just beginning and readers learn first hand how the citizenry cope in such a volatile political climate. Although not yet out of her teens the heroine is a mature woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. Lou Jane Temple has written a mystery that takes several unexpected twists that leaves reader shocked. This is a most enjoyable who-done-it and why.
I wish that there were more Spice Box mysteries to illuminate other periods the way this book does with the French Revolution.