Someone is killing the most exacting food critics in Paris before they can even file their reviews.
The first victim, Gautier du Fesnay of Le Figaro, ends up facedown in a bowl of ravioles d’homard after he’s shot with a curare-enhanced projectile at heiress Béatrice Mesnagier’s new restaurant Chez Béatrice. The second, Le Figaro’s Jean Monteil, is stabbed with a basting needle as he sits in total darkness struggling to finish the gloppy bill of fare served at Dans Le Noir. The third, Arsène Peroché of Nouvel Observateur, is strangled and his mouth stuffed with his last course and then sewn shut at the ritual celebration of Dîner en Blanc. Clearly, someone has a grudge against food critics. But doesn’t that pretty much include everyone in Paris, certainly every restaurateur in the City of Light? Though she’s assured her boss that she’ll make an arrest within the week, Commissaire Capucine Le Tellier of the Police Judiciare (Crime Fraîche, 2011, etc.) hasn’t a clue who’s guilty, and interrogating the five high-living suspects who were demonstrably on the scene of the first two crimes (tout le monde turned out for the third) offers more badinage and food porn than enlightenment. Even when she allows her intuition to take over, her certainty about whodunit is unsupported by any evidence. Can she end the slaughter before the killer works his way down the list of Parisian food critics to her husband, Alexandre?
Despite the overextended wrap-up, the mystery is as lightweight as the gustatory talk. There are no recipes: You couldn’t prepare the grenadine de veau in a million years.