Arch concept humor, deliberately paced yet weirdly discordant—exactly the sort of thing that will appeal to readers who like...
A secret-hoarding caterer is frozen to death inside a wealthy client’s walk-in freezer: an English-translation debut that sounds like, but emphatically isn’t, a case for Hercule Poirot.
Nor for any other fictional detective either, since children’s author Posadas begins her story with its ending: The night peerless pastry cook Nestor Chaffino’s natural buoyancy turns to peevishness and finally terror when he finds himself locked inside the cold room at the Lilies, Ernesto Teldi’s house on the Costa del Sol. Instead of unleashing a sleuth, Posadas charts the gravely wacky incidents that led up to Nestor’s final frozen dessert and the secrets he collected along with his prized recipes. Which of them led to his murder? Was it something he knew about the checkered career of Ernesto Teldi before he settled into the safe groove of an art dealer? Or about the suicide years ago of Adela Teldi’s sister Soledad during an intimate visit to her sister and her brother-in-law? Or about the motorcycle death years before that of Eddie Trias, whose grieving sister Chloe survived to become Nestor’s unpaid kitchen hand and his waiter Carlos Garcia’s lover? Or about the incorrigible fondness Ernesto’s friend, the magistrate Serafin Tous, has for beautiful young men? Or about the clairvoyant Madame Longstaffe’s advice to Carlos about how to find his love and her prediction that Nestor didn’t have to worry about the lung cancer he was convinced would kill him? It all sounds very mysterious, but Posadas is writing a pastiche rather than a whodunit, beginning with the twist that the “little indiscretions” Nestor prizes so highly really are cooking secrets rather than his friends’ dirty laundry.Arch concept humor, deliberately paced yet weirdly discordant—exactly the sort of thing that will appeal to readers who like that sort of thing, as half a million readers in 12 languages reportedly have so far.
Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2003
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2003
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.
A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
Pub Date: March 17, 2020
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by Anthony Doerr ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 6, 2014
Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2014
New York Times Bestseller
Pulitzer Prize Winner
National Book Award Finalist
Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.
In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.
Pub Date: May 6, 2014
Page Count: 448
Review Posted Online: March 5, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014
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