Idwal Jones is in his element here -- a story that seems a palatable blend of M.F.K. Fisher and Benelmans -- gourmet turned novelist, in a story of a sailor who on the very edge of achieving his goal as first officer of a Mediterranean trading vessel, whose passing spell of homesickness takes him back to Vence where his ""way with a sauce"" persuades a gambling English baroness to invest in his future as a chef. We share in his adventures behind the scenes at the Falsan d'Or in Paris, while he advances, now slow, now fast, through the intricacies of soaps and sauces to the role of acting chief chef. There's that sense of exotic mystery, shared by an inner circle of experts -- an occasional tantalizing sharing of secrets with recipes which are out of this world of rationing; there's a sense too of people, the coterie of the choice haunts of gourmets, and the men who wielded the magic wand; there's humor and anecdote and a tenuous pattern of a way of life that will inevitably return, though it can never be quite the same. Read not for the plot -- which is scarcely visible -- but for the flavor, the wit, the spice.