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Bond, author of the Paddington (Bear) series and other children's books, presents his first novel for adults: a ""gastronomic mystery"" that offers a hapless gourmet-detective (dim echoes of Peter Sellers' Clouseau), a cute canine sidekick, silly tidbits of sex-farce--but very little in the way of mystery. Aristide Pample-mousse, formerly of the Suret‚, is now an undercover restaurant-reviewer for Le Guide--and his current assignment is the renowned Hotel-Restaurant La Lagoustine in St. Castille. Soon, however, Pamplemousse is distracted from the super cuisine by escalating mayhem. He's served a nasty plastic head instead of Poularde de Bresse en Vessie Royale. Someone peppers his leg with a shotgun-blast, tries to run him down with a car, etc. The Mafia? But why? Or are the attacks really aimed, perhaps, at another hotel guest? (There's a wealthy, unfortunate young man with two hooks instead of hands--who fears that he's the real victim.) Well, this puzzle is eventually sorted out, more or less. But most of the attention here goes instead to Pamplemousse's more farfetched mishaps: he foolishly pretends to be a man with two wooden legs; he is virtually raped by the hoteller's wife, who's into sandpaper; he escapes her clutches with help from an inflatable, wooden-legged male sex-doll, complete with ""pressure-operated membre""; and he temporarily loses doggie-sidekick Potatoes Frites--from whose whimsical viewpoint some of this flimsy story is told. A few smiles, a good deal of campiness in dubious taste, and a swank bill-of-fare: for selected palates only.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1985
Publisher: Beaufort