Monday, July 20, 2015
Blog Tour and Review: Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes by J.A. Lang
I'm honored and thrilled to be participating in this blog tour. Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes is the second book in the Chef Maurice series. My review of the first book, Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle, was one of my first posts on this blog and the only book to receive a 5 star review from me thus far!
The cozy mystery series that started it all for me was the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton, which also happens to be set in the Cotswolds. If you are a lover of M.C. Beaton, I believe you'll love J.A. Lang as well. Even though this was only the second book, it already felt like reconnecting with old friends, which is how a great read should feel, especially when it's a cozy.
In Wrath, Chef Maurice and his good friend Arthur are members of a newly formed Wine Appreciation Club and are invited to a wine tasting/dinner at the home of Sir William Burton-Trent. Much to everyone's surprise, before dinner can be served Sir William is found dead in his basement. As in the first book, PC Lucy is called in to investigate, but Chef Maurice, with the reluctant help of Arthur, end up doing some sleuthing of their own and ultimately Chef Maurice solves the mystery.
There were two minor cons to this book; one was that, though it is a short read at 169 pages, it took about 30 pages to really get going. For a book of its length, I expected it to get into the action quickly and maintain that pace throughout the entire book. Secondly, the first book was really jam packed with laugh out loud humor. There was absolutely the same sense of humor in this book too, but not nearly as much of it. Obviously when you are writing or reading a series, not every book is going to be absolute perfection, plus every person has their own unique tastes and what I find less enjoyable, others may find more enjoyable.
I will say, once the investigation got going, the pace and the humor did pick up considerably and the last half of the book was noticeably better than the first half and I had trouble putting it down. There was a cute sub-plot involving Patrick and PC Lucy that added enjoyment without taking over the mystery. There were also some really fun elements to this particular plot, including hidden staircases, family secrets, and of course, lots of wine!
I admit, I guessed wrong as to who the murderer was. There were plenty of clues, but also a lot of red herrings! The red herrings definitely threw me off, but I did not mind. I enjoyed being surprised at who the culprit was at the end and I thought the ending was extremely well done.
I give this book a 4 out of 5 and would definitely recommend it. If you'd like to learn more about J.A. Lang and/or her books, you can visit her website at http://www.jalang.net. Also, from now through July 30th, you can join her newsletter for a chance to win a signed copy of Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes ;)