Lucy Stone usually lets the mysteries come to her quaint hometown of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, but in the 21st installment of the Lucy Stone Mystery series, the popular sleuth is unexpectedly whisked off to the romantic streets of Paris. It’s not a first for Stone, as prolific series author Leslie Meier has sent her on junkets to Manhattan and England on occasion. Still, in French Pastry Murder, she’s a little out of her element. Luckily, the prize trip she’s won includes her husband and friends, and they’re staying near her daughter Elizabeth. It’s like Tinker’s Cove has relocated to France.
It should be a dream come true, but while Stone’s entourage takes a brisk tour of the city’s sights and, more specifically, its tastes—details of the cuisine will make readers feel like they have actually been to the many cafes the group frequent—they may have bitten off more than they can chew. When Stone stumbles on the wounded body of their cooking school instructor, Chef Larry Bruneau, she and her friends find themselves accused and stranded, their passports confiscated by police. The only way out is for Stone to figure out who has stabbed Chef Larry, a job that gets more and more complicated as the pages fly by.
Meier keeps the suspenseful scenes coming, but the mood is never menacing. Instead, Stone’s own optimistic attitude—she just knows she will figure this out—sets the upbeat tone of her investigation. Even when her daughter’s roommate disappears, bringing the killer a little too close for comfort, Stone charges on until the murderer is stopped in his tracks.
A quick Sunday afternoon read, French Pastry Murder pairs intrigue and entertainment to serve up a light but satisfying meal.