Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nibble Your Way Through Louise Penny's Latest

Before you begin to read Louise Penny’s snappy mystery, The Brutal Telling, make sure your fridge is well stocked. And I don’t mean potato chips and coke either. Louise’s book is chock full of high class nosh and your desire for good food starts on page eight with a croissant and a latte in the tiny Quebec village of Three Pines, the setting of the novel, and proceeds, a page later, to the Chief Inspector’s house where a brunch of scramble eggs, fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit, croissants and confiture is being enjoyed by the family.

Before long a body is discovered in the bistro at Three Pines and then the eating really begins. Everyone stops next door at the boulangerie for warm fresh bread before tucking into the fettuccini with shrimp and scallops sautéed in garlic and olive oil. The dry white wine is poured.

Unfortunately, the beloved bistro must close for the investigation, but the inhabitants of Three Pines get by on fresh salad from the local gardens and sandwiches of chicken, Brie and pesto.

Who in Three Pines did the deed? Many odd characters live nearby and the locals waste no time getting together to discuss the affair around the old plank table laden with corn on the cob from the garden and barbequed salmon.

By this time you have gained ten pounds but you can’t put the book down. You are on the scent with kindly Chief Inspector Gamache working out your own solutions.

The cops are also on the case fortified with a good breakfast of pain dore, sliced strawberries and bananas, maple syrup and back bacon. But at this point, unfortunately for your waistline, the bistro reopens and many more delicious meals and snacks ensue.

A romp of a book with a creepy mystery, snarky characters, a homespun setting and, of course, a laden table will keep you turning the pages to the end. By the time the villain gets his just desserts, you’ll barely be able to get out of your chair and make it to the fridge.

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