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Mastering the Art of French Murder (An American in Paris Mystery #1) by Colleen Cambridge: A Book Review

Mastering the Art of French Murder (An American in Paris Mystery #1)

Author: Colleen Cambridge

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery & Suspense

Publisher: Kensington 

Release Date: 2023

Pages: 272

Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: As Paris rediscovers its joie de vivre, Tabitha Knight, recently arrived from Detroit for an extended stay with her French grandfather, is on her own journey of discovery. Paris isn’t just the City of Light; it’s the city of history, romance, stunning architecture . . . and food. Thanks to her neighbor and friend Julia Child, another ex-pat who’s fallen head over heels for Paris, Tabitha is learning how to cook for her Grandpère and Oncle Rafe.

     Between tutoring Americans in French, visiting the market, and eagerly sampling the results of Julia’s studies at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, Tabitha’s sojourn is proving thoroughly delightful. That is, until the cold December day they return to Julia’s building and learn that a body has been found in the cellar. Tabitha recognizes the victim as a woman she’d met only the night before, at a party given by Julia’s sister, Dort. The murder weapon found nearby is recognizable too—a knife from Julia’s kitchen.

     Tabitha is eager to help the investigation, but is shocked when Inspector Merveille reveals that a note, in Tabitha’s handwriting, was found in the dead woman’s pocket. Is this murder a case of international intrigue, or something far more personal? From the shadows of the Tour Eiffel at midnight, to the tiny third-floor Child kitchen, to the grungy streets of Montmartre, Tabitha navigates through the city hoping to find the real killer before she or one of her friends ends up in prison . . . or worse.

     My Review: Tabitha has just arrived in Paris from Detroit to live with her grandfather. She quickly befriends an American expat named Julia Child, who is currently learning how to cook French food. One day, Tabitha and Julia find a body in Julia’s cellar. The police immediately suspect that Julia is the murderer. In order to clear Julia’s name, Tabitha sets out to find the real killer. As she investigates, Tabitha discovers a conspiracy is taking place under her nose. Can Tabitha expose the conspiracy before she becomes in danger and be able to clear Julia’s name?

     I found Tabitha to be a frustrating protagonist. I like how she has a passion for mysteries. However, I did not find her to be a clever heroine. She was very reckless and exposed too much information to those she suspected. She puts her trust in the wrong people and distrusts those she should have trusted. She made many careless decisions that often got her into dangerous situations. Therefore, I found her to be very disappointing. I was hoping for a smart and competent protagonist. Sadly, I got one of the silliest amateur detectives that I have encountered in cozy historical mysteries.

     Overall, this novel is about friendship, family, and conspiracies. I did like several other characters, especially Julia Child, her grandfather, and uncle. The mystery was very predictable and had no surprises. Still, I enjoyed the novel. It was very light and fast-paced and made a fun reading for a Sunday afternoon. I was also glad that there was no romance, though it hinted that there may be one in future installments. Thus, if you are a fan of cozy historical mysteries, you should definitely give this a try. I am looking forward to the sequel! I recommend this for fans of Death Below Stairs, Of Manners and Murder, and A Poisonous Journey!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



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