Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Ana T. Drew and her cozy mystery novel, The Murderous Macaron.
Julie has her freedom, a dream job as a pastry chef, and a corpse growing cold on her floor…
Welcome to Beldoc, a small town in the heart of Provence, imbued with lavender and fresh baked bread! You can idle around, or you can puzzle out a murder mystery.
When a man dies on her watch in her pâtisserie, newly divorced chef Julie Cavallo is dismayed. It isn’t that she’s a suspect. The local gendarmerie captain signs off the death as a natural event. A heart attack. But for a reason she won’t discuss, Julie suspects Maurice Sauve was poisoned. What’s a girl to do? She’ll ignore the risk and seek justice for Maurice on her own!
Well, not quite on her own. Julie’s eccentric grandmother, her snarky sister and her geeky sous chef are keen to help. The team’s amateurism is a challenge. But there’s also the pesky matter of no evidence, no clues, and soon, no body. The murder—if it was a murder—was planned and executed flawlessly.
Can a small-town baker solve the perfect crime?
“The Murderous Macaron” is a twisty whodunnit mystery perfect for fans of Janet Evanovich, Alexander McCall Smith, Jana DeLeon, and Lilian Jackson Braun.
The Murderous Macaron is a fun read, sure to please fans of cozy mysteries and lovers of well-meaning and sometimes bumbling amateur sleuths. (I do happen to be one such fan.) Julie’s bakery is the focal point of this gentle who-done-it, and there is just enough of France woven into the story to appeal to lovers of travel as well.
What I liked best: Simply put, this is an enjoyable book. I appreciate that it was an easy read, well paced and well written. The somewhat complex solutions to the case were believable yet not obvious, providing a satisfying ending.
My favorite thing was Drew’s stellar cast of secondary characters. Grandma is great. I do love feisty old women and she delivers. Sister Flo, the artist, is equally fun, and I could have done with more of the geeky sous chef as well. I’m not a huge dog fan, but I even enjoyed Lady, the sleuth dog who joins the team.
What I liked least: There is a fascinating backstory here, dribbled out in small pieces and never fully dealt with. It is difficult to reconcile the light tone of the novel with an unexplained traumatic family death, an estranged twin with unusual powers, and Julie’s issues with both of the above. Yet, it all comes up often enough to make it hard to ignore.
The reader wants answers. I suppose the author intends to weave more explanations into future novels, but as regarded these issues, I felt cheated at the end. Plus, the only part receiving a real explanation (why Julie doesn’t like her twin) is just odd.
However, Drew’s story was charming enough for me to put that frustration aside, along with my current irritation with the gluten-free world, brought on by a husband who’s decided to go gluten free for no real reason, forcing me to abandon half of my favorite recipes. That’s hardly Ana T. Drew’ fault, and I resolved early on not to hold Julie’s gluten-free bakery against her.
So, I’d be happy to read more books in this series and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery novel.
About the Author
Ana T. Drew is the evil mastermind behind the recent series of murders in the fictional French town of Beldoc. When she is not writing cozy mysteries or doing mom-and-wife things, she can be found watching “The Rookie” to help her get over “Castle”. She lives in Paris but her heart is in Provence.
Find the Author at
Visit the author’s website ana-drew.com for a free cookbook and a game!
Yes, there is a giveaway
Ana T. Drew will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.
My Favorite Excerpt
I sit down across a round table from the gendarme, Capitaine Adinian, and begin my sad tale of yesterday’s macaron-making workshop that didn’t go as planned.
He listens, barely taking any notes.
When I get to the part where I asked my students to mix the ingredients I’d prepared for them, Capitaine Adinian leans forward. “Who prepared and laid out the ingredients?”
“Shortly before the class began.”
“Did you leave the shop, even for a brief time, after you had everything ready for the class?” he asks.
He scribbles something in his little notebook. “Please continue.”
“Most participants struggled to get their batter to stiffen,” I say. “Some gave up, claiming it was impossible without an electric mixer.”
“Did Maurice Sauve give up?”
“Quite the contrary. He whisked unrelentingly, switching hands but never pausing. He was the first to complete the task.”
Capitaine Adinian writes that down.
“I gave him one of these.” I show Adinian the remaining badges that Flo had made for the workshop.
“Great Baking Potential,” he reads aloud.
“Then I went around with his bowl and had everyone admire the perfect consistency of the batter.”
“Did anything stand out or seem unusual at that point?”
I gaze up at the ceiling, picturing the scene of me praising Maurice Sauve’s firm, satiny batter, students giving him their thumbs-up, and him smiling, visibly stoked. But he isn’t just smiling, he’s also… Panic squeezing my throat, I zero in on his face. He’s panting.
Oh. My. God.
I clap my hand over my mouth. “What if he’d whisked too hard? What if that exertion caused his heart attack?”
“An intense workout, especially at freezing temperatures, can trigger a heart attack,” Adinian says.
“He whisked intensely.”
“Madame Cavallo, I’ve never heard of anyone whisking themselves to an early grave.”