“Every woman should have a blowtorch”: New crime and mystery titles


Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.

Julia Child

One of this month’s recently acquired crime and mystery titles is Mastering the art of French murder by Colleen Cambridge in which our intrepid sleuth is the fictional best friend of the true life T.V. chef , author, and all-round early television celebrity Julia Child.

Julia Child was a larger-than-life person who brought the intricacies of French cooking to a mainstream American audience through her T.V show which was a very early version of the cookery programme  hosted by a celebrity chef format.

Whilst living with her husband Paul in France she fully discovered her love of French cuisine — she reportedly considered her first meal at the legendary French restaurant La Couronne in Rouen a life-changing revelation, “an opening up of the soul and spirit”. She went on to study French cookery at the World-famous Cordon Bleu cookery school in Paris, and along with French chefs Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, she co-wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1, in  1961 which became a publishing sensation in America and lead to a craze for French cooking in that country.

The success of the book lead to Julia being invited to host one of the first ever TV cookery programmes. The French Chef debuted in 1962, turned her into a huge star and went on to run nationally for ten years. It was a ground-breaking show in many ways including being the first ever TV programme to be captioned for the deaf. It was Julia’s infectious enthusiasm, endearing personality and unaffected manner that made her and the show such a success. The show won both Emmy and Peabody awards and led to Julia being awarded the French Legion of Honour “the highest French honour” in 2000. Julia Child passed away aged 91 in 2004, and her kitchen is now on display at the Smithsonian‘s National Museum of American History.

We have several items in the catalogue that relate to Julia Child, including Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volumes one and two and the excellent biopic film Julie & Julia.

Catalogue search – Julia Child

Have a browse of the new mysteries this month below:

Mastering the art of French murder / Cambridge, Colleen
“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 neighbour 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.  That is, until the cold December day they return to Julia’s building and learn that a body has been found in the cellar….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder in postscript / Winters, Mary
“Amelia Amesbury — widow, mother, and countess — is bored, crushingly so. In an attempt to fill the days, Amelia becomes an “agony aunt” for a London penny paper, doling out advice on fashion, relationships, and manners. But when a lady’s maid writes Amelia to ask for advice when she believes her mistress has been murdered-and then ends up a victim herself-Amelia is determined to solve the case. With the help of her best friend and a handsome marquis, Amelia begins to piece together the puzzle, but as each new thread of inquiry ends with a different suspect, the investigation grows ever more daunting.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Better the blood / Bennett, Michael
“Hana Westerman is a tenacious Māori detective juggling single motherhood and the pressures of her career in Auckland’s Central Investigation Branch. When she’s led to a crime scene by a mysterious video, she discovers a man hanging in a secret room. Hana and her team work to track down the killer, searching for New Zealand’s first serial killer.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook – Better the Blood

Nettleblack, or, The pioneering misadventures of the Dallyangle Division, as compiled in a motley series of rather frantic documents / Reeve, Nat
“A neo-Victorian queer farce that follows a runaway heir/ess and an organisation of crime-fighting misfits as they struggle with the misdeeds besieging a rural English town.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Force of hate / Bartlett, Graham
“When a firebomb attack at a Brighton travellers’ site kills women and children, Chief Superintendent Jo Howe has strong reason to believe the new, dubiously elected, far-right council leader is behind the murders.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The isolated séance / Westerson, Jeri
“London, 1895. Former Baker Street Irregular Tim Badger opens his own consulting detective agency with his partner, Benjamin Watson, and the duo take on their first case when a man is murdered at a séance. Are they ready to follow the example of their great mentor, Sherlock Holmes, and navigate dark secrets and grave danger to catch a killer?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

White riot / Thomas, Joe
“1978: The National Front is gaining ground in Hackney. To counter their influence, anti-fascist groups launch the Carnival Against Racism in Victoria Park. Observing the event is Detective Constable Patrick Noble, charged with investigating racist attacks in the area and running Spycops in both far-right and left wing groups. As Noble’s superiors are drawn further into political meddling, he’s inveigled into a plot against the embattled Labour government. 1983: Under a disciplinary cloud after a Spycops op ended in tragedy, Noble is offered a reprieve by an old mentor. He is dispatched in the early hours to Stoke Newington police station, where a young black man has died in suspicious circumstances…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hard rain / Allen, Samantha Jayne
“In shock and found clinging to a tree branch, Bethany Richter is pulled from thrashing floodwaters that have decimated the town of Garnett, Texas and killed a dozen others. Six months after solving the murder of a local waitress, Annie McIntyre is working as an apprentice P.I. when she’s handed her first solo case: uncover the identity of the man who rescued Bethany before he was swept downriver. When Annie’s search turns up a different victim — shot dead, not drowned — Annie questions if the hero they seek is actually a killer. Flexing her new skills while relying on the wisdom of her eccentric, ex-cop grandfather, the case leads Annie into a web of drug dealers, preachers, and wayward drifters trying to make sense of life after a disaster…” (Adapted from Catalogue)