Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book Review: A Cookbook Conspiracy by Kate Carlisle

I am a little bit ambivalent about the title because while the book is a mystery, I am not sure that the term bibliophile is really appropriate to this book. It is nowhere near as focused on books at Eco’s In the Name of the Rose. To me this a very good cozy mystery that plays in gourmet cooking circles and an old cookbook is central to the plot. But this is really the only criticism I have about this book. 

In the story, we get to follow Brooklyn Wainwright along as she tries to perfect a traditional dessert (it will take some time to perfect even simple sounding dishes). Unlike her sister Savannah, Brooklyn is not professional chef. Moreover, she gets seriously side-tracked when a murder happens during her stay in San Francisco.
Both sisters are on the West Coast because one of Savannah’s old classmates from the Cordon Bleu school in Paris has invited the sisters to California for his new restaurant’s gala opening. And Savannah, who used to be romantically linked to Baxter Cromwell, the restaurant owner, thinks it would be nice to restore an old gift from Baxter to new glory. And old it is in more ways than realized, this cookbook that Brooklyn is supposed to restore for Baxter. 

Brooklyn immediately realizes that this book is a true antiquity and definitely more than just old. But Savannah will not hear any of her concerns and presents the restored book to Baxter. Shortly thereafter, Baxter is found dead and Savannah is the main suspect. So as the responsible sister, Brooklyn jumps into action and seeks to clear her sisters name, find the old book and identify the real killer. 

This is an entertaining cozy mystery that weaves the professional cooking process (and Brooklyn’s amateur attempts) into a good old-fashioned whodunit.

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