> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review: Minced, Marinated, and Murdered by Noël Balen and Vanessa Barrot , Trans by Anne Trager
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Book Review: Minced, Marinated, and Murdered by Noël Balen and Vanessa Barrot , Trans by Anne Trager

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge,from Le French Book, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it,  all opinions are my own.

Today I have a treat for you- the beginning of the new Gourmet Crimes mystery series,
from our favorite French mystery writers:

Minced, Marinated, and Murdered cover

This is the first in the Gourmet Crimes series, a new culinary mystery series with mouth-watering excursions into the regions of France. It's a deliciously authentic mystery novel offering a well-balanced blend of gastronomy and suspense. Author Noël Balen, who also pens the made-for-TV Winemaker Detective Series, has teamed up with Vanessa Barrot and created a new female sleuth for this series, which combines local reality and fiction, historical fact and culinary anecdotes, recipes and regional products, providing armchair travel, culinary delight, and mystery.

A routine assignment in Lyon, France's traditional capital of gourmet food, turns bitter for food writer Laure Grenadier when a beloved chef is found murdered. A wave of panic follows with a second death, and Laure sets out to find the truth. As she reviews the city's traditional bistros, interviews the town's best chefs and local food producers, and shares stories and culinary lore with her photographer Paco Alvarez, she uncovers secrets and rivalries. But will she find the murderer before the city loses more of its master chefs?

About the Book from the Authors:

Can you explain how you chose your main characters?
We wanted a female sleuth as the main character because the first memories we all generally have about food are linked to our mother’s cooking. Laure Grenadier is a fortysomething, dynamic, urban woman with high standards in her personal and professional life. Her sidekick, Paco, provides another perspective on French cooking and, of course, adds to the suspense and depth of the story.

Many of the restaurants you mention really exist. How do you choose the ones you include? 
We test them. We spend a lot of time with the chefs, talking about how they see their job and about their cooking philosophy. We are struck by the humanity and humility of the chefs we speak to, and their awareness of being part of a lineage, a link in a global chain, along with those who produce the food. We also hear about the darker sides, the sterile rivalries, the toughness of the job and the cruelty you sometimes find behind the scenes.


I love all of Noel's books, so I knew I was going to love this book, and no surprise, I had to read it in one sitting! While not a technical team, Laure and Paco work well together in finding out what is going on behind the scenes of the restaurants they are in Lyon to interview and shoot. I have to admit I had figured out the who before the characters, but not all ff the motive- that was worth reading til the end. The book will leave you starving, as the food descriptions are SO amazing! Add to that some descriptions of the beauty of the city of Lyon, and you'll be wanting to catch the next flight to France! This is the perfect 'travel from the armchair' book and the perfect beginning to a new series! Once again, Anne's translation is perfect, and you don't feel any loss of the story. If you're looking for inspiration this Spring, be sure to read this book! i can't wait for the next book in the series!

About the Authors/ Translators:

Noel Balen lives in Paris, where he shares his time between writing, making records, and lecturing on music. He plays bass, is a music critic and has authored a number of books about musicians in addition to his novel and short-story writing. He has authored over twenty-five mysteries.

Vanessa Barrot is Noel's wife, a corporate lawyer whose love of gastronomy literally runs in the family with her restaurateur grandparents and great-grandparents, who owned restaurants in Paris..Both she and Noel are passionate about food and mysteries, and together they created the Gourmet Crimes series.

Anne Trager has a passion for crime fiction that equals her love of France. After years working in translation, publishing and communications, she founded Le French Book to bring French mysteries and thrillers to more readers across the English-speaking world.

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