Posts Tagged ‘Janet Laurence’

The Mermaid's Feast (The Darina Lisle Mysteries Book 10)

This is the tenth and last book in this entertaining mystery series.  Darina Lisle is offered a free cruise round the Norwegian fiords in exchange for doing a cookery demonstration and advising the chef on Scandinavian dishes.  It seems like a good opportunity for Darina and her detective husband William to get away from it all for a fortnight.  But it turns out to be a bit of a busman’s holiday for William when a crew member disappears and it seems as though he could have thrown himself overboard.  Did he fall or was a he pushed?

Darina finds herself left to her own devices when William is asked to help with the investigation. She soon discovers that there are all sorts of tensions between the passengers and some of them have been on the same cruises before.  Can she discover what is going on before William?

This is a well written and interesting crime story with a particularly vicious murderer at the heart of it. I enjoyed the food background and the descriptions of Norwegian scenery as well as life on board a cruise ship.  If you enjoy crime stories without on the page violence and with interesting and informative backgrounds then this series is worth a try.  The books are best read in the order of publication.

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Appetite For Death (The Darina Lisle Mysteries Book 9)

Darina Lisle hears from a childhood friend completely out of the blue. When she realises what Jemima wants her to do she is doubtful about taking on the task.  Jemima wants her to find out the identity of her nephew Rory’s father.  Jemima’s sister, Sophie, died giving birth to him.  She was estranged from her family at the time.  Now the little boy is being cared for in his grandfather’s household.

Then Darina’s newly promoted husband – DCI William Pigram – comes up against Jemima’s father – millionaire Basil Ealham – when his girlfriend’s factory is burned down and a man dies in the inferno.  It seems clear that Darina’s investigation is going to cross the official one being conducted by her husband.  Things aren’t going well between William and Darina and William seems unwell.  Can they both complete their investigations and sort out their own problems?

I enjoyed this well written crime novel which combines food and cookery with crime in an intriguing plot.  The mystery definitely kept me guessing until almost the end and then I got the wrong murderer.  The author writes well and has created some memorable and likeable characters.  This is the ninth book in the series though the books can be read in any order

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Diet For Death (The Darina Lisle Mysteries Book 8)

Darina and her recently widowed mother, Ann are staying at Conifers Spa health farm which is managed by a friend of Darina’s.  Darina herself wants to lose the few pounds she has gained since her honeymoon.  Almost immediately upon their arrival at Conifers, Darina notices some tensions among both the staff and the guests. Then a murder disrupts both guests and staff and puts many of them under suspicion.

I really enjoyed this interesting mystery and I though its examination of the problems of overeating and not eating enough was interesting and informative.  The food sounded delicious as well.  I liked the way the author portrays the conflicts Darina finds between her own tendency to get involved and William’s professional responsibilities in the investigation.

This novel is number eight in the series and it is better to read the novels in the order in which they were published.  If you like crime stories with interesting backgrounds and not too much violence or bad language then give this series a try.  The author brings her characters to life and her backgrounds feel authentic.

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Death à la Provençale (The Darina Lisle Mysteries Book 7)

I think this is one of the best books in this entertaining series.  Darina and her husband, William are on their honeymoon in Provence.  They are invited to a meal by one of Darina’s fellow cookery writers, Helen Mansard.  She lives in a modernised farmhouse with her partner Bernard Barrington Smyth – a retired Lloyd’s name.  They seem to live an idyllic life as Helen writes and Bernard has just started producing olive oil from the trees on the farm.

But there is always a serpent in paradise and death comes to Helen and Bernard’s idyllic life and Darina and William find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation – as suspects and witnesses  though of course they can’t resist investigating amongst their new acquaintances.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the ex-pat life and the tensions and disagreements between the glamorous people Darina and William meet.

I also enjoyed the descriptions of the food and the scenery.  Naturally Darina and William encounter the same problems as those encountered by Harriet and Lord Peter Wimsey in Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L Sayers when married life meets the demands of detection.  I didn’t work out who was responsible for the murder though the clues are there and it was quite a shock when the murderer was revealed.

This is a well written and interesting series of crime novels.  I like both Darina and William and I love the backgrounds.  Food and crime – what’s not to like?  This is book seven in the series and I think the books are best read in the order in which they were written

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Death At The Table (The Darina Lisle Mysteries Book 6)

I read the first five books in this series some time ago and was pleased to see the rest are now available in ebook format.  This one – number six in the series is excellent.  It is well written and the background – the making of a television programme feels authentic.  The dialogue and all the tensions and rivalries  are well done too.  Darina Lisle – cooker writer – has been given her big chance – to appear in a cookery programme.  But is it perhaps something of a poisoned chalice?

When a death occurs on camera it seems at first to have been natural causes but Darina receives a phone call which suggests it isn’t perhaps as natural as it seems.  Naturally her curiosity is aroused.  She is struggling to deal with her new fame, her relationship with her fiancé William and the plans for her own wedding.  Everything seems fraught with problems but at the same time the television work is exhilarating.

I liked the way the author shows how amateur detectives have to balance their careers, their relationships and every day life and they must try to justice to everything.  I enjoyed reading about the food and about Darina’s battles with herself and her work.  This series is well worth reading if you enjoy crime novels featuring amateur detectives with a soupcon of the professional thrown into the mix.  The series is best read in order.

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Death and the Epicure (The Darina Lisle Mysteries Book 5)

Darina Lisle is commissioned to write a cookery book featuring the unusual ingredients produced by Finer Foods.  It is a family owned and run company and it soon becomes clear that the board are at loggerheads and profits are falling.  Gradually Darina gets drawn into the arguments and then an accident results in a death though it soon becomes clear that it isn’t an accident but a murder.

The book is well written and it has an intriguing plot though I did work out who had done though not why or exactly how.  I liked the background to the story – cookery and a trip to Hong Kong which is vividly described.

There are five more books in this entertaining series which combines cooking, food and murder but unfortunately – at the time of writing, January 2017 – the remaining books aren’t available as e-books. Hopefully they will be soon as the series is well worth reading for mystery lovers.

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Recipe For Death (The Darina Lisle Mysteries Book 4)

Darina Lisle is making herself a name as a cookery writer and has been asked to be one of the judges in a cookery competition.  There she meets the winner – Verity Fry and the chef Simon Chapman.  Following an invitation to visit the Frys’ organic farm, Darina becomes involved in helping with the running of the Frys’ mail order business when tragedy strikes.

Darina’s boyfriend – detective William Pigram – is away in the US but Darina soon finds herself with plenty to do and her own detective instincts are awakened when murder makes an appearance.  I enjoyed this well written mystery which combines cooking and murder.  Even though the book was written many years ago it has stood the test of time well and will be read and enjoyed by a new generation of readers.

This is the fourth book in the series and the books can be read in any order.

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