Cover Image: Mastering the Art of French Murder

Mastering the Art of French Murder

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Member Reviews

What a fun whodunit read! 
A murder happened in Julia Child's building and left them all wondering who the murderer was. Julia's friend and neighbor, Tabitha was great at problem solving and Julia knew she could solve this murder. While Tabitha is putting the pieces together and Julia is creating delicious meals they solve this murder just in time.
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Truly a cozy mystery, complete with Julia Child and set in Paris.  A quick read with a new character, Tabitha Knight.    .  When a body is found in Julia's building, Tabitha, or Tab, is quick to start investigating on her own.  Then a second murder at the theater where Julia's sister works.  Is this coincidence or is there a connection?  Random murders or something more serious? Read and find out along with Tabs.
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“I suppose if one could count having a father for an investigator and reading mystery novels as the groundwork for real-life detection experience, I was as prepared as anyone.”

I would probably classify this book as a ‘cozy mystery.’ 

There is a double murder to solve and a killer at large, but it’s within the context of a light-hearted friendship between Tabitha (our protagonist) and Julia Child (the not-yet-famous chef). Hence the play on words with the title. 

Tellingly, the first line of the book is: “Julia Child had a mayonnaise problem.”

This is a work of fiction even though Julia Child is a character. The author takes artistic liberties with Child. Basing this book in Paris while Child, an American, is studying culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu, befriends a neighbor— Tabitha— who is also an American, and a terrible cook. 

In between Tabitha’s Nancy Drew escapades, she is learning how to cook from Julia so she can prepare meals for her grandfather and uncle (who is not actually her uncle) at their house where she is living for awhile post-WWII. 

And, of course, Julia is working on making mayonnaise. 

Not to spoil it but…. “we celebrate the solving of two mysteries this week: The Murder With the Chef’s Knife and The Problem of the Bad Mayonnaise!”

It’s a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Tabitha even makes remarks as she sets out to investigate on her own that if things ‘were like a Nancy Drew story’ then coincidences would actually be clues, etc. 

And Julia says, “‘Just like an Agatha Christie novel— all the questions answered at the end, and the villain is caught, and everyone else is happy—’”

So, in case you were wondering, they DO solve the mystery. I had my suspicions and the killer wasn’t out of left field but it was still a nice mystery and I second guessed myself a few times. 

I am not a pet-person so all the comments about their pets and cats got a little old, but apparently:

“Cats seemed to be just as much an integral part of Paris as her food and lights.”

And I just googled it to confirm: There are 13.5 million cats in France— the second (to Germany) highest number in all of Europe.

I guess Cambridge did her research! 

Another thing that annoyed me was all the times we were told they laughed at something funny. Sometimes I prefer to decide for myself if the characters laughed. I can usually tell when something funny is written. But this is a nit-picky thing. 

I thought it was interesting that the author indicates that she wanted to write about a female who had had ‘a man’s job’ during the war (a.k.a Rosie the Riveter) but then were at a loss when all the men came home and worked their jobs again. 

Tabitha is one such woman. 

“I’d always been a bit of a tomboy, to the dismay of my very ladylike French mother and grandmother.”

No longer needed to rivet on planes, she has taken a leave in Paris. Using her ‘detective skills’ gives her a bit of purpose… and a reason to wear trousers, which is illegal in Paris unless riding a bike. 

I also learned about coca-colonization which began during the time period this book is set in. The French did not like the expansion of Coke in their country as they associated it with the Communist party and feared it was a distribution system for spies.  

Which reminds me… have any of you tried Faygo pop? (It makes a cameo in the book. Shout out to Detroit… or should I say De-twa…)

In conclusion, this is not a hard-hitting intense thriller. But it’s a cozy, clean mystery with a twinge of historical fiction and has it’s own suspense at the climax of the book. 

I would recommend this book to readers looking something lighter but still with a decent plot. 

And to readers who would like to learn how to cook a chicken and make mayonnaise.


[Content Advisory- clean book- no swearing or sexual content]

**Received an ARC via NetGalley**
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My thanks to Net Galley and Kensington for allowing me to review this arc of this utterly delightfully charming book.

Tabitha Knight travels from America to stay with her grandfather and connect with her friend Julia Child, her husband Paul, an embassy employee,  and Julia s sister Dort.  While there Tabitha gets involved with murder when she discovers a body in a cellar that was a guest of a party she attended given by Julia s sister.  This leads to a much deeper situation and more bodies.   I loved how Julia was one of the "detectives".  I cannot wait to read more of these.
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I loved the combination of mystery and historical fiction in this book. I also loved the setting being in Paris and that Julia Childs was her fictional neighbor. Throw in a murder, and you have my kind of book. 

Thank you to Net Galley and Kensington books for the advanced copy of this book. This is my first from this author, but I will definitely be reading her next novel.
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Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge is a delightful cozy mystery. As you might gather, the novel is set in the city of lights just after WWII, when Julia and Paul Child find themselves working and cooking in Paris. I worried about such a larger than life character like Julia Child being difficult to capture in a mystery, but the author does a great job of weaving her in and out of the story without it feeling forced or like too much of a celebrity taking up unnecessary space. I loved the heroine, Tabitha's tenacity and drive. She was a really well-rounded character and following her on the mystery of the dead woman in the alley behind Julia's house felt like I was tagging along with my bestie on an amazing adventure. I am excited to see what's next for Tabitha and her crew in the next installment of An American in Paris. My only request? More Paris! 

Huge thanks to the author, the publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Thank you so much to the publisher and the author for this early review copy. The premise of this one was what drew me to it initially . I love Julia Child so was excited to see her represented here. 

Having the setting be paris was so fun, and even more special because we will be visiting in January, can't wait to see some of the places mentioned. 

The mystery element was okay, I liked our main character and her detective skills were fine. I maybe could gave done with a little more options, maybe a few red herrings?

Over all I liked this one and would read more from the author
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The first in a new series, Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge, is a wonderful blend of history, reality, and imagination. As soon as I saw the plot includes Julia Child, I knew I had to read this book. I was not disappointed---the intriguing storyline, good pacing, engaging characters, and gorgeous setting  combine to make a great read. Ms. Cambridge uses historical fact and setting, along with some characters who were real people---like Julia, Paul, and Dort---blended with her created characters like Tabitha, our erstwhile, amateur detective. I enjoyed everything about this book.
Tabitha and Julia live across the courtyard from each other, Julia with her husband and sister---Tabitha with her French Oncle and Grandfather. When a body turns up in Julia's building, Tabitha jumps in to try and solve the crime in protection of Julia and her sister, Dorothy--- much to the French police detective's annoyance. As the suspense rises, so does the danger .
The food descriptions are heavenly, as is the location and time period. I can hardly wait for the next installment in this creative mystery series.
#MasteringtheArtofFrenchMurder #NetGalley #Kensington #ColleenCambridge
Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books with Colleen Cambridge for granting me the ARC e-book I requested. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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~Book Review~
Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge:

This book was the epitome of cozy mystery vibes. We’re following Tabitha, an American in Paris who also happens to be Julia Child’s neighbor and best friend, as she gets caught up in a series of murders. Although the stakes were pretty high this book was still relaxing and wholesome most the time. I thought the writing was pretty good and despite the strong “I’m not like the other girls” feel of our main character, I really enjoyed this. It was a short and easy read and I would definitely recommend for anyone looking for a cozy mystery.


Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book comes out April 25th, 2023!🤍
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historical-novel, historical-figures, Paris, amateur-sleuth, law-enforcement, murder, murder-investigation, culinary, cultural-differences, new-series, atmospheric, family, famous-persons, friendship, relatives, 1949, ex-pat, pet-dog*****

Tabitha Knight is from Detroit, Michigan, has French grandparents, is living with French relatives and has been taken under the wing of Julia Child. Tabitha is the one to find the woman's body, but it is Julia's knife that did the deed. That pitted Tabitha as amateur sleuth against the steely-eyed police detective. Witty and totally entertaining mystery with characters that certainly are, interesting plot twists, and mystifying red herrings. And the setting is so well described!
No recipe section at the end, but there are so many hints and tips that are so well added that I could smell the deliciousness.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely read any others as they come along!
I requested and received a free temporary e-book copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
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Tabitha Knight and her friend Julia Child are out to solve a murder! When a body is found with Julia’s cooking knife as the murder weapon Julia convinces Tabitha to investigate. This story follows Tabitha around Paris and some delicious food courtesy of Julia of course! The characters are delightful and have a wonderful sense of humor. I also appreciated the message of woman making their own way as well and the gentlemen who encourage them. I will be keeping up with this new series!
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Paris….a city known for fabulous food, romance and….murder?

Tabitha Knight, product of the marriage between an American man and a French woman, was raised in the States.  While she speaks French like a native, courtesy of her Parisian mother and grandmother, she doesn’t know how to cook at all.  During the war, while her then=fiancé was off fighting, she summoned the courage to work in a factory a la Rosie the Riveter.  Her mother didn’t approve, but she loved the experience.  The war has ended, and so has her engagement to Henry.  Feeling unfulfilled and at loose ends, she has jumped at the chance to move to Paris and live with her grandfather and his friend, “Oncle” Rafe (her ‘messieurs’).  One of her new neighbors is none other than Julia Child, living in Paris while her husband Paul is stationed there for the Department of State.  Julia is determined to teach Tabitha to cook well, and with the help of her circle of friends to find her a boyfriend too.

The book opens the night after a party chez Child (at which Julia’s sister Dort, who works at a local theater and is living with her sister and brother-in-law, has set Tabitha up on a blind date).  Julia and Tabitha are shopping for dinner ingredients at the local market, and exchanging gossip with the stall owners, but when they return home they find a neighbor’s maid in distress…she has just found the dead body of a young woman.  Worse still, the woman was at the Childs’ party the previous night, and had ridden down in the elevator at the end of the night with Tabitha .  The murder weapon?  One of Julia’ Child’s own knives! The French police, in the person of Inspecteur Merveille, are of course suspicious of the two American women.  Therese, the dead woman, had worked at the theater with Dort and several of the other party guests, so Tabitha and Julia decide that they need to do some sleuthing of their own to clear their names.  

The real life Julia Child is most known for bringing the wonders of French cooking to the homes of average Americans in the 1960’s.  During the war, however, she worked for the precursor of the CIA, the OSS, so its not hard to imagine her wanting to investigate a murder close to home.  Colleen Cambridge captures the charm of everyday Parisian life as the city regains its footing after the war.  The reader meets characters from all walks of life:  the ex-pat community of Americans, the theater crowd, market vendors like Madame Marie and Fidelia, maids Clarice and Mathilde…and of course Tabitha’s messieurs, Grand-Pere and Oncle Rafe, who may not approve of Tabitha’s investigations but prove helpful to her nonetheless.  As Tabitha pokes around, we get to know an expanding cast of suspects.  Why was Therese killed and who could have done it?  To quote Julia Child, “Drama is very important in life: you have to come on with a bang.”  This first in what I hope will be a series certainly does just that.  For lovers of Paris, of cooking, of Julia Child, or of mysteries featuring a well-known person of character, this will definitely appeal.  I was hoping to find some of Julia’s recipes in the book, but that’s a small omission and one easily rectified with a quick search on Google or your cookbook shelf.  Many thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the advanced reader’s copy!
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Tabitha Knight's grandfather offers her a free place to stay in Paris. And, she's made a new friend in Julia Child, who lives across the street. After a party at Julia's one night, with Julia's sister, Dort, one of the members of Dort's theater group, Therese Lognon, is found dead, stabbed with one of Julia's kitchen knives.  Tabitha is determined to discover the killer before Inspector Etienne Merveille, pins the murder on Julia, who never seems worried about it.  One of the people who attended the party with Tabitha must be the murderer. The descriptions of Paris and food make this an enticing cozy mystery.
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*Thank you NetGalley for sending me this ARC in exchange for a review*

I LOVED this book! Not only am I a huge cozy mystery lover, but I am also a big fan of Julia Child! (And even though this is historical fiction, I think Colleen Cambridge did an excellent job at brining Julia' s personality to the page.) I loved following Tabitha through this story. I think she is such a strong female character and an even better amateur sleuth. The mystery was intriguing and the characters were well developed. I hope there will be more in this series!
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Tabitha is good with her hands and as a Rosie the Riveter back home in Detroit, Michigan.  After the war ended, she found herself at loose ends after she had to give up her job to the returning men.  After her Grandmother dies, she breaks up with her fiance and goes to Paris to stay with her Grandfather and her "Oncle" Rafe.  One of her  neighbors is none other than Julia Child who is having a crisis because her mayonnaise recipe is not working!  When Julia and Tabitha return from the market one day, Julia's maid is screaming because she found a body when she went to take out the trash.  Tabitha recognizes the body and Julia encourages her to find out more information, but the police detective discourages her.  Tabitha continues her snooping and finds herself in peril.  First when a car almost runs her down on her bicycle and in the end at the theatre where she is filling in for the dead coat check girl. In the end, she solves the mystery.

The story was creative and did not overuse Julia Child as a character.  Despite not being a good cook, Tabitha is an entertaining character.  I enjoyed the story, but didn't care for the espionage element.  I have already recommended the book to a fellow mystery lover.
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Mastering the Art of French Murder takes place in an interesting time that a lot of books fail to cover, the period of time right after WWII in France. Colleen Cambridge uses Julia and Paul Child to setup the story of Tabitha Knight who is living with grandfather and uncle in Paris across the street from the Childs. While I loved the story and setting overall, it seemed Julia was forced in a bit in certain places versus it being more organic. The descriptions of all the food that Julia is known for was heavenly! Lots of cooking in the book! The mystery kept me guessing and was slightly locked room. I was surprised and shocked by the ending and enjoyed the wrap-up that Cambridge did. Looking forward to reading more in this series!
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Many readers will recognize that the title of this historical mystery refers to Julia Child and her classic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. And indeed, most happily, Julia, her husband (Paul), and sister (nicknamed Dort) are all found in these pages. There is also a fictional character, Tabitha, who is nowhere near the cook that Julia is but who is a good friend to her.

The story takes place in the late 1940s in Paris so I was immediately inclined to like this book. The opening has Julia trying to figure out what is wrong with her mayonnaise. Soon, she will have much bigger problems. After a party at her apartment, a body is found in the basement area of Julia’s flat. The victim was a guest and the knife used to kill her came from Julia’s kitchen. Therese also was employed at the theater where Dort works.

Tabitha, the book’s amateur sleuth, has a father who was in the police. This makes her wanting to solve the case feel credible. She has come to Paris to spend time with her grandfather and his partner who becomes like an uncle to her. They add color and relationships to the story.

This book was entertaining and fun. I liked the setting, the characters, the food and the story. Kudos to the author. She has also written a series featuring Agatha Christie’s housekeeper showing how versatile she is. I have enjoyed her contributions to the historical mystery and recommend this title. I hope that this is the start of a series.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for this title. All opinions are my own.
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What a terrific book - and a very strong entry into a new series. .  Much as in her Phyllida Bright series, where Agatha Christie is a supporting character, here we have the fun and fascinating Julia Child as a supporting character to our heroine Tabitha Knight.  It is a delight to experience Paris in post WWII, through the eyes of an American who feels more at home here than her native Detroit.  There is Murder, intrigue, allusions to the French resistance and hints of the repercussions of the encroaching Cold War.  And of course, there is a LOT of wonderful food! The mystery was satisfying but it is the wonderful characters (especially Tabitha's grandfather and uncle) that will keep me coming back! Can't wait for the next one!
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I loved this book- the characters were so clever and likeable.. This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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December 1949 
This is the first book I have read by this author and I enjoyed it. The story of a girl who finds a dead body and tries to protect her friend from being  arrested and a knife is a murder weapon(pretty cover!). The whole book is accompanied by delightful descriptions of what is happening around and food! The author’s writing style is simply marvelous. I think I felt the taste of food and saw all the descriptions around. The action takes place in the 1950s and I felt that I was right there and it was wonderful. 

This is the first book in a new series: An American in Paris. I cannot wait to read all of them. The author did an amazing job of making the characters funny and serious, real and emotional. You will feel the atmosphere of post-war Paris and culinary genius while reading this book. It was a quick and fun read and I think this book would be great on audio. Love it!

#MasteringtheArtofFrenchMurder #NetGalley
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