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Death and Fromage

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Member Reviews

This is a quirky and entertaining cozy that is the second in a series featuring Richard, an Englishman who runs a B&B in a small French town and - wait for it- solves murders! This time out it's the local cheese monger and fans of the genre know there was more to him than kindness. Moore plays off the cultural differences (sometimes too broadly) and winds in delightful food. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read.

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Readers who enjoy a Gallic mystery with a British protagonist may well enjoy this second food titled mystery following on the author’s Death and Croissants. It is written by a British comedian who brings a certain sensibility to the genre.

Richard has gone out for dinner. The menu is a tasting one and he has not tasted enough (he is still hungry). The beginnings of a mess emerge with the goat cheese parfait that is the dessert course.

Soon, there is, of course, a murder. It takes place in a cheese related locale. Will Richard, a local B and B owner figure out what has happened? How will his amie, Valerie, contribute? Read this one to find out. It will especially be enjoyed by Francophiles.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Poisoned Press for this title. All opinions are my own.

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Death and Fromage is the second in the Follet Valley Mysteries, I haven't read the first instalment but quickly got to grips with the characters and their relationships with one another. I found it hard to keep track of all the suspects and the storylines, if I put the book down it would take me a good 15 minutes the next time I picked it up to get properly in it again. I didn't manage to figure out any of the plot twists or the final culprit.

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A plot that casts a film-loving English protagonist in the milieu of rural French restaurateurs might seem a promising and original premise for a whimsical mystery novel. That is, if you've never come across any of the 18 comic crime novels in Michael Bond's Monsieur Pamplemousse series, and you aren't familiar with the seven installments of Loren D. Estleman's Valentino series, Ian Moore's "Death and Fromage" offers few of the pleasures of Bond or Estleman and seems entangled in the mechanics of tale-telling.

Author Moore is a middle-aged English stage and TV comedian who commutes to his native country from his rusticated base in a French province. Credit him for knowing the region in which his fiction is set and the circumstances of being l’étranger among the colourful dwellers of the French countryside. His writing is poised and agreeable, but the plot is wafer-thin, the whimsy insufficient to propel the narrative, and the characters so stereotypical, underdeveloped, and disposable that they seem better suited to a 15-minute standup comedy routine than a novel.

The locals certainly do maintain quirky mannerisms and speak a mannered form of Franglish that fortunately stops short of repeatedly including the phrase "Zoot allures!" The sad-sack protag, aptly named Dick, is adrift in a world he never made, intersecting with non-essential single-joke stock players, including three brothers from New Jersey who speak in an unpersuasive Yiddish dialect and no doubt slap their foreheads on cue, a mysterious French femme fatale who packs a pistol and drives an exotic roadster, and where would we be without a grasping ex-wife who schemes to have our listless hotelier finally make something of himself? The murder part of this murder mystery is played strictly for yuks and the gags land with minimal impact.

At least the author seems to be amused with his own wordplay, and the merry effect can be shareable on a few occasions in the early chapter. Our guesthouse-operating detective has simply worn out his welcome by the halfway point. I appreciate NetGalley making this book available for review prior to publication.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

Lighthearted romp of a mystery as meek Richard returns to try and discover who killed the son of a famous cheese maker. Some laugh out loud moments during this cozy mystery.

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This is not my first book from Ian Moore and I must admit that I’m a big fan. We follow Richard, a middle-aged Englishman that run’s a B&B in France. His life is quiet and peaceful just as he likes it until a scandal comes to life. Fabrice, a goat-cheese supplier is found dead. And Richard wonders, was it suicide or murder? He’s quite drawn to discover the cause of death.

The characters we are presented to throughout the story are quirky and there’s a lot of funny moments that make this book an amazing cozy mystery. It has a good pace and it’s full of mysteries and intrigues. We have jokes, twists, and a lot of references to movies.

I recommend it to everyone that enjoys cozy mysteries with a bit of humor on them. It was such a delightful read, it made me laugh out loud a few times and it made me feel like I was eating French gourmet food.

Thank you, Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley, for approving me to read this arc and write this review.

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"A laugh-out-loud mystery perfect for fans of The Thursday Murder Club.

Richard is a middle-aged Englishman who runs a B and B in the Val de Follet. Nothing ever happens to Richard, and really that's the way he likes it. Until scandal erupts in the nearby town of Saint-Sauver, when its famous restaurant is downgraded from three Michelin stars to two. The restaurant is shamed, the town is in shock, and the leading goat cheese supplier drowns himself in one of his own pasteurization tanks. Or does he?

Valérie d'Orçay, who is staying at the B and B while house-hunting in the area, isn't convinced that it's a suicide. Despite his misgivings, Richard is drawn into Valérie's investigation, and finds himself becoming a major player in solving the crime. After all, the French do take their cheese quite seriously and it's quite clear there's nothing gouda happening in the close-knit, small village that Richard calls home."

Was it that the number one thing I took away from looking up this author is that he likes to make chutney? This isn't a slight, I think we need more author blurbs like this.

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The story is told from the point of view of Richard Ainsworth, an Englishman who runs a B & B in the Follet Valley in France. Fabrice Ménard, a goat-cheese supplier known as the king of cheese, is found dead. Is Ménard’s death the result of suicide or murder? Richard is drawn into discovering the cause of Ménard’s death by Valérie d”Orçay, a friend staying at his B & B.

While the mystery of Ménard’s death, propels the main story, I find myself more interested in the relationships of Richard and Valérie and that of Richard and his wife, Claire. This book reminds me of a television series I recently watched, Madam Blanc Mysteries. Both are set in France and include quirky characters. The plot offers a good mystery, and Richard’s love of old movies and their stars and starlets is delightful. The setting and characters entice me to read more books in Ian Moore’s Follet Valley mystery series. Thank you, Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley, for the chance to read and review an ARC of DEATH AND FROMAGE.

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*Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing this book, with my honest review below*

Death and Formage by Ian Moore was the best cozy mystery I could have read on this gloomy day, and I absolutely loved that it fully transported me into the plot for a few hours! We follow Richard, who I yearn to be as I get older, as he gets roped into solving a murder. I loved the quirky characters and how funny this book was, but felt I may likely have missed something in not reading the first. Either way, this does stand on its own and delivers on the laughs and a little bit of intrigue!

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France, farce, pet-dog, friendship, verbal-humor, situational-humor, sly-humor, cozy-mystery, bed-and-breakfast, amateur-sleuth, small-business, small-town, expats, banter, rural, multiple-deaths*****

I laughed myself silly over this cheesy novel!
Richard, the English expat film historian/B & B owner and Valerie, a charming French bounty hunter are back for another zany collaboration. This time there is a restaurant critic with a migrating toupee,
Passpartoute the chihuahua, the cheesemaker headfirst in the vat, a few more bodies, and sleuthing! Wonderful read!
I requested and received an EARC from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley. Thank you!

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This mystery is set in France and features Richard, an English B & B owner, who is enamoured with Valerie, a charming albeit mysterious French bounty hunter. Richard is a film historian and references old films to help him make sense of things.

A fancy multi course dinner at a new restaurant ends badly, and soon the bodies begin to appear. Valerie is on the case and brings Richard along for the ride. Things get complicated when Richard's estranged wife shows up unexpectedly.

I enjoyed this mystery. It has a slow start and Richard tends to drift through life, but by the end I was absorbed. I plan to look for more books in this series.

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Poisoned Pen Press for a review copy of Death and Fromage, the second novel in the Follet Valley series to feature B&B owner Richard Ainsworth and alleged bounty hunter Valérie D’Orçay.

A tasting at a newly opened restaurant ends in chaos with the Michelin starred chef shamed. Following on from this the leading goat’s cheese producer drowns himself in one of his tanks. Valérie, house hunting in the area, thinks he was murdered and draws Richard in to her investigation.

I thoroughly enjoyed Death and Fromage, which is a funny read with a well disguised perpetrator and motive. It centres around the rather hapless Richard, who is a lovely man, but unable to stand up for himself. He gets pushed around by both the enigmatic and worldly Valérie and his estranged wife, Claire, who knows what is best for him. He finds solace communing with his hens. That doesn’t stop him having views on the French way of life and attitudes. He makes me laugh with both the situations he gets into and his commentary. He’s never going to what he wants, a quiet life.

The plot meanders along with Valérie getting him into all sorts of situations, not least getting arrested, him having the occasional brainwave and Valérie interpreting it. The author really throws the kitchen sink at the motive and it’s very funny. All I can say is that it’s all about misrepresentation and keeping up appearances (that includes a standing joke about a food critic and his wig).

Death and Fromage is a fun read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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This is the second book in comedian Ian Moore’s Follet Valley series of cosy murder mystery stories set in France, and I have enjoyed it even more than I enjoyed the first. It is another “laugh out loud” book in which the hapless hero finds himself involved in trying to solve a murder or two at the same time as he attempts to cope with complications in his personal life when his soon-to-be ex-wife turns up hoping to impose her own agenda. This is an ideal feel-good holiday read.

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I really really like Richard, he felt so real to me. He likes his quiet life, his hens, and old films starring Olivia de Havilland. He also likes Valerie, a mysterious and alleged bounty hunter who is his total opposite. When a local farmer ends up dead, by apparent suicide, Richard and Valerie are roped in. Then who shows up but Richard's estranged wife and more deaths happen in this quiet part of France.

The mystery was alright. I found the story to be slow but I also really liked all the characters, especially the Martin and Gennie running joke. There was some humorous dialogue as well. It was less a mystery, to me, than a study in the people who live there. At the end, after three deaths have occurred, there is a dramatic reveal orchestrated by Valerie, but it is tough to get excited about it because it all revolves around a culinary dessert and cheese. The stakes feel... low. And I thought the resolution of whodunnit was confusing and a little underwhelming. I'm still not sure of what exactly happened. Also, why did Valerie need to give him a black eye?

I might read more books about Richard and Valerie, especially since they seem to be about to open up a detective agency together and I enjoy their relationship, but I hope the mystery is a bit more fleshed out.

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Richard is our hapless hero, living in rural France, things happen to him , things he doesn’t really like but is helpless to stop as he is swept away in three or is it four murders, accompanied by. Valerie, a beautiful and mysterious Parisian.. I love a mystery, I love food (despite not being able to eat properly) and I love a romance so this combination makes for addictive reading. I felt I knew Richard, recognised him somehow. It’s just dawned on me it’s my friend Anthony. Now as none on you know my friend Anthony, think of a cross between Richard Briers character in Ever Decreasing Circles crossed with the chap from My Family.

Two Michelin starred chefs move to the Vallee sur Follet, famed for its goats cheese, on the opening evening of one chef, the previous enfant terrible of French gastronomy produces a disastrous dessert,. People start to die, and poor old Richard becomes albeit briefly a ‘person of interest’. Valerie meantime bowls onto the scene, beautifully dressed and coiffured with some interesting employment history to dray Richard into investigating. There are moments of Allo, Allo in this book which describe French stereotypes and makes the whole thing feel comfortable.

It’s a great read especially for someone who eats gourmet food vicariously. and I want to read earlier books in the series

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Death and Fromage is the second in a series involving a middle-aged Englishman named Richard who runs a B&B in a fictional town in the Loire Valley. Once again, there is a mysterious murder and Valérie d'Orçay is on hand to help figure out what happened. So, if you liked the first, you will like the second! Once again, there are odd twists and little jokes and lots of references to old movies (including, but not limited to, the names of Richard's chickens and his way of processing what is happening). And the ending was good, bringing in some care for the characters.

With that said, I very much hoped to *really, really* like these books as I quite enjoyed the Thursday Murder Club series and these were billed as similar. I worry, though, that the author doesn't quite care for either his characters or readers in the same way. There is much less little interiority to the characters. And there are lots of little details (e.g., the housekeeper's name is Madame Tablier) that felt a little flip. So, while none of these complaints are particularly strong and some of this is consistent with the first in the series, my little misgivings all added up to a book that I would (and did) happily read on a plane but will not revisit and wish were just a bit more thoughtful.

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Riotous Romp....
More mayhem and madness in the second of the Follet Valley Mystery series. Restaurant woes, scurrilous scandal and goats cheese shenanigans abound as matters go from bad to worse in a small town and, whilst nothing much ever happens to Richard, he finds himself dragged into a potential murder case. Of course he does - and this can only mean one thing…Chaos. Wholly engaging and wildly entertaining, once again, as humour dances off every page. A riotous romp.

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This is the second book in this series and and again is a nice short read which I was pleased with. It isn't the real thriller type of book but it is fun and a bit funny and still was somewhat mysterious.

The book continues to provide quirky characters that I like, a great setting and the food theme always gets me and makes me want to read. An easy and quick read that gave me some entertainment and enjoyment and I still look forward to seeing how this series progresses.

Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

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The second installment in a fun and light cozy mystery series.

I liked the first book in the series better than this one, but the vibes are the same and Richard remains a likable protagonist.

The quality of the mystery here is significantly lower than the first. It’s unnecessarily convoluted and the whole “cheese scandal” aspect of it just seemed stupid rather than (as I expect was intended) clever and cheeky.

But for the most part the humor is there, and the setting and sense of place remain excellent. I’m a bit over the whole obstacle of the estranged wife, but I do like Valérie and can’t help but think these books will be more enjoyable once Richard fully moves on.

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