ARC Review: A Deadly Éclair by Daryl Wood Gerber (A French Bistro Mystery #1)


DeadlyEclairCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: It’s always been Mimi Rousseau’s dream to open her own bistro, but it seems beyond her grasp since she’s been chased back home to Nouvelle Vie in Napa Valley by her late husband’s tremendous debt. Until her best friend Jorianne James introduces her to entrepreneur Bryan Baker who invests in promising prospects. Now, working the bistro and inn until she’s able to pay it off and call it her own, Mimi is throwing the inn’s first wedding ever.
The wedding will be the talk of the town, as famous talk show host Angelica Edmonton, daughter of Bryan’s half-brother, Edison, has chosen the inn as her perfect venue. Anxious, Mimi is sure things are going to turn south, especially when Edison gets drunk and rowdy at the out-of-towners’ dinner, but by the evening, things begin to look up again. That is until six AM rolls around, and Bryan is found dead at the bistro with an eclair stuffed in his mouth. And the fingers point at Mimi, whose entire loan is forgiven in Bryan’s will.
Now it’s up to Mimi to clear her name and get to the bottom of things before the killer turns up the heat again in A Deadly Eclair, the scrumptious series debut by Agatha Award-winning author Daryl Wood Gerber.

Genre: Cozy mystery
Setting: A fictional town in Napa Valley, set in today’s time

***I received an eARC copy of A Deadly Éclair from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, via NetGalley***

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: Delicious sounding food and wine, and a fun atmosphere, but ultimately forgettable. A Deadly Éclair is the first book in a new cozy mystery series, The French Bistro Mysteries, set in a fictional small town in Napa Valley.

Written by Daryl Wood Gerber, who also writes the Cookbook Nook mysteries, and also the enjoyable Cheese Shop Mysteries under the name Avery Aames, A Deadly Éclair was a good start to a series in that it sets up the setting and atmosphere very nicely.

Our main character is Mimi Rousseau, age thirty-five, who runs a French themed bistro in Napa Valley. Mimi was an okay main character. I don’t remember anything too outrageous or annoying about her in particular, but neither do I remember anything all that likable about her either.

A Deadly Éclair starts as Mimi is hosting a celebrity wedding, and someone ends up dead. The mystery aspect was fine, but there were so many characters that I had trouble keeping everyone straight. From the best friend, to the workers at the bistro, to the guests in town for the wedding, there were a few too many relations and characters to remember who was who and how they connected.

One issue I had with A Deadly Éclair is that when Mimi was focusing on the mystery, her thought process made me very tired. She’d think of so many questions, too many really, and there wasn’t any time for the reader to ponder these many questions. It was just one question right after another, all melding together, and I was left feeling tired and drained. Since this is a cozy mystery, which to me is a genre I read when I want something light that I don’t have to focus on too much, this book just made me tired.

So while I enjoyed the setting of Napa Valley, the mystery and characters were fairly standard and not all that memorable, so this book was a bit disappointing to me. I’m not sure that I will continue on to read more in this series, but I do enjoy the authors Cheese Shop Mystery series, so perhaps this series will get better with time.

Bottom Line: Fun atmosphere, but ultimately forgettable.


LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Author Website

 Does this sound like a fun mystery? Do you enjoy cozy mysteries that have a focus on food and drink? Have you ever been to Napa Valley? I live in Sonoma County, right next door to Napa!


3 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Deadly Éclair by Daryl Wood Gerber (A French Bistro Mystery #1)

  1. I’ve read one cozy mystery, and I liked almost nothing about it. The main issue was 1) too many characters, like you said, 2) too many convenient moments where someone randomly shows up, but the worst is 3) the way a plain person played detective and tried to tell the police what to do. It made me so mad that I actually contacted a police officer I know and grilled him on how this stuff really works. I really like cozy romances, though, because they tend to leave out all the bureaucratic stuff that makes a cozy mystery impossible. Now, if a cozy mystery was set somewhere that the police couldn’t reach, say, an island or a house out in the middle of no where and there’s no cell reception or phone lines, then a plain person would be a more convincing sleuth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cozy mysteries definitely are their own following, that’s for sure! I enjoy them because they are so silly and they are my “light” reads. I can’t read too many before I have to turn to something heavier in content, though.
      I’m always wondering why so many bodies pile up around the main characters! There’s one series which has the gal running a travel company for seniors, and someone always dies on her trips, and yet she still has a full group of people traveling with her in the next book. I just read a cozy mystery where the main character was so frustrating – always doing the wrong things, meddling with the crime scene, talking with the press. It was so annoying!
      I haven’t gotten into the cozy romances so much. I’m not a fan of romances in general!


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