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Roux Morgue (Mary Ryan, Pastry Chef…
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Roux Morgue (Mary Ryan, Pastry Chef Mysteries) (2008)

by Claire M. Johnson

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A murder mystery that had me laughing out loud. Now that is a great combination! ( )
  aztwinmom | Apr 30, 2013 |
contrived plot, cardboard characters, gratuitous sex, not much pastry. In short, not worth reading, far less reviewing. ( )
  tututhefirst | Nov 26, 2009 |
In the first mystery featuring pastry chef Mary Ryan, she was working at the very hot restaurant, American Fare. Virtually unemployable after the murders there, in desperation, Mary takes a job teaching at her alma mater, École d’Epicure in San Francisco. If she thought the restaurant business was cut-throat, she’s taken aback by the hostility in the air at the culinary school. It’s the old guard versus the new-breed chefs – all with monumental egos.

Mary is somewhat of a drama queen and she’s in high dudgeon when she sees Detective O’Connor is one of her students. The two have a sexual attraction complicated by the fact that O’Connor is very married. When she calls her ex-husband, Jim McCreery, like O’Connor a San Francisco cop, he tells her the homicide detective is on medical leave, enrolled in the culinary program in a possible career move. Chef Mary doesn’t believe that for one split second, certain O’Connor is undercover at the school.

Our heroine tries to keep her head down in the faculty wars; avoid O’Connor, a near impossible task seeing she’s his professor; and try to figure out what’s going on at the school that would trigger an undercover investigation. To add to the tension, a high-powered school trustee and the dean all but order Mary to get rid of one of her best students and a teacher dies under suspicious circumstances, forcing Mary to double her teaching load.

Roux Morgue is a classic example, to me, of a well-plotted, smoothly written mystery that I enjoy less than I might because of an overly prickly protagonist. I just don’t like Mary. I don’t care for the unnecessarily coarse language. There’s not really a nice character in the bunch. I can see, however, that readers who are less concerned with the likeability factor – and who look for culinary and/or academic settings for their mysteries – would disagree with me. This book is for them.

By Diana. First published in Mystery News, June-July 2008 Issue. ( )
  NewsieQ | Jul 10, 2008 |
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San Francisco pastry chef Mary Ryan is back teaching at her old alma mater, caught between her original mentors and her contemporaries. In the middle of this turf war, Mary is confronted by the dean and ordered to either force Coolie Martin to leave the school or lose her job. But when faculty and staff begin dying, Mary thinks that Coolie's forced exit might be part of a larger, more sinister plot.… (more)

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