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Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders: The…
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Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders: The Neil Flambe Capers #1 (2010)

by Kevin Sylvester

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I really wanted to like this, for a number of reasons. First, YA has been really great, and a lot of YA I've read recently has been quite entertaining. Second, I'm a little bit in love with Kevin Sylvester, based on my experience of him as a host on CBC radio. Third, it's the first of a series, and I love reading series. However, this one fell short for me, so I was a little disappointed. The title character, Neil Flambé, is an obnoxiously talented boy genius chef with a preternaturally sensitive nose and a flair for solving mysteries (at least ones with a smell element involved). I know he's supposed to be like a teenage Gordon Ramsay, Hell's Kitchen type character, but I don't like the original and I didn't like this imitation. The mystery here was interesting, involving an elaborate menu (and murder plot) based on the travels of Marco Polo, but with everything else going on (Neil's first crush, Neil's ongoing battles with a bully at school, Neil's generally unsuccessful and seemingly irrelevant attempts to be a normal teenage kid), the plot was just drowning in details. I usually don't base series on the first installment, whether books or tv shows, but I'm going to have to set Neil Flambé aside for now, as more stimulating fare beckons from the library shelves. ( )
  karenchase | Aug 20, 2015 |
I loved this book because Neil and I have a lot of things in common such as cooking and solving mysteries. It was based on Neil's point of view and inspector nakamuras also when Neil was a baby he cried a lot and his mother eventually left him and ran away when she came back Neil was watching his favourite show Julia's kitchen so Neil's parents bought him every episode and even read him cook books for bed time stories it was a great book though! ( )
  epicstudy | Jan 7, 2014 |
Read very recently because I didn't want to read the second book (Aztec Abduction) if I hadn't read this one first. Found it okay... a bit repetitive with all the cooking information, but all in all a good mystery. I couldn't decide who the murderer was or what spice it was that was killing everyone until close to the end, so that was good. ( )
  JRlibrary | Feb 5, 2012 |
This book is just great fun--perhaps especially for the culinary-minded. I loved everything from the chefs' names (all food-themed, as in Chef LeBoeuf) to the narrative of Neil's beginnings (dictating recipes from the cradle, speaking "capers" as his first word). Sylvester even works in a little history along the way. All in all, this book is really a fun read.
  Ariadna-thalia | Jan 28, 2011 |
What could be better than a good mystery? Throw in a pinch of history, a cup of humor, a dash of food knowledge and an obnoxious, yet talented fourteen year old chef and you have a well rounded book. Someone is killing chefs all over Vancouver. The police are stumped so they call in "The Nose", also known as 14 year old Neil Flambe. Neil checks out each crime scene and finds small bits from Marco Polo's journal as well as a smell that even his nose can't figure out. it is up to him to figure out who is killing the famous chefs and why, before he ends up like the rest. This was a very funny book. It keeps the reader laughing and guessing from beginning to end. ( )
  skstiles612 | Nov 25, 2010 |
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Fourteen-year-old wunderchef and budding detective Neil Flamb has a real nose for clues, but he must work quickly to solve the murders of some of the best chefs in town--if only to eliminate himself as the prime suspect!

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