Knife Skills for Beginners by Orlando Murrin
|Knife Skills for Beginners by Orlando Murrin
|Reviewer: Sue Magee
|Summary: Cosy crime from a Masterchef semi-finalist makes full use of his culinary knowledge and serves up a decent plot.
|Date: February 2024
|External links: Author's website
Chef Paul Delamare took a teaching job at a residential cookery school in Belgravia. He didn't really want to but celebrity chef Christian Wagner had a way of getting both men and women to do what he wanted. Paul somehow got the impression that he'd be at the school to assist Paul, who had a broken arm, but it didn't turn out that way. The teaching - and the problems - are all his own. The one thing he hadn't expected was for someone to turn up dead. Unfortunately, he was the person who discovered the body and everyone knows that the police consider that person to be the prime suspect.
Ok, it's cosy crime, but it's well done. There's a reasonable cast of suspects - the students and staff at the cookery school - and they're all well-fleshed out with decent back stories. As you'd expect from the location, there's Lady Serena Brash and her daughter, the Honourable Harriet, who's obviously hiding something. Rose, who owns the school, is obviously struggling to make ends meet, but she's keen that her own liaison doesn't become common knowledge. The more you read, the more you'll realise that the students are there not so much to learn to cook as to escape from their normal lives.
The USP of this book is the cookery school location. Do you remember author Orlando Murrin as a semi-finalist on Masterchef? Well, he's used his culinary know-how to set the scene. You even get some excellent recipes in the text - I'm going to try the one for cheesy biscuits. You'll understand a lot about the skills required to be a chef (or even a decent cook) but you'll feel that you've picked it up on the way, rather than been educated.
It's the plot you really want to know about, isn't it? Well, I worked out the bones of the explanation, fairly early on but didn't get the whole of it. The clues were there, but I missed them! I found the solution just a little far-fetched but this is cosy crime and provided that you're not looking for a plot which is going to blow you away, you can have a good, easy, enjoyable read. I'd certainly read more from Murrin.
I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.
For more cosy crime, we can recommend Her Majesty the Queen Investigates: The Windsor Knot by S J Bennett - no prizes for guessing who's the celebrity in that one. If you'd like to know more about the life of a chef, have a look at Stirred But Not Shaken: The Autobiography by Keith Floyd. A Taste for Vengeance (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker, will give you crime, good food and a cookery school.
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