The Devil's Feast

The Devil's Feast

Book - 2017
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"Investigative team Blake and Avery find themselves entangled in a case involving political conflicts, personal vendettas, and England's first celebrity chef. London, 1842. Captain William Avery is persuaded to investigate a mysterious and horrible death at the Reform, London's newest and grandest gentleman's club--a death the club is desperate to hush up. What he soon discovers is a web of rivalries and hatreds, both personal and political, simmering behind the club's handsome facade. At the center is its resident genius, Alexis Soyer, "the Napoleon of food," a chef whose culinary brilliance is matched only by his talent for self-publicity. But Avery is distracted, for where is his mentor and partner in crime Jeremiah Blake? And what if this first death is only a dress rehearsal for something far more sinister?"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, G.P. Putnam's Sons,, [2017]
ISBN: 9780399171697
039917169X
Characteristics: 420 pages ; 24 cm

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gvenkatesh
Jun 05, 2017

A very disappointing third novel after the brilliant debut and the good followup with the second novel in the series.

The novel, like its predecessors, is based on impeccable research of Victorian times, this one into the emergence of the liberal party as a coalition of Whigs and Radicals and set in the kitchens of a famed real-life chef Alexis Soyer. Unfortunately, what the author decided to include from the research overdominates the plot itself which is rather weak and dreary.

It will appeal to political wonks for the over repetitive points of the friction between Whigs and Radicals. It will appeal to the "foodies" with a fetish for menus and ingredients being listed out while the plot takes a back-seat.

Since Blake, the Oscar of the Odd Couple protagonists, would be ill-at-ease in either of the above settings, he is conveniently made unavailable for the first part of the book and makes an appearance later for a Wooster-and-Jeeves-like pairing of the two to solve the mystery. Meanwhile, too many characters from maids to MPs make appearances with very little differences in the cadence and expression in dialogues to make them interesting. Avery is tiresome as an unfunny version of Wooster.

The 4-page historical afterword at the end of the book is the only interesting read in the book.

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