Eat, Drink and Be Buried

by Peter King

St. Martin's Minotaur, May, 2001.
Hardcover, 288 pages.
ISBN: 0312242700

Eat, Drink and Be Buried by Peter King The Gourmet Detective (still sans nom) returns for a romp into the food and history of medieval England. Summoned to Harlington Castle, a 16th-century English manor house now staging "Medieval Days" pageants, the Gourmet Detective has been hired to to revamp the menu for the banquets. When one of the participants in the jousting contest dies of poisoning, the detective springs into action after Lord Gerald Harlington asks him to expand his role at the castle and to find the murderer. There are a number of suspects who have a motive for the poisoning death, including the obnoxious Neville Woodward, a cousin of the Harlington family, Sir Gerald's outrageous daughters, Angela and Felicity, and the two castle chefs, neither of whom seem thrilled at the prospect of revising their menus.

One of the attractions of this series is the excellent food writing. Unfortunately, Medieval food is not something that modern American readers will want to make an acquaintance with (e.g., eel pie -- how very C.S. Lewis!) Peter King has such a way with food descriptions that they seem quite real -- which is a true tragedy when most of the book is spent describing in detail some of the most vile dishes to grace the pages of a culinary mystery in quite a while. Please, we beg you, send the Gourmet Detective back to modern-day New York, France, Italy or Switzerland. The plot is also somewhat lacking in complexity, with none of the James Bond-like capers which readers so enjoy. Let us hope that this is an aberration in what is otherwise one of the very best culinary mystery series on the market today.

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This review was published in the Dec. - Jan., 2002 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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