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Amber's Thoughts

Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series



Another Great Pot Thief Mystery

The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier - J Michael Orenduff

Hubie Schuze never sets out to be an amateur sleuth, but when bad luck pushes him uncomfortably close to a crime, he’s tries to figure out what’s going on. He’s not stealing pots in this book, but making them, at Schnitzel, the—of all things—Austrian restaurant in Santa Fe that hires Hubie to make some thematic ceramic chargers. Being a man who loves to read, to cook, and to acquire historical and cultural knowledge, Hubie not only studies Escoffier to get into the restaurant frame of mind, but his reading assists in him in solving the mystery. I learned a good deal about Escoffier and about the restaurant business, while being as entertained as I’ve ever been with a Pot Thief book. The humor is delightful, and I found the wordplay between Hubie and his friend Susannah particularly witty in this book. The French terms used in haute cuisine start making Hubie think with every French phrase and cliché that has worked its way into everyday language, and this gets them punning with French and English. (Speaking of wordplay, I was amused that the restaurant’s saucier, an attractive and flirtatious woman, could not have been saucier.) The ongoing stories of Hubie’s and Susannah’s personal lives stay fresh, and other friends and associates in Hubie’s circle make their regular appearances to get him into or help him out of trouble. Each new character has depth and color, even if he or she makes only a brief entrance. This is one of the few mysteries I’ve read lately where I didn’t figure out whodunit, but once it was solved I could see that the author laid the clues out; there were no hidden ones. A couple of them required a better grasp of Spanish than I have, but I have no quibble with the clues in a New Mexico mystery being bilingual.