Saturday, August 24, 2019

Death After Breakfast: Review

Pierre Chambrun is the ultimate hotel manager. For years he has kept the elegant Beaumont Hotel running like a fine-tuned machine. He manages his own life with the same precision. He breakfasts each morning at the same time, attends to his duties on a precise schedule, and follows the same nightly rituals of checking on each little thing one more time before heading to his room. The Beaumont can attribute its reputation in part to the fact that Chambrun is never late. Well...almost never.

One fine morning when Chambrun has a breakfast interview scheduled with his old friend Eliot Stevens, editor and publisher of Newsview, he does not show up. In fact, he does not show up all day. He apparently went to his room per usual the night before and hasn't been seen since. That in itself is quite a problem for his right-hand man, Mark Haskell; his right-hand woman, Betsy Ruysdale; and hotel security chief, Jerry Dodd. But that's not of the guests has been brutally stabbed to death. Haskell has his job cut out for him trying to keep a lid on Chambrun's disappearance, keeping the hotel's high-ranking clientele happy, managing a society ball and a Hollywood film crew's use of the hotel as a backdrop for their latest movie. Not to mention figuring out what happened to his boss and helping Lieutenant Hardy's murder investigation.

Once again Pentecost (Judson Phillips) pulls from Chambrun's past in the French Resistance to serve up a fast-paced thriller in the rooms of the Beaumont Hotel. These stories are compellingly written and highly entertaining--so no complaints there. But I do wonder if perhaps might have been more comfortable writing war or spy thrillers. Novels about Chambrun's actual time spent in the Resistance might have been right up his alley since he keeps bringing in references or having Chambrun use Resistance-era skills or what-have-you. This is the third of the series that I've read in recent years that uses these themes.

One of the best parts of the novel is the introduction (at least to me--perhaps she has appeared in earlier stories) of Mrs. Victoria Haven, a feisty elderly woman who helps Chambrun catch the man who had him kidnapped (yes--kidnapped!) and who is the brutal killer of at least two women. She willing sets the trap to bring the killer back to the hotel and gets in on the grand finale by allowing Haskell to use her penthouse apartment as a lair to keep watch on Chambrun's rooms.

 Another fun, fast-paced mystery in the series. ★★ and a half.

Finished 8/10/19
Just the Facts: Silver --When (After Breakfast)
Deaths = 3 (one stabbed; one shot); one poisoned

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