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Dinner at Antoine's

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  269 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A mystery set at Antoine’s, the famous New Orleans restaurant that has been a landmark since 1840. The purpose of the party, hosted by wealthy businessman Orson Foxworth, is to introduce his niece Ruth, who is visiting for the Mardi Gras season, to a circle of his friends. Ruth soon notes tensions between Odile St. Amant, her husband Léonce, and her sister Caresse. Odile i ...more
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published 1948 by Julian Messner, Inc.
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Ea Solinas
If there's one thing that you know about Frances Parkinson Keyes, it's that she loved New Orleans. Though she was originally from New England, she made the Crescent City her home and inspiration.

So it's no surprise that "Dinner at Antoine's" drips with the sensual richness of that city in the last days before World War II. It's half murder mystery, half soap opera -- a murder is the complicating action of the plot, but it's got lots of affairs, lies, secrets and other fun things. The one thing t
Really enjoyed this book set in the 1940's. It is true to the time period. I read it because I found it in my grandmother's books with a note that she had made that she and my grandfather had dined at Antoine's in 1956 and thoroughly enjoyed their experience. This gave the book a more special meaning knowing that not only had she read it, but that she had been to the restaurant.
Muriel Schwenck
This book is like a fun old movie one enjoys watching on a rainy day. It's not the best quality, but it's just so darned entertaining!
The social mores, morals, fashions, food and drink are so detailed, it makes this a fun read. (There is a long description of making pressed duck!) It is a fast read despite all the details. That's because Keyes writes all those details with plenty of clarity.
It was such a popular book in its days that it is easy to find at thrift stores, libraries, garage sales.
The author was a racist, plain and simple. Her old mammy dipicition of the servants was appalling, just mean spirited. Didn't add anything to the theme of the book. Having said that, the plot, if you want to call it that, was lame. This was a shameless plug for Antoine's restaurant best left to the food critic experts for review. The female characters were shallow. In all, this book does not stand the test of time. I could never get lost in the moment of reading it. It just drifted from non sens ...more
Lori McD
"Senator Marlowe's Daughter" has been one of my favorite books for years, so I wanted to read another book by this author. While quite different, this book didn't disappoint. I particularly enjoyed the multiple point of view from the characters.

Having lived in Louisiana, I also enjoyed the lush portrayal of New Orleans and surrounding area.

The book is full of well-drawn characters in a carefully conceived plot. Very enjoyable.
This is not one of her best books but I think it is the most famous because of the legendary New Orleans restaurant []. When my father was on sabbatical at Tulane, I went to visit and went to lunch at Antoine's with my parents. We especially enjoyed their signature Pommes du Terres Souffles. An autographed copy of the book is on display at the restaurant and it is mentioned on their website.
I really enjoyed this fun murder mystery. The author has a lot to say about socially acceptable behavior in the '40s, and the characterizations are definitely of that time. The women and servants are pretty heavily stereotyped. But the characters are different and interesting, the plot moves forward at a steady pace, and the quaint writing is entertaining. I thought it was fun and engaging.
Since I live in New Orleans and have visited the Keyes home, I found this very interesting. It is definitely a reflection of the date it was written (1948) as far as attitudes about servants and women. But the characterizations were interesting and the mystery provocative. It kept my attention and was a fun read.
Nov 17, 2009 Mary marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Thinking of reading Rebecca so many years ago--I remembered that I also love Frances Parkinson Keyes. So I plan to reread Dinner at Antoines and River Road. I've never been able to visit New Orleans with out flashbacks to these books--even thought I can't remember the plots.
Read some ratings of this book. Of course the feminine archetype is stifled and not equal to a man's place in society. look at the time this book was written. duh
Yeah. It's dated, politically incorrect and class offensive (is that a word? If it's not, I just made it up!). It's one of those books I treasure. For me, reading is usually about learning new things; other times, it's to escape. That's what this was, an escape. Kind of a guilty pleasure.
I bought this book (a 1948 edition) at the author's house in New Orleans ,that is now a museum, when I visited the city in the early nineties. A simple mystery set in New Orleans.

For my upcoming New Orleans trip, everyone mentioned this as a classic New Orleans novel. But it's old and creaky. Written in a totally different style. And a black Mammy talking in stereotypical New Orleans dialog. For such a fluff novel it took forever to read. It's technically about a murder, but the murder happens in the third chapter, is not really a very interesting crime and then it gets dragged out and not resolved until the final two chapters. The middle just reads like a lot of society
New Orleans, catholic themes, murder, carnival, police, state department, mammies, South American shipping
Hard to rate as it was intriguing -- anyone could have been the protagonist. They all had motive. Low rating because it was a bit too long.
Since I'm going to visit New Orleans and probably see the house where this book was written, I thought I'd give it a read. All I can say is that writing styles have changed since 1948 when Keyes authored it. In investigating the mystery I kept thinking, "Why don't they just test the blood to see whose it was?" Of course, in 1948 that technology didn't exist! So....if you're interested in reading a classic that differs with today's suspense/mystery writing style, check this book out. Otherwise, m ...more
Sara Burt
I enjoyed this book. Definitely jolts you back to the 1940s. Hubby and I are headed to New Orleans for an anniversary trip and I enjoyed the authors descriptions of the life of the city. Hope to visit a few of the landmarks mentioned in the book while there! I didn't know much about the book before reading it and was interested to discover the inclusion of assisted suicide. Certainly prompts thinking through the moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding the issue.
I read this because I was trying to get in the mood for a trip to New Orleans. The book was only okay, but it was still better than the trip. (Side note: never travel to New Orleans in July if you can help it.) As a mystery it was not great. But the characters were well-developed and sympathetic to varying degrees.
Janis Duncan
I liked the book because I like murder mystery movies from the 1930a and 1940s. However I did not like the portrayal of African Americans in a servitude roll nor the use of the "n" word. I also did not like how the author portrayed women as at their happiest when they had a loving husband.
Excellently written. If you've ever been to New Orleans then it's definitely worth a read. Intriguing murder-mystery with historical aspects of the city adding to the rich feel of the novel. Easy going, I finished this much quicker than I thought due to the fast pace and interesting plot.
Great chapter endings that hooked me into the next chapter... I bought the book after touring the author's house in New Orleans. Published in 1948, the racism got to be a bit uncomfortable at times & so did the portrayal of women in society. But Keyes writes a good yarn!
Mary Dawn
I really enjoyed this, felt like I had entered an old New Orleans game of Clue. Took a little while to get used to the style! And have to overlook some serious stereotyping, but I still enjoyed. Book club having Dinner at Antoine's discussion at Antoine's this month, naturally!
I used to read Ms. Keyes about 40 years ago, but I could not get into this book now. There are too many words in the reading Dickens but not as good a story. I picked it up because we ate lunch at Antoine's in NOLA last month!
Did not finish.
Wow, what a journey through a time of misogynism and racism. After reading this book, you won't pine for the "good old days." Not to mention everyone talked too much about nothing, and too little about what was important. What a shallow world the author created.
I don't think this book holds up over time. The deep south dialect used by the maid and other characters is so dated and so "overdone" that it gets in the way of the flow of the story.
I gave it a 100 pages and returned it.
It was OK. I liked the atmosphere of New Orleans during Carnival. The mystery was compelling. But it was dated, the characters were pretty flat, and the "messages" seemed pretty 50's to me.
Peggy Donnelly
Murder mystery written in the late 1940s. It was an amusing diversion that kept you guessing until the end. In addition it offered an interesting portrait of New Orleans of the time.
pretty lame plot with trite philosophy (a woman should sit and wait all day for her husband and be accepting if he doesn't show up), I like the New Orleans society historical setting.
Learned about New Orleans and was so familiar with it from reading Ms. Keyes' books, that when I went to New Orleans the first time I felt I had already been there.
The 1948 edition was on my bookshelf! I loved the depiction of society struggling with the changing roles of women in post-WWII New Orleans.
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