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Crime Brûlée (A Carolyn Blue Culinary Mystery, #1)
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Crime Brûlée (A Carolyn Blue Culinary Mystery #1)

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  579 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Forty-something homemaker Carolyn Blue is through with cooking and cleaning. She’s finally decided to throw in the dishtowel—and take on a dream job as food writer. Now her plate is filled with exotic locales, delectable foods, and even a dash of crime—to taste. She could very well get used to this. It was a perfect arrangement. Carolyn had already planned to accompany her ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 275 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Berkley Prime Crime (first published 2001)
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Cozy Mystery Series
94th out of 454 books — 1,334 voters
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Best Cozy Mystery Series
293rd out of 968 books — 1,103 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,323)
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Jennifer
Why read: Looking for new-to-me culinary mystery series

What impressed me: I really enjoyed that Carolyn was a culinary writer. It was a great twist on the usual culinary mystery. I loved that the focus shifted away from cooking and was more on the taste and appearance of the food she wrote about.I liked traveling along with Carolyn and getting the touristy feel of New Orleans.

What disappointed me: I'm totally over the victim's jerk spouse. This comes up way too often in mysteries in every form o
...more
Tabby Kat
Now that her children have flown the coop and are attending college, Carolyn Blue has firmly put her days as family cook and housekeeper behind her, especially as she has been fortunate enough to land a contract to write a book of anecdotes about eating in interesting places. And since Carolyn will be be accompanying her her husband to an academic conference in New Orleans, Carolyn decides that her first assignment will be to write about the many culinary delights to be found in that city. Carol ...more
Susan
Crime Brûlée by Nancy Fairbanks is the first book of the Carolyn Blue culinary mystery series, set in pre-Katrina New Orleans. Carolyn Blue has it made: tired of cooking in her own kitchen, she prefers to travel and eat out, so she wangles a job writing a book as a food critic. She travels with her husband Jason, a chemistry professor, to a chemistry society conference in New Orleans, where she will be able to see the famous sights, eat at the famous restaurants, taste the “best of N’Awlins” and ...more
Sandra
The first book was enjoyable but I have now read the series back to back to back and I can honestly say that Carolyn Blue does NOT grow on you. She is an uptight, prissy, self-righteous prig who exercises by jumping to conclusions.

The series had such hope--written at a higher vocabulary level than the average cozy, exotic locations, recipes, interesting premise and some unique supporting characters, but 9 books into Carolyn, all novelty has worn off and she's like the annoying, uptight moral aun
...more
Susan
Fairbanks' Crime Brulee was a fast, fun read that was hard to put down. Carolyn is traveling to a conference with her husband to New Orleans and decides to put together a reunion dinner for their old college pals. Her best friend, Julienne, shows up for the dinner and disappears soon after. Carolyn is the only one truly worried for her friend and decides to investigate herself since no one else including the police will. Carolyn is a very likeable character because she is very easy to relate to, ...more
Lain
There was much to like about this book -- an interesting setting (who doesn't love N'Awlins?), a curious premise, and the added benefit of great recipes. I enjoyed following Carolyn Blue's attempts to locate her missing friend in the Big Easy.

Conversely, several elements bothered me. Carolyn never seemed real -- her character was half "dippy dame," as my father would say, and half academic-from-the-ivory-tower. She never rang true to me.

The plot also was a bit far-fetched, with more than a hint
...more
Martha Davis
I don't know what to say. I wanted to like this and sometimes I sort of did but I'm not committed to this series quite yet. I think I'll have to try another in the series to see what I think of the main character.

Carolyn Blue, a professor's wife is in New Orleans with her scientist husband to attend a convention and a reunion of college friends. When her childhood friend disappears and none of her other friends including the missing woman's husband seem to care. So, Caro decides to try to solv
...more
Liz
Carolyn Blue rigorously plans a dinner party for close "friends," and when one storms out, she assumes that her friend is kidnapped. I mean, what else would happen in the heathen town of New Orleans? Throw in a few other stereotypical characters and we pretend to have an adventure. To be honest, the cooking parts of the book are great. Growing up in New Orleans I guess I never realized the rich culinary history behind a lot of the different dishes. I think I would prefer to read the book the mai ...more
Laura
Don't usually have trouble finishing these kind of books, but this one I only finished out of stubbornness. The main character was annoying and cold. One minute she would be thinking of why her best friend from youth would disappear or what could have happened to her, then the next minute she would be more interested in her hair. Won't read more of these.
Thing Two
This is a great book for recipes. That's about as much praise as I can give.

Carolyn Blue is on a business trip in New Orleans with her scientist husband, and meets up with college friends, including her best childhood friend who had relatives in the city, is fighting with her husband (in public), and is also attending the scientific conference. But, the best childhood friend disappears after the public fight with her husband, and Miz Blue is the only person concerned, which is how she continues
...more
Jessica
This is a new author for me, and I was suitably entertained as to look for more of her books. The characters were opinionated and different (from what I've read) and I really enjoyed the food and location descriptions. It was very frustrating though, waiting untill the very last chapter to find out what became of the missing woman, Julliene. I was getting frustrated not knowing, that I almost jumped to the end just to relieve the tension. It was really driving me crazy;I just wanted to know if s ...more
Jodi
This book was particularly enjoyable because it was set in New Orleans, which happened to be where I was when I was reading it. Carolyn Blue is a former caterer who would just as soon eat someone else's food these days and is developing a career as a food writer. When her husband Jason is invited to a conference in New Orleans it's a great opportunity to visit with old friends and eat new food. Things go wrong from the first. I really liked Carolyn and her husband, though Jason seems too perfect ...more
Kim
I couldn't even finish this book. I ended up with big case of "who gives a fuck" and the like. I found her need to use grandiose words at all times tiring and her attempt at using dialect an insulting throw back to mammy waiting for massa to come home and deal with Miz Scarlet. I am not opposed to giving one the idea of a dialect but this was too much a minstrel show version for me. I felt at times that the main character was condescending to the reader and was treating said reader as if we were ...more
Tracy
You know, this wasn't a bad book, it just... wasn't. I didn't much care about the characters, couldn't figure out why the protagonist hung out with such a vile group of "friends" and really didn't give a rip if the mystery was solved.

It was very easy to just set the book down - nothing really held me. I think I got about 3/4 way through it (5 or 10 pages at a time) and finally decided to give up.

This is an airplane book. Entertaining, not taxing, and just something to point your eyes at to avoid
...more
Lauren
This book kept making me think of a saying, 'if one jackass tells you something, ignore it. But when a whole herd of jackasses tell you something.....'

The narrator (a very defensive stay-at-home-wife who is a little critical of her working mom friends/acquaintances) continuously makes people furious/storm off/etc. If everyone around you is constantly irritated - MAYBE YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

I didn't even finish this one, which is a shame. I was hoping this long series would be an addition to my bo
...more
Joy
I found this book on a library display of crime fiction with cooking
themes. The setting was a convention in New Orleans. It was fun
reading the recipes, but the story was very slow moving (ho hum). I've
reached a new standard in Parker books of no wasted words. There were
a lot wasted here. The main character was from El Paso where her
husband was a professor. I enjoyed the occasional Texas references,
but that was about it. It was too easy for me to solve the crime.
Kelsie
This was great!
Katie
This was a really fun read. I liked how the food critiques and recipes were interwoven with plot. The main character was quirky and likable. All the other characters were kind of bland. The mystery wasn't very easy to solve, but it didn't quite have the suspenseful twist and turns that make it impossible to put the book down. I will look for more books in this series when I'm in the mood for another light read.
Lindig
New Orleans, food, and murder. What's not to like, right? Unfortunately, the main character's personality began to grate on me around the second page. And the author makes what I consider a cardinal mistake: she attempts to write in the (New Orleans) vernacular.

Ah declayah, it was just more than a body could stand. Ah flang that book across the room, y'all.
Jane
Sep 22, 2013 Jane rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
I just could not get into this book. A reunion of college friends whom I found to be obnoxious, coupled with the stereotype of college friends who go on to a career looking down on the one who chose the stay-at-home mom route, really turned me off. Didn't take me too long to decide to punt this one. Just didn't like the characters or the writing style.
Jane
Food writer Carolyn Blue is in New Orleans with her husband who is attending a convention of the American Chemical Society when her friend, Julienne, disappears. And no one but Carolyn seems to care. As a mystery it was a little disappointing, but academic humor and recipes made it a fun read.
Marissa
Carolyn Blue is a professor's wife who has become an amateur food critic. In this first story, she must find out why her best friend has suddenly gone missing at their small college group's reunion in delicious New Orleans. An enjoyable food mystery with some tasty looking recipes included!
girl writing
A first installment in a routine cozy mystery series. Couldn't quite get a handle on the main character...sometimes she seemed very prim and proper and sometimes she was just normal. None of the red herrings were the murderer who didn't appear until the story needed to be wrapped up.
Bettynz
I think I've pretty much read this one in 24hrs. The only version the library had was large print and hardback, but survivable. Enjoyed it - quite taken with the recipe for praline - seems easy enough! I felt it still had some unresolved loose ends, but overall, a quite good read.
Melissa
Apr 10, 2009 Melissa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Christy Barber
This book was good for light reading...kind of fun for those who like reading about food. It's refreshingly PG-rated. However, it kind of drags in some parts, there's some predictabilty...and it will in no way ever become a classic. But overall, not a bad read.
Mary
Well, my book lists the author as Nancy Fairbanks. Of course, that's her pseudonym.
I enjoyed the pace and Carolyn's misadventures in N'Awlins. The pat mental illness of the perp disappointed me. She indicated that all bipolar sufferers were on the scary side.
Diane
I really like her books. They are quick, somewhat entertaining and best of all, she's a food writer! The books come with descriptions of meals that she eats in various locales and better yet, the recipes to go with them.
Mary
This book was a refreshing change from the usual cozy culinary mysteries. For once, the author uses language for mature people instead of the typical 7th grader. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
June
Nothing much happens in this book. Carolyn eats and searches for her friend. For the Reader's Digest version, read chapter 32 and you can give the rest of the book a miss. However, some of the recipes do look pretty good!
Alyssa White
I tried so hard to enjoy this book. Maybe it was just not the right time for me to read it... I think it did have some good ideas and maybe one day I'll pick it up and reread it to see if my opinion has changed at all about it.
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