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

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  737 Ratings  ·  78 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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(showing 1-30)
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Kim
Feb 28, 2013 Kim rated it did not like it
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
Lauren
Mar 26, 2012 Lauren rated it did not like it
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
Laura
Nov 08, 2014 Laura rated it did not like it
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.
Jennifer
May 06, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-cozy
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
Sandra
Jul 26, 2011 Sandra rated it liked it
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
Tracy
Aug 03, 2008 Tracy rated it it was ok
Shelves: fluff, abandoned
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
Jane
Sep 16, 2013 Jane rated it did not like it
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.
Nichole Rottinghaus
May 05, 2008 Nichole Rottinghaus rated it did not like it
Consitently through the book I kept asking myself, "Why am I reading this?" None of the characters were very likable, except Carolyn's husband and I think I just liked him for putting up with her! Not recommended.
Dawn
Feb 26, 2017 Dawn rated it really liked it
Carolyn Blue is embarking on a new path; moving from homemaker to food writer. Her new career is taking her to exciting places to try incredible foods. Now, she is gathering research to write her first book.
Jason, Carolyn’s husband, has an academic conference in New Orleans where his is to present a paper. Carolyn has arranged a reunion with their old college friends the night before the conference begins. She plans to use this trip to put together her book on Cajun Cuisine.
At the dinner party
...more
Cheryl
Jul 04, 2016 Cheryl rated it did not like it
There is a temptation to dub this book the stupidest book that I have ever read -- but then I remember Wild Animus, which holds its own special place in book hell. It is probably the stupidest mystery, although I realize it must have some redeeming quality, since I did finish it because I wanted to know the solution. It goes without saying that the solution was stupid as well.

I selected this book because I like cozy mysteries, I love to travel (and enjoyed my trip to New Orleans), and I like to
...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
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
Melva Clark
Feb 11, 2017 Melva Clark rated it liked it
This was a quirky little mystery book. It takes place in New Orleans. The main character is writing a book about the food in New Orleans so there are some delicious descriptions of that food. She also gives little history bites about the dishes. Her best friend goes missing and she must find her. The end is great!
Susan
Jul 21, 2012 Susan rated it liked it
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
Feb 04, 2008 Lain rated it liked it
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
Sherri
May 31, 2016 Sherri rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the mystery and read it in one day. The problems I had with this book were:
1. the main character is prissy and condescending, not only to other characters, but to the reader as well.
2. Her "friends" were horrid beyond belief, after the first dinner I would have avoided them like the plague.
3. There were too many breaks in the narrative to give recipes and/or talk about other nonsense. I mean you get slashed and all you can think about is how your periwinkle scarf is getting bloody? Als
...more
Liz
Jul 07, 2010 Liz rated it it was ok
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
Diana
Dec 31, 2014 Diana rated it really liked it
This is a good cozy mystery.
Carolyn Blue is in New Orleans with her husbnd while they attend a scientific conference. Carolyn has been recently gotten a job as a food writer. In the course of the book, she does eat her way across New Orleans, included in the book are receipes for some of her favorite dishes.
Carolyn's long time friend, Julienne, disappears during supper on their first night in town.
She had a bad fight with her husband in front of all their friends. She runs out of the room,
...more
Martha Davis
Jul 04, 2010 Martha Davis rated it liked it
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
Thing Two
Dec 05, 2013 Thing Two rated it it was ok
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
Joanne
Mar 24, 2016 Joanne rated it really liked it
I expected a culinary confection and got it reading "Crime Brulee". Loved that it is set in New Orleans. Enjoyed picking out landmarks we've visited as I followed "food writer" Carolyn Blue around the Big Easy. Her search of her missing friend combined with her "foodie" interests are well balanced. Her spontaneous predicaments and flirtatious encounter with a handsome police lieutenant (she is so naive as not to pick up on the pick up) and deep concern about her friend keep the story rolling. Lo ...more
Susan
Nov 05, 2016 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, fantasy, own
This was a silly, fluffy little mystery. Fine for filling time, but not much more than that. I found the insertions of all the recipes (which Carolyn, the protagonist, was gathering for a book she was planning to write) distracting rather than interesting. And the plot-line stretched credulity a bit -- that no-one other than Carolyn would've been worried about her missing friend. I did enjoy the interactions between Carolyn and the detective who helped her. But there have simply been so many goo ...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
May 09, 2010 Jodi rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-read
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
Jennifer Gallagher
This book... oh my god, how can I describe it? Pompous, arrogant, annoying af. This book had promise, so much promise. A culinary cozy mystery set in New Orleans, that's awesome! But the execution was so sub-par. The characters were SO annoying I thought about DNF'ing this after only 30 pages. But no, ever forward, it has to get better, right? Wrong... Only the main character is concerned about the missing woman. The other main characters were just whiny and too self-absorbed to care. Even the w ...more
Ed
#1 in the Culinary Food Writer series. Caroline Blue is a fledgling food columnist and her husband, Jason, is a Chemistry professor at a TX university.

Culinary Food Writer series - Carolyn Blue accompanies her husband to a chemist's convention in New Orleans. She intends to meet old college friends and gather material for a book on NO cuisine. At the reunion dinner, her best friend has a bitter argument with her husband and abruptly departs. When she doesn't reappear, Carolyn haunts NO and the N
...more
Spook Harrison
Jul 23, 2016 Spook Harrison rated it liked it
Shelves: fluffy-mysteries
Okay, so I didn't really expect much from the book aside from distraction, but it was actually pretty darned good! The main character isn't a strong one to my mind, though somewhat reminiscent of Jessica Fletcher, smile. The mystery was very well executed, the events matured organically, and characters built realistically. I'll have to read the second to see if Fairbanks can craft a tale like that again!
Katie
Nov 19, 2008 Katie rated it really liked it
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.
Elizabeth
Oct 07, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
This book was promising, however, it soon proved to be a bit aggravating. It went from one extreme to the other with the main character, Carolyn Blue, worrying about the whereabouts of her missing friend one moment, and then raving about food at fancy restaurants the other. The story went downhill progressively as more and more outrageous things happened to Carolyn and she couldn't put any of the clues she had together.
Joy
Jun 22, 2009 Joy rated it it was ok
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.
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Other Books in the Series

A Carolyn Blue Culinary Mystery (1 - 10 of 11 books)
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  • Death A L'Orange (A  Carolyn Blue Culinary Mystery, #3)
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