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The Grave Gourmet (Capucine Culinary Mystery, #1)
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The Grave Gourmet (Capucine Culinary Mysteries #1)

2.63 of 5 stars 2.63  ·  rating details  ·  484 ratings  ·  138 reviews
A savory blend of murder and fine French cuisine set against the dazzling beauty of Paris, Campion's debut--the first in a mouthwatering new series--is an intriguing mystery with a culinary twist.
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Kensington
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Jessica
I liked the idea, but the execution? Ugh!

The first, most important thing Campion has to say about Capucine is that she's gorgeous and knows it. She first appears in chapter one in "straightening, drawing in her tummy, rounding out her buttocks, lifting her breasts against her designer silk blouse." By the second chapter, she is asking her superior for a job transfer, still wearing designer clothes, but having decided that "omitting a bra was essential to the tough guy look." For some reason, Cam...more
Amy
Not sure why I keep trying with mysteries. They're really not my thing, at best palate cleansers between other books. I do however love anything set in a great city like Paris. I approached this one with modest expectations.

And gave up. This book can't seem to figure out what it is--a cosy about lovely meals in Paris, or a glimpse of how hard-edged Parisian "flics" are, or an international spy story. The characters behave in inexplicable ways. Why is the hunky bad-boy cop physically roughing up...more
Kimberly
Firstly, the author wants you to know that women have breasts. He'll remind you of that throughout the book.

Secondly, the author is male. You'll know this from the first chapter when our main character, Capucine, mused that she was happy she didn't wear a bra to a job interview. Capucine is young and hot, by the way. She starts out as a bored white-collar investigator who yearns for a grittier job and a chance to use her gun. She gets her shot when a man is found dead inside a restaurant. Since...more
Nancy
I wish I had read the reviews before purchasing... It doesn't have any redeeming qualities - there was a description of a gourmet meal that was awful beyond words (started with oyster sorbet - turn to page 37); character development is non-existent; the plot and its development are leaden and the wording itself is pretentious and obtuse. Clearly, it is time to put this book down - I love reading a good mystery, but this one just isn't cutting it.

The line that made me decide it was time to put th...more
Nancy
It's too bogged down with technical crap about the french police. I think three chapters start with Capucine being unable to sleep. Here's some of Chapter 5:

Even the unintentional cynicism of the fiscal division's address--122, rue Chateau des Rentiers, the coupon clipper's castle--failed to cheer her up, as it invariably did even in the worst of her moods.

For lack of anything better, her plan for the day was rudimentary, a quick run-through of her office at Rentiers to deal with any department...more
Jessi
I got this book for 99 cents and wasn't sure what to expect. It was certainly interesting. I have done no Googling for this but I am assuming it was translated from another language. It was very... French.
So, Capucine is a gorgeous police woman. She's been working in financial crimes and wants to work her way up the ladder and also into some more interesting crimes. Her husband is a famous food critic which comes in handy when a body is found in the freezer of a well-known restaurant.
I skimmed...more
Connie N.
I had expected something quite different from this book, having pictured it as a cozy mystery with a food theme based on the series name of "A Capucine Culinary Mystery." BTW, Capucine is the heroine (pronounced kap-puy-seen, I looked it up). But the only connection to cuisine is that the dead body was found in a restaurant by the chef. And Capucine's husband is a food critic. Other than that the entire mystery was much more of an industrial espionage story that I found less-than-exciting. The w...more
Droewyn
This was a Nook Free Fridays book.

It was a competent enough mystery, but I hated the main character. Capucine was born a rich French socialite but wanted to do something meaningful with her life, so joined the Paris police force. Not content with her cushy desk job in accounting crimes, she wants to be transferred to Homicide. So she puts on her best designer suit (all of her clothing is "a so-and-so tailored whatever"), takes off her bra (because it will make her "look tough"... SERIOUSLY), and...more
Kandice
Once the book got going, I thought it was just OK overall. I don't know if the French are sexist, or that quality only belongs to the author, but I found the beginning offensive and almost didn't finish it. The fact the main character didn't want to wear a bra when she wanted to get her way, and the fact that all the men around her seemed to be assessing her physical qualities, almost ruined the book for me. About a third of the way into the book, the mystery became more interesting. However, I...more
Beth
Jul 07, 2013 Beth added it
This was a free download for my Nook. It was overpriced.

This book contains homophobia (one cop calls another a fag), sexism (the protagonist sees nothing wrong in using her body to influence a superior so she can get a promotion) and a huge amount of pretension. Oh, and a little American bashing is also included.

Overall it has the feeling of someone who spent a couple of weeks in France showing off their "knowledge" of the language and colloquialisms. It really amazes me that in 2013 a nasty lit...more
Peggy
I cannot even finish this book. I don't know if the author is wanting to paint all French people as rude and inconsiderate, but that's the impression I get. The main character is a woman police lieutenant but just about every single person she encounters - from peers to superior officers to subordinates - treat her with disdain, insulting her to her face and behind her back. Why we are supposed to accept that she accepts this behavior is beyond me. It's too stupid for me to waste any more time r...more
Jean
I am so sorry to say that I agree with the vast majority of the comments regarding this book. I kept reading, thinking perhaps the story would go somewhere interesting. Instead, it got worse. As many of the other women have said, for the main character to even THINK about not wearing a bra to a job interview is beyond ridiculous.

The sexual innuendo with the cousin was just too weird. Supposedly this strong woman, who wanted so badly to be a policewoman, to use her gun and to lead criminal inves...more
Lori
This story begins with the discovery of a body in the walk-in cooler of one of Paris' revered three star restaurants. The main character is a young policewoman who is married to a restaurant critic. The characters are well-developed and the descriptions of Paris (and its food) are fun. I'm looking forward to future mysteries in this series.
Deale Hutton
Well, I finished it.. this was pretty horrible. The author is misogynistic, and as one reviewer put it so well, he wants you to be aware that women have breasts. Yup. In addition, the sexual episodes are pretty brutally described, even the language is chauvinistic. Now, the alleged plot: we were given no clues, it was uninteresting, and the dénouement was just 'explained' not 'figured out'. And, the main character seems to drag suspects in for questioning with no idea why and no conclusion. The...more
Lynn Hulsman
I picked this book up because it had a foodie bent, and I had recently been reading a few crime thrillers and mysteries. I also liked the idea that it was set in France, and gave a glimpse into a world of French police and government culture with which I have no experience. One of my favorite things is to be drawn into the world of a story.

The main character, Capucine is an unbelievably gorgeous and sexy police woman, who sort of seems like she doesn't realize her shirts are too tight or that s...more
Betty
Chef Jean-Basile Labrousse owns the three-star Diapason restaurant. When he kicks a bag of squash in his freezer, it feels more like meat to him. He opens the bag to find the body of Jean-Louis Delage, the president-directeur general of Renault; who dined there earlier in the evening with his attorney.

With everyone else tied up, Le Commissaire Talon assigns twenty-eight years old Parisian Police Detective Capucine Le Tellier for the lead on the case; her first field crime scene assignment as her...more
Elizabeth Quinn
The Grave Gourmet introduces a new mysteries series featuring Capucine Le Tellier, a Paris police officer who's stuck investigating white collar crime when she'd rather be solving murders, and her much-older husband, Alexandre, who's the restaurant critic for Le Monde. Capucine gets her chance at grittier police work when the president of Renault is found dead in the freezer of a three-star Parisian restaurant. Campion works a couple of subplots here -- the murder investigation, the office polit...more
Joyce Lagow
Subtitled A Capucine Culinary Mystery, obviously this is the debut of a series which is set in Paris. The protagonist is 28 year old Lt Capucine Le Tellier, who works for the police, the Police Judiciare (PJ). Her husband Alexandre is a food/restaurant critic for an unspecified paper. When the book opens, Ca;pucine is fuming at her job in the fraud section of the PJ. She longs to be assigned to La Crim, the homicide division, but is doing such a good job in her current position that she can’t ge...more
Karin
This review may contain spoilers, so beware!

I'm not quite halfway through this book, but I'm still compelled to voice my complaints so far.

First of all, how can I take a writer seriously when he doesn't even have a basic grasp of time zones? When Cappucine sets up her little sting operation, that takes place at 3 pm. The guy arrives on time, there are a couple of minutes of awkward conversation, then he runs. They chase him through the streets of Paris for eight miles, ending almost directly inf...more
Dawn Moriarty
The book starts out in a way it grabs your interest - the chef of a Michelin rated Parisian restaurant walks into the cooler and finds the body of the President of Renault. Unfortunately, early in the book, the author feels it necessary to add sexual tension between two characters that was completely unnecessary, did nothing to keep the plot moving and seriously delayed character development. After about 30% of the beginning of the book, that is completely gone from the book and never brought up...more
Cate
First, let me add here that although there are no recipes included in the book itself they can be found on the Author’s website under recipes.

Now, onto the book itself. If you are looking for serious crime novel set in Paris, this may not be the one for you. Although it is a crime novel, and it is set in Paris it is more a light-hearted look at the Police Judicaire, and the homicide division.

The main protagonist is a very chic, very French woman, married to a food critic. She is moneyed, over-pr...more
Ms.pegasus
Mar 01, 2011 Ms.pegasus rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the culinary profession, France, light mysteries.
Shelves: mystery, fiction, food
THE GRAVE GOURMET by Alexander Campion has created in Capucine an unlikely novice crime detective. Nurtured in the financial crimes division, she is anxious to partake of “real” police work, as an escape from her well-bred tastefully comfortable life. Her cousin is a government insider, and her husband is a well-know restaurant critic. The combination of moxie and elegance is a bit reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn – alternating between naïve charm, feminine wiles, and pit bull doggedness. In other...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
This book is set in Paris, France, and with my being married to a Frenchman and a fan of Georges Simeone...The book was interesting but fell short in my estimation for easy reading. I was stopped every couple of paragraphs with french terms that made me head to the French/English dictionary. I'm always eager to learn but, felt it destroyed the flow of the book. Also, the main sleuth sometimes was naive and sometimes overly confident...it alternated.

I felt the murder was lost within the other mys...more
Rebecca
Just didn't work for me. I never got into it and never cared about the characters. Also never got a sense of them. The interrogations are so violent. It all felt wrong and unethical. No sense of fairness or right being done that I usually find with good mysteries. Finished it, but never cared much about doing so.
Rebekah Jinks
Can I give 1/2 a star? Ugh. Horrible. Introduce murder, chapter 1... Go through whole book with not much to do with culinary anything, all about automobile and espionage... Wrap up murder in second to last chapter. I only finished book because I couldn't believe it could get worse! Bad bad bad. Not worth the time.
Shay
I really wanted to like this book. I gave it every chance. I told myself, it's okay if it suffers from some of the typical problems of the first novel. After all, it's a culinary mystery set in Paris, written by an ex-pat food writer. Even if the characters are flat and one-dimensional (they are) or unlikable (many are), you will be compensated with glorious descriptions of French food and Paris. I believe the author has only two descriptions of any length of French cuisine, one so disgusting th...more
Kristin Kinman
Either this is translated poorly or it's a rather pretentious little book. The author used many obscure words that I had to look up, and I have a prodigious vocabulary. They really weren't necessary to the character or flow of the story. In addition the French was rather thick and obscured the story if you did not have an affection for, or an understanding of it.

There were a lot of hints about the background of the characters but it was never really explained; yet it played a very important rol...more
Susan
Capucine, who has rebelled against her stuffy family and joined the police, just wants to get out of the staid financial crimes unit and become a regular investigator. She gets her chance when the president of the Renault company is found dead in a four star restaurant. As Capucine's husband is a noted restaurant critic, and the police suspect food poisoning, she's the ideal person to find out what's going on. Unfortunately, the focus soon turns away from the restaurant, and soon Capucine and he...more
Kathleen
Fun for a foodie and / or fan of Paris. Good character development and unusual main character. This appears to be the first of a series,q and it will be interesting to see if the suspense will continue.
Elizabeth
Slogged through about 12 chapters. Interesting idea to the book, but the story was lists of designer clothes, boring menus, and detailed descriptions of perfect bodies.
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The Free Book Cha...: The Grave Gourmet, by Alexander Campion 1 5 Jun 22, 2013 08:04PM  
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Alexander Campion started out as a true New Yorker, graduating from Columbia and migrating downtown to Wall Street. Early on, someone, a little apologetically, proposed he spend six months maximum in Paris helping out with a new venture his firm had just acquired. He stayed thirty five years, eventually becoming a restaurant critic and progressing inevitably to gastronomic thrillers.
More about Alexander Campion...
Crime Fraiche (Capucine Culinary Mystery, #2) Killer Critique (Capucine Culinary Mysteries #3) Death of a Chef (Capucine Culinary Mysteries #4) Murder on the Mediterranean

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