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Dinner at Antoine's

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  383 ratings  ·  59 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, Large Print, 825 pages
Published December 31st 1983 by Thorndike Press (first published 1948)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  383 ratings  ·  59 reviews


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Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Patrons of Antoine's only
Oh (heavy handed) irony!

My copy physically started off like this;

 photo DinneratAntoinespaperback_1.jpg

and ended up like this;

 photo DinneratAntoinesfallingapart.jpg

That's right, the whole thing fell apart literally as well as figuratively.

The best parts were the descriptions of Antoine's and it's decadent sounding menus and descriptions of Creole traditions like Carnivale. The worst was pretty much everything else. Minor irritations were a romance between two characters who clearly weren't relevant to the murder mystery & who did very little to drive the plot for
...more
Val Robson
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
I love Frances Parkinson Keyes' books so I am a little disappointed that I can only give this one 3 stars as it is not as good as others of hers that I have read.

It's set in New Orleans in the 1940s and starts with Orson Foxworth, a businessman who does much of his business in central America, celebrating his return to New Orleans by giving a dinner in Antoines restaurant. The dinner is held in the 1840 room which is a private room celebrating the year of opening of Antoine's which is a real li
...more
Muriel Schwenck
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
...more
Bryan D.
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the 2016 Read Harder challenges is to read a book from the decade of your birth. For me, that would be the 1940s as I was born in the first half of the last century. Frances Parkinson Keyes' novel Dinner at Antoine's hit number 3 on the 1948 Best Sellers list as determined by Publishers Weekly, and was number 6 on the same list for 1949. This seemed like a good book to read for the challenge.

My first observation is that readers had a much longer attention span sixty plus years ago. I dar
...more
Wayne
Aug 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
I've walked past Keyes restored house in the French Quarter fairly often, and each time I would wonder: why don't people read Keyes any more? Then I found Dinner at Antoine's among some free paperbacks and finally read something by her. I no longer wonder.

It's slow going. Lots of characters (every one a murder suspect), they all talk the same (except for the black servants, who talk in Uncle Remus), and none talk like humans, nor act like them either. Overwritten, overwrought, overly ornate, and
...more
Lori
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Ea Solinas
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Simone
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was ok

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
...more
Carol
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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.
CLM
This is not one of her best books but I think it is the most famous because of the legendary New Orleans restaurant [http://www.antoines.com/]. 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.
Julie
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.
Jamie
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
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.
Lauren
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mary
Nov 17, 2009 marked it as to-read
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.
Mama
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Christina
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This year I want to read some of the books I saved from my mother's library. I started with this one because it was on top of the pile. Published after WWII and set in New Orleans, it definitely feels dated, particularly in the portrayal of women and minorities. However, the characters and story are compelling and more interesting than I anticipated. I especially liked the resolution of the mystery storyline. It is always an interesting experience to feel sympathy for the murderer. Keyes does a ...more
Maryann
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Set in New Orleans, this murder mystery has so much charm. Ruth was really only coming to visit her uncle and experience Carnival, but then Odile is shot, and the mystery ensues. Keyes characters are spot on for the time and setting, and she incorporated real people she met while living in New Orleans into her story. The introduction in my edition about Keyes was wonderful as well- Keyes liked to live in the settings of her novels before writing them, and she was enchanted by New Orleans (as she ...more
Dar
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A mystery set in New Orleans after WWII, this book was a fun read. Coming in at 479 pages of really small font, a good editor could have cut out at least 100 pages.

Lots of wonderful characters carefully developed; elegant rooms, clothes, jewelry, accessories sometimes over described. It was fun and interesting reading about the social mores of the day.

All in all, a good read even if tedious in places.
Joel
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this bok because it was cited in a New Orleans guide book and I like that city. It does have the feel of New Orleans (people, scenes, food, police, etc.). Written in a time when racist language was "normal," it is harsh now. If it's possible to get past that, there is a slow developing mystery classic embedded.
Molly
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It was written in the 1940's, so it was more drawn out than I typically like....but it was beautifully done. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Anne
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Enjoyable mystery although dated and cringe-worthy at times. Can't believe this was never made into a Hollywood film. It read like an old B&W.
Sheila Samuelson
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Loved it!!! Really felt like i was in the 1940s when reading it.
Jan J
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit dated and old fashioned but interesting outlook on New Orleans.
Ronn
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a peculiar book, being part murder mystery, part romance, part society novel, all with some international political intrigue thrown in for good measure. Perhaps this is why, even though compelling enough to read to the end, I had trouble reading more than 3 or 4 pages at a time.

This was written and takes place in 1948, but [because of the New Orleans setting, perhaps?] it could just as easily taken place 50 years earlier, and it is quite easy to mentally substitute a carriage for any men
...more
Armadillo
Oct 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Sara Burt
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
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.
Amy
Jul 24, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Mary Dawn
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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!
Sarah
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had a story that started out slow for me, but captured my attention as it progressed. I had so many mind-opening moments with this book and I have several quotes that I want to save for further reflection. Great book!
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