Nell Hampton comes to the blog today with the second in her Kensington Palace Chef Mysteries, this one narrated by Romy Nordinger.
Lord of the Pies
My first introduction to this author and series, and I’ll be honest and say I grabbed it because of the title and setting – I can’t resist a clever title. Ex-pat Carrie is a private chef for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, fictionalized, but clever additions that hint to it being Will and Kate, although the WHO is far less important than their status in England and the myriad of ‘social conventions’ that surround such a place and position. Understand, that if you are a stickler for “convention and proper’ there are some misses here, but if you focus on the mystery and its development, they soon fall into the background. One of the three kitchens at the palace is Carrie’s domain, with much one-upmanship and competition between the four, she’s struggling to keep her foothold in the palace, her job and perhaps discover just who wants her gone. The why is essentially obvious and immaterial, but Nell Hampton manages to make Carrie near instantly sympathetic and intriguing, even with the goings-on and moments about the palace and London. But, there’s a real problem – someone is found dead after ostensibly consuming one of her pies, and with the tensions ramping up as Carrie is asked to join a televised competition for charity, with yet another mishap waiting in the wings, she’s definitely got plenty on her plate, and a very determined foe set on seeing her gone, one way or another.
When you add in some truly hunky men who are working with / protecting Carrie in the midst of all the tumult, and some romantic sparks that pit the Head of Security and the Head Gardener in the frame for Carrie to make her choice, despite a girlfriend for one and several unanswered questions, this part of the story only adds to bring Carrie’s sense of ‘home’ into the forefront, if she can manage to survive the latest threats. Complex and twisty, with plenty of depth and atmosphere, while the ending seemed to come quickly and wrapped a bit too conveniently, the story was certainly one that held my attention and had me guessing. But, beware – the many references to pies in all their glory will have your mouth watering as you may find a dormant pie-baker awakening to give it a go.
Narration for this story is provided by Romy Nordinger, a new voice to my ears. Her voice for Carrie, while not particularly ‘Chicago’ was solid and appropriate for her, while her accents and other character voices were ‘problematic’ without great distinction, a fairly ‘broad’ general English accent, with little distinction between the variances that are so distinct to anyone who is familiar with the distinct and different tones. Think ‘Geico geko’ versus any show from the BBC: one gives the most ‘broadly recognizable’ accent for those unfamiliar with the nuance, the other may require a bit of auditory attention to get things straight. As this was my first encounter with this narrator, I don’t have enough experience with her other works to know if accents are a consistent problem area, but I think reading the other books in this series for myself rather than audio will be my choice.
Stars: Overall 3 Narration 2 Story 3
Title: Lord of the Pies
Author: Nell Hampton
Series: Kensington Palace Chef Mystery #2
Genre: British, Contemporary Cozy Mystery, Food / Recipes, Setting: Britain
Narrator: Romy Nordlinger
Published by: Crooked Lane Books, Tantor Audio
Published on: 28 September, 2018
Source: Tantor Audio
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 28 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio
When Carrie Ann Cole bakes a lemon meringue pie to die for that actually kills someone, she must find out who the real killer is before her time at the Kensington Palace expires.
The elegant Orangery at Kensington Palace is the perfect setting for the bridal shower of Carrie Ann Cole’s best friend’s sister. Personal chef to the royal family, Carrie Ann’s pie theme is naturally winning. But a waiter later keels over dead into the lemon meringue pie she leaves as a thank-you to the staff and Carrie Ann realizes that somebody slipped a mickey into that meringue.
Her floury fingerprints are all over that pie and the authorities suspect her distress is a cover-up for murder. Carrie Ann must set out to clear her name if she wants to stay at her dream job any longer. But all too soon, another body drops in the Orangery. This time, it’s the Orangery chef.
Murder won’t crimp her style, and as bodies pile up, Carrie Ann uncovers palace intrigue, London nightlife, and British pies scouring for the killer in Lord of the Pies, the witty follow-up to Nell Hampton’s Kale to the Queen.
A copy of this title was provided via Tantor Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.