By Cat Green
Published May 2022
This is the first book in the Nina Brown Paranormal Cozy Mystery series. In this one, Nina is called on to take her boss’s place judging a culinary competition in Aix-en-Provence, France. It’s the chance of a lifetime and could make Nina’s career. But problems abound, from falling for the handsome local competitor to several murder attempts on one of the other judges. Over the course of a weekend, Nina must identify the would-be murderer before the wrong man is accused or she becomes the target.
There are several things to like about this book. It’s cute. Light, fluffy and fun. The pacing is quick and Jasper the French bulldog is a standout character. The story relied heavily on the trope of an ingenue put into a position that she’s not remotely prepared for, and while it’s a trope for a reason, it works for the set up here.
Unfortunately, I had more minuses with this story than I did pluses. Aside from loving cozy mysteries, the paranormal aspect hooked me. Unfortunately, Nina’s abilities went from being barely fleshed out to being one thing too many packed into this book. There was, of course, a mystery (which was easily solved and inexplicably everyone, from the maitre’d to the police inspector, seemed to be compelled to discuss the case with Nina, even though she wasn’t really involved in it), a romance (with the love interest falling for her for no rational reason – despite it being against every contest protocol), and the paranormal spin, which was lumped in somewhat awkwardly. Lastly, I’m 99.9% sure the author has never been to Aix-en-Provence. It would have been better for her to make up a village to set this story in rather than try to make Aix fit the cozy mystery village vibe. I can assure you, Aix isn’t a “small village” with no taxi service. It’s possible the author assumes none of her readers have been there and wouldn’t know the difference.
I think this is yet another book where I’m not in the right age cohort to enjoy it. But plenty of people loved it, based on the number of positive reviews it has received. If you want to check it out, it’s on Kindle Unlimited so you’re not out any money if you feel the same as I do. Or maybe you’ll love it and have a new cozy mystery series to follow, which is never a bad thing.
I rated this book 2 stars. ⭐⭐
Thank you to BookSirens for providing the ARC of this book. I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.