I'm recommending another good mystery series here, and though this one, Murder on the Ile Sordou, is fourth in the progression by M.L. Longworth, you might want to start with an earlier book, perhaps Murder in the Rue Dumas. The first in her series, Death at the Chateau Bremont didn't get as good a review, though I did enjoy it enough to get the next one.
I especially loved her evocative descriptions of a stunningly beautiful island off the coast of Marseilles. The whole ambiance made me want to book a trip and stay in the hotel described, sadly though I know it doesn't exist. But maybe one like it??
Some privileged guests, among them a French film star have come for the grand opening. The plot proceeds to thicken, with Longworth's investigative duo, Judge Antoine Verlaque and his lady love, law professor Marine Bonnet along for the ride. They are on what is supposed to be an idyllic, relaxing vacation.
All the characters are very well fleshed out, and original. As well, the food and wine descriptions are just too tasty. On this remote island in the Mediterranean Sea, Hoteliers, Maxime and Catherine Le Bon have spent their life savings beautifully restoring the hotel. They have also secured an ambitious young chef, Emile, for their kitchen, one who goes foraging for local wild herbs and plants. And the varied, inspired menus have us wanting to try his wonderful creations. He served the guests a starter that would be great with my drink: A Goat Cheese Crème Brûlée with Caramelized Onions. Oh yes!
The bartender/sommelier, Serge, is another interesting character. We are told in the opening sentence about him, that he loves Bloody Marys. And that folks, is what I am presently serving up. However the real inspiration came when I was clipping some dill for a batch of pickles, and discovered their stems are hollow, and make perfectly lovely straws. Then we needed to make a drink featuring one of those dill straws. They are sooo cute. Another point in their favor is that they don't swell up to the point of closing flow off, before you have finished your drink, like some of the replacements, currently being used. I've had that happen, and in a pretty high end restaurant. Another example of American suffering.
Claudia's Bloody Mary
8 oz. (about) Knudsen's organic Very Veggie Juice
2 measures vodka
squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a slice of lemon
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
about 6 drops of Tabasco
about 6 drops of Tabasco
Put the slice of lemon and 2-3 ice cubes in a tall glass, add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice about 4 twists of the black pepper mill and a pinch of salt. Stir up, add your Veggie juice and vodka and stir again. Garnish with a celery stick and or sprig of dill. Enjoy!
Not being a purist, you'll notice, as I'm using a V-8 type juice instead of tomato. For me anyway, it tastes much better. As an afterthought, I'm going to rinse the straws, and let them dry, then save to see if they'll be usable later. I'm sending this concoction over to Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event and to Heather for May's edition of the Foodies Read Challenge. Check out some good food and reading suggestions.