The fifth Auguste Didier mystery.
Only a dinner of first-class excellence can tempt the Prince of Wales to endure the ordeal of being the president of the Society of Literary Lionisers. And he ensures this by insisting that the year's highlight, the banquet at Broadstairs, will be cooked by master chef Auguste Didier.
Broadstairs is famed not only as a seaside resort but also as the holiday haunt of Charles Dickens - the author the Society has chosen to lionise for the year of the Prince's presidency. The banquet, attended by six Peggottys, two Betsy Trotwoods, a couple of Little Dorrits, a Scrooge and a Mr Pickwick, not to mention a highly emotional Miss Havisham, passes off well - but the readings that follow do not. In the middle of the murder scene from Oliver Twist, the reader Sir Thomas Throgmorton collapses and dies.
It is soon realised that he has been poisoned, and Inspector Naseby of the local constabulary believes Didier's banquet is to blame - after all, what can you expect when a foreigner cooks the food? Luckily Inspector Egbert Rose of Scotland Yard is on hand to help Didier's investigations to prove his innocence of this most heinous of accusations.
Likely to satisfy few appetites, Myers's (Murder at the Masque) Victorian mystery features French chef Auguste Didier who is conducting a cooking course for six apprentices at Broadstairs on the English seaside. He can't pass up a chance for his little school to prepare the banquet for the Society of Literary Lionizers, convening there with the Prince of Wales. Didier is dismayed that the dishes must pertain to the works of the 1899 honoree, Charles Dickens, who championed plain cooking. But worse occurs when the chairman of the Society dies and Didier's gourmet meal seems to be the cause. The presence of the Prince of Wales commands the involvement of Scotland Yard, and fortunately, the chef's old friend, Inspector Egbert Rose of Scotland Yard, is vacationing with his wife nearby. Rose and Didier find a plethora of suspects in the acrimonious Society committee, all of whose members have had recent run-ins with the chairman, and the cooking school pupils, each of whom also had a tie with the dead man. Rife with Dickensian puns and references, this tale may nourish some literary and gourmet perusers, but it starves mystery fans. Science Fiction & Fantasy