Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders
by Kevin Sylvester
Key Porter Books
Suggested Ages: 9 - 12
Description: Neil Flambé is a fourteen-year-old wunderchef. He can cook anything, and he brags that he can cook it better than anyone else. He`s cocky, but he may also be right. Patrons pay top dollar and wait months for reservations at his tiny, boutique restaurant. What many of Neil’s patrons don’t know is that he’s also a budding detective. It all started when he used his knowledge of cooking and his incredible sense of smell to acquit his mother’s client of murder. Ever since, Police Inspector Sean Nakamura has relied on Neil to help him crack case after case.
Now, the city’s crime scene has taken a turn for the personal. Some of the best chefs in town are turning up dead. The cops are stumped; the only real clues are a mysterious smell and some equally mysterious notes that seem to have something to do with Marco Polo. As more chefs fall prey to the killer, Neil finds himself working not only to solve the murders, but to eliminate himself as the prime suspect!
Book Review: Delightfully fun tale for the 9 - 12 set. Lots of excitement, mystery and intrigue and the plot is not overly obvious so it will keep them guessing at who the murderer is. There is also some food and historical education done in such a way that the little buggers won't know they are learning something. Hopefully it will also spark their interest in learning more about Marco Polo or even into cooking itself. My only problem with the book is Neil himself. He really comes across as a know-it-all snotty little brat, that it may turn off some readers. Than again, his parents are atrocious so you could understand how he turned out the way he did. By the end, he has learned some lessons and hopefully in the rest of the series, he will become a little more likeable . Also do not read this on an empty stomach, because you will get seriously hungry while reading. I wish he was real, so I could sample his Pommes de Terre a la Flambe. Ohh, almost forgot to mention, the illustrations are wonderful!
I got this book at the OLA conference last year from Rosalyn Steele at HB Fenn (I think she is with HarperCollins now though) and Kevin Sylvester signed it to Jesse and Jake with a delightful drawing.
Note about my Reviews
Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!