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Roux Morgue    by Claire M. Johnson order for
Roux Morgue
by Claire M. Johnson
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Roux Morgue is Claire M. Johnson's second mystery novel in the Mary Ryan series. Let us hope that there will be many more.

Mary Ryan is a pastry chef in San Francisco. She became a pariah in the culinary field after several bodies were found in her vicinity (one in her bed). She needed work badly. Finding a job as a teaching chef at the culinary school in which she learned her trade, she's relieved to leave her usual fourteen hour workdays in a restaurant behind her to teach a subject she loves.

What happens next? You got it. More bodies. Mary can't stay out of the investigation and puts herself in jeopardy. The backdrop of the school fascinated me. My chef daughter is a teaching chef now and I identified with so much of this story. But I still learned a lot about the machinations necessary to keep a kitchen running.

Johnson has a sure thing going here. Mary Ryan is a great new character on the mystery scene - one with whom readers can fall in love and worry about when she places herself in tenuous positions. She has a great sense of humor that often helps to carry the day. Her feelings for a homicide detective are hopeless. He's married and she's too scrupulous to interfere in his marriage, but the temptation never goes away.

The insertion into the mystery of big shots with lethal threats is a bonus. I wanted to swat one of the men up alongside his head. This is a fun series.

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