By Michael Bond
Allison & Busby - January 2002
ISBN: 0749005327 - Paperback
Mystery / Humor - Cote d'Azur, France

Reviewed by: Rachel A Hyde, MyShelf.Com
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It isn't surprising that the author of the world famous Paddington Bear books writes such delightful comedy, but it is always a nice surprise when another entry in the Monsieur Pamplemousse series is published. This is the thirteenth and this time Pamplemousse's employer has sent the hapless gastronome from Le Guide for a well-earned vacation in the South of France. Trouble is, why does it have to include watching a group of Russian mixed infants from a remarkably well-equipped school perform West Side Story? Surely this is a rather roundabout way to collect a piece of artwork for his boss…somehow Pamplemousse's holiday ends up dissolving amid a welter of modern gadgetry, the Russian mafia, sausages, a violent thunderstorm, secret agents and a funeral with a difference.

This is one of the most enjoyable and incident-laden of the series and Bond' s slightly risqué humor adds the right touch of ooh-la-la to this French farce. In some of the earlier stories, the detective element gets lost and along with it, the plot, but Bond doesn't let this happen in this particular tale and I didn't guess every scrap of it. There is a dearth of good comedy at the moment and it is particularly refreshing to find a comic novel that has a plot and isn't full of the sort of jokes that entail being familiar with a particular in-joke; anybody can read this and have a good laugh. There ought to be more of this sort of thing around - surely Monsieur Pamplemousse and Pommes Frites ought to be available by prescription.

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