Blowback - Peter  May We have dog detectives, cat detectives, recipe mysteries, vampire sleuths, etc. Most of these I ignore. At least a university professor who is a forensic science expert and works on cold cases makes sense.

Enzo MacLeod, is investigating the cold case murder of Marc Fraysse, a three star restaurant chef, who owned a place so famous that reservations were required six months in advance. Discovered by the local flic, Dominique, who, Enzo discovers to his delight, cleans up spectacularly out of uniform. (Some of these fall-spring relationships, I find disconcerting. The idea of dating someone younger than my daughter is weird.) Speaking of daughters, we learn relatively early that Enzo has sent his daughter to work incognito at the restaurant and he soon learns (mostly through her flirting with Phillippe) that Marc had been having an affair with Anne, the wife of the sous chef. After his death the restaurant was taken over by Marc’s brother, Gus. Rumors had been circulating that Marc was about to lose his third star. It seems a restaurant critic had it in for Marc.

Enzo enlists his daughter to help gather some undercover inside information and soon discovers that Marc problems way beyond those of a restaurateur in fear of losing a star. He was losing millions at the track. A multitude of other motives begin to surface as Enzo explores Marc’s relationship with his wife and brother, Gus, from whom he had been estranged for many years before Marc achieved his third star. Familial discord is a theme that inflicts both the Fraysse and MacLeod families and the parallels between the two seemed a bit too coincidental if not irrelevant.

May clearly loves haute cuisine which he describes in loving detail as well as the French countryside. I’m not a an oenophile so I suspect I didn't appreciate the effete (if not absurd) descriptions of wines. Nevertheless, they elicited an unintended chuckle. Well written with an ingenious plot; I’ll add some some of the earlier Enzo titles to my reading list. I knocked off a star because the forensic science seemed to take a back seat to cuisine.

I received a free copy of this book as an advanced reader copy. That it was free affected my judgment not a whit.