Today Mandie is having a change of pace with a review of The Last Supper by Rosemary Shrager. We saw the author on a panel at Harrogate last year and it’s fair to say that Prudence Bulstrode sounds aright character, Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
The irresistible debut novel from celebrity TV chef Rosemary Shrager where cosy crime and cookery collide!
When an old television rival, Deirdre Shaw, is found dead at the Cotswolds manor house where she was catering for a prestigious shooting weekend, Prudence is asked to step into the breach. Prudence is only too happy to take up the position and soon she is working in the kitchens of Farleigh Manor.
But Farleigh Manor is the home to secrets, both old and new. The site of a famous unsolved murder from the nineteenth century, Farleigh Manor has never quite shaken off its sensationalist past. It’s about to get a sensational present too. Because, the more she scratches beneath the surface of this manor and its guests, the more Prudence becomes certain that Deirdre Shaw’s death was no accident. She’s staring in the face of a very modern murder. . .
I am really starting to embrace cosy crime again and The Last Supper by Rosemary Shrager is an engaging addition to the genre. Prudence Bulstrode is attending a local fete when she gets a call asking her to step in to cater at a shooting weekend after the previous chef (and old rival) Deidre Shaw died from an apparent heart attack. Prudence is more than happy to take on the job and she takes her granddaughter Suki with her. When she gets to Farleigh Manor there is something that niggles at her and when all the guests go down with food poisoning it is clear that not everyone is being honest and there is someone who clearly wants to do harm, the question is to who and how and who is behind it all.
I liked Prudence, and if you have ever seen any of Rosemary Shrager’s programmes then you will most definitely see her personality in Prudence and if I am honest I quite often heard her voice every time the character spoke. She had a no-nonsense approach to everything except when it came to her granddaughter who she clearly loved and at times quite possibly overindulged. Suki is your typical teenager who doesn’t want to take life seriously but despite her initial complaints she seems to quite enjoy spending time with her gran and loves digging into the mystery of the past of Farleigh Manor and the events of the past certainly made things both more interesting and more complicated.
I will admit that there were one or two of the characters who seemed to have very few redeeming features and I would have been quite happy for them to be the intended victim. Along with Prudence my theories on who and why changed quite a lot over the course of the book and I will admit I did not expect what eventually was revealed but it is always good to have that air of mystery until the end. There were definitely some lighter moments usually provided by Suki and the local police officer who travelled everywhere by bike, (the thought of someone being covered with pumpkin entrails did have me sniggering) but this just added to the feel of a good old fashioned style cosy crime and I am looking forward to the next outing for Prudence Bulstrode and I hope her granddaughter Suki is still along for the ride as this series may just become my go to when I need a quieter pace and a really enjoyable read.
About the Author
National treasure Rosemary Shrager endeared herself to the nation when she took part in I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! where she proved she could cook just about anything, anywhere. Her most recent tv appearances have been equally well received – Netflix’s Best Leftovers Ever!, Cooking with the Stars, where Rosemary mentored Johnny Vegas throughout the series , and Fishing Scotland’s Lochs and Rivers for Channel 5.
First and foremost Rosemary is a talented and versatile chef who loves talking about food almost as much as she loves cooking. During lockdown she began her own online demonstrations on Facebook and YouTube, and she has now begun her own virtual cookery school, details for which are on http://www.rosemaryshrager.com.
When not teaching and cooking, Rosemary avidly reads and watches crime fiction, so much so that she wondered whether she had it in her to write a book in which crime and cookery collide… and The Last Supper is the winning result, introducing Rosemary to a new crime readership who in turn will be treated to several more outings with retired celebrity chef Prudence Bulstrode over the coming years.
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