Evan and Elle

Rhys Bowen, Author Minotaur Books $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-25244-1
When Madame Yvette, a seductive widow, opens a French restaurant in Llanfair, in northern Wales, her blend of haute cuisine and traditional Welsh fare soon wins over the locals, including Constable Evan Evans, the village's lone policeman and the hero of three previous outings in this appealing series (Evanly Choir, etc.). Ever true to his girlfriend, schoolteacher Bronwen Price, Evans resists Madame Yvette's attempt to make him more than just a culinary conquest, but he's ready to be of service when she really needs him--after her restaurant burns down, the latest target in a string of recent arson attacks in the area. Or is it? While at first the fire seems the work of Welsh extremists, the discovery of a corpse in the restaurant's ruins puts this crime into a different category altogether. In the ensuing investigation, Evans retains his modesty and good humor as he deals with a condescending English arson expert, a flirtatious female constable and a host of lively locals. The trail leads to the South Coast of England, where Madame Yvette and her late husband previously lost a restaurant to fire, and to France, where Evans and his colleague Sergeant Watkins uncover a startling secret about her past. Bowen keeps the reader guessing as to the actual menace that awaits Constable Evans in the hills above Llanfair on his return. This is a light confection of a mystery, sweetened with the author's obvious affection for her characters, as well as for all things Welsh. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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