Kale to the Queen: A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery

Nell Hampton. Crooked Lane, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-68331-104-1
Hampton’s debut mystery gets kitchen ego spot-on. No matter that jet-lagged Midwesterner Carrie Ann Cole, the new family chef for the young duke and duchess of Cambridge, finds her assistant, Francis Deems, “toes up” under the kale bed on morning one at Kensington Palace. And that security chief Ian Gordon imperiously moves Carrie Ann’s operation into the kitchen of palace culinary top banana, anti-American Chef Butterbottom. Driven, disciplined Carrie Ann just washes her hands and prepares the royals an organic, locally sourced breakfast, on time—complete with fresh blueberry ginger scones. Hampton knows British food, but her menu is heavy on red herrings sauced in strained satire. Foodie puns and dubious characteristics include round-nosed Inspector Garrote and “swarthy” (meaning dangerous, as in the Hardy Boys?) prep cook George Rabe, who bitterly quits on his second day. Desserts more suitable to a romance punctuate the mains: gardener Jasper Fedman is “shockingly handsome”; “Greek god” Ian emanates “spicy cologne and warm male.” Pass the vinegar, please. Agent: Paige Wheeler, Creative Media Agency. (Apr.)

Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly listed the book's publisher.

Reviewed on: 02/13/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-68324-415-8
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-68331-602-2
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-68331-105-8
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