The Devil's Feast

Jeremiah Blake and Captain William Avery most recently investigated the gruesome murders of several Victorian London prostitutes in M.J. Carter's The Infidel Stain. As The Devil's Feast begins, Avery is forced to initiate an investigation on his own, because the recalcitrant Blake has gotten himself incarcerated in debtor's prison.

Avery is initially thrilled to be invited to dinner at the exclusive Reform Club, where the renowned Alexis Soyer, French celebrity chef and toast of British high society, reigns. But when a gentleman expires in agony midway through the elaborate meal, Avery realizes he may be in over his head. Soyer (who's based on the historical figure Alexis Soyer) and the Reform Club owners confide in him that Ibrahim Pasha, heir to the Egyptian throne, will be dining at the Reform Club in mere days, so if a murderer is on the loose, they need him caught quickly.

The chef's quirky brilliance captivates Avery, perhaps a bit too much. He is struggling to get to the bottom of the mysterious death and to look past his own admiration of Soyer, when he's informed that Blake has engineered his escape from prison. At first relieved to have aid from Blake, Avery soon discovers that his troubles have gotten worse.

Beautifully researched and historically mesmerizing, The Devil's Feast will keep history buffs and gourmands equally fascinated. An excellent entry in a great series, it is perfect as a standalone, or as the stepping-stone to reading more of M.J. Carter's novels. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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