8 March 2011


Published: Hodder & Stoughton 1987
ISBN 0-340-40331-4
160 pages
Source: my Local Library
#4 in the series featuring Aristide Pamplemousse

This fourth in the detective series featuring Aristide Pamplemousse finds the corpulent Surete officer turned gastronomic investigator for Le Guide disguised as a blind man at Chateau Morgue, a health spa near the Pyrenees. Pamplemousse despairs of satisfied appetites for a fortnight, but his bloodhound Pommes Frites discovers kilos of sausage, and then Aristide himself discovers an affectionate English manicurist. While it becomes apparent that the regime at the spa covers some other activities, including murder and blackmail, not until the inspector rigs up a flying camera, utilizing helium and Pommes Frites's inflatable kennel hung with black silk lingerie, is the mystery of Chateau Morgue resolved.

My take:
I'm not sure whether this was just a poor choice for me to begin reading this series with (although the choice was determined by book availability) or whether I would have found other stories in the series too far fetched and improbable too. Fans of the series will tell me that I should have found it all a hoot, but I didn't find it all that amusing.

The plot was complicated by the appearance of Monsieur Pamplemousse's doppelganger, the television personality Ananas on the train going down to the health spa, and then again at the spa itself. I presume he has made an appearance in earlier books.

Monsieur Pamplemousse seems to travel with an unlikely amount of equipment, photographic, cooking, notemaking as well as a blow up kennel for the blood hound Pommes Frites.

The blurb from Publisher's Weekly said
    readers may have trouble following Pamplemousse's intricate thought processes and understanding exactly what was going on at Chateau Morgue
so it certainly sounds as if I was not an orphan. I certainly didn't manage to make the connections. The concept is without doubt a spoof on detective series. A quote on the back cover says "There is more than a touch of Peter Sellers". I was reminded myself of Alexander McCall Smith's Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, although of course he is a much more recent creation.

If you are interested in checking the Pamplemousse series see this page at Fantastic Fiction.
Michael Bond of course was the person who gave us Paddington Bear.

My rating: 3.8

MONSIEUR PAPMPLEMOUSSE TAKES THE CURE is going to be listed among my reads for Cruisin  thru Cosies Reading Challenge, British Books Challenge, and this week's Friday's Forgotten Books


Joe Barone said...

A confession. I had to click on and read what you had to say about this book. Any book with a character named MONSIEUR PAMPLEMOUSSE (I copied and pasted this name!) is at least worth reading about in a short review. For now, I think I'll forego the plearsure of reading the books themselves.

Dorte H said...

I didn´t even like Paddington Bear so I think I´ll live happily without his crime fiction.

Anonymous said...

I liked Paddington Bear just fine, but my reaction to Pamplemousse was even less enthusiastic than yours. I didn't finish the book I picked up - the 2nd in the series, I believe, not this one - and decided I needn't apply for more.

Evan Lewis said...

...not until the inspector rigs up a flying camera, utilizing helium and Pommes Frites's inflatable kennel hung with black silk lingerie, is the mystery of Chateau Morgue resolved.

That's either a hoot, or just plain strange.


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