Margot Durand is a short, light cozy mystery

By: 
Jan Jones
Columnist

Bronchitis sucks! There, I said it, and I mean it! Between coughing, blowing and napping, I had little time to read. In fact, I dozed off after only a few pages.

Good thing I had a short, light book to read. I chose the unlikely title “Pastries and Pilfering” by Danielle Collins. This was the third book in her Margot Durand series of cozy mysteries, but it is OK as a short stand-alone book.

Margot Durand had a good life and solid marriage until her detective husband was brutally murdered. Detective Adam Eastwood was assigned to the case, and before long, he recognized Margot’s keen powers of observation and instincts. By working together, they solved the case and became close friends.

After the incident, Margot decided to leave the corporate world and live her dream of owning a pastry shop in North Bank, Virginia. ‘The Parisian Patisserie” is doing well and acquiring a real community of loyal patrons.

Margot is thrilled when Addie Petit asks her to be her guest on a cruise. Addie was one of the young women Margot mentored in French pastry school. Addie is now head French pastry chef and baker on Carousel Luxury Cruises. She will be receiving an award during the cruise and hopes Margot will help her with some special pastries for the big night and attend the awards banquet. Since the shop is running well, Margot eagerly agrees.

Because the cruise leaves from Long Beach, California, and her sister, Renee, lives there, it is the perfect opportunity for Margot to visit and reconnect. To her surprise and pleasure, Margot learns that Adam Eastwood is in Long Beach, too. He tells her he’s on a temporary assignment, so they can go to dinner before she leaves.

That’s where she is introduced to Adam’s friend, Gage Williams. Margot surmises that he must be in some form of law enforcement and neither he nor Adam tell her much, but he’s just too slick for her.

Once on board, Margot settles in then goes to find Addie. She overhears Addie scolding her assistant, Michael, for having as much flour as she’d ordered. Addie apologies to her old friend and promises to meet later.

Margot finds a quiet place to read but is interrupted by well-known actor Brice Simmons and his bikini-clad assistants. His smug attitude doesn’t impress the 40-something Margot so she leaves.

Later, she is on her way to meet Addie when she spots Gabe. What is he doing here? She carefully follows him to the gym’s equipment room but hides in a closet until he comes out. Curious, Margot goes into the equipment room and discovers the body of a young woman. Security insists it was an overdose, but Margot doubts that.

She and Addie plan to visit an island, but once again Addie is a no show. Margot is sure that her friend is hiding something but can’t press her. She follows Brice through the village but nearly gets mugged. Gabe comes to her rescue and demands to know what she’s doing. She learns that he is undercover investigating a gem smuggling ring connected to the cruise ship.

When Addie’s assistant, Michael, is killed, Adam appears and takes over the investigation. As the pieces fall in place, they learn that Brice and friends were smuggling gems but others were actually working a double cross to smuggle both drugs and gems. Greed got in the way and murder soon followed.

Once back on dry land, Margot has another week of vacation where she’ll mull over her true feelings about Adam and his mysterious assignments.

Your public library has books worth reading and thinking about. Plan to go this week and check it out.

AT A GLANCE

Book: “Pastries and Pilfering” (Margot Durand Cozy Mysteries, Book 3)

Author: Danielle Collins

Publisher: Fairfield Publishing

Year published: 2017

Number of pages: 178