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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Amuse Bouche by Anthony Bidulka

Review: I first heard of Anthony Bidulka's Russell Quant series on one of the author groups where I hang out. When I did a little investigating and discovered that Mr Bidulka is a Canadian author whose character, Russell Quant, lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan I went on the hunt. When I was looking for Amuse Bouche, Mr Bidulka's first book, it was a bit of a treasure hunt. And I use that deliberately because a treasure is indeed what I found.

I'm a mystery fan from way back and I've read mysteries since what seems forever. I was intrigued to discover a mystery series that's set in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a beautiful and very charming mid-size prairie city with which I've become passing familiar since my marriage. The fact that I live in another of the prairie provinces further piqued my interest.

Not only are we, the readers, treated to the sights of the city as Russell goes through his days, but we are tantalised as well as viscerally and mentally engaged in the mystery from the beginning.The story is told in Russell's point-of-view and while I know that many people are not overly fond of first person, it's one that I enjoy, especially when done as well as Bidulka has done it. There's no dearth of information on what Russell sees, learns and experiences–in many ways the texture of the story seems to be even richer than one would expect. Russell's observations of those with whom he comes in contact plays a big part in that experience.

As Amuse Bouche unfolded I found myself ever more captivated; the case of the missing groom covers the gamut from intrigue and adventure to uncertainty and all sorts of emotional reactions. By the end of the book I was emotionally invested in the outcome. I'm not going to say anything more than that because, while I can, and do, enjoy knowing the outcome of a story, most people do not feel the same.
Suffice it to say that Russell's first case appealed to me so much that I shortly thereafter headed to the nearest big box book store and ordered the rest of the books in Anthony Bidulka's Russell Quant Mystery series.


Amuse Bouche by Anthony Bidulka
Insomniac Press 2005
272 pages

Story Description:  A gay wedding gone bad. A missing groom. An unsullied reputation at risk. Enter Russell Quant, cute, gay and a rookie private detective. With a nose for good wine and bad lies, Quant is off to France on his first big case. From the smudgy streets of Paris, he cajoles and sleuths his way to the pastel-coloured promenade of Sanary-sur-Mer.

Back in Saskatoon, Quant comes face to face with a client who may be the bad guy, a quarry who turns up in the most unexpected place and a cast of colourful suspects: the vile sister, the best friend, the colleague, the ex-lover, the lawyer, the priest, the snoopy neighbour—are they involved? Or is someone else lurking in the shadows? As he works through his case, Quant juggles his detective gig with the responsibilities of a personal life brimful of captivating personalities.

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