Michael Bond is renowned as the creator of Paddington Bear, everyone’s favourite Peruvian marmalade-sandwich loving bear, but he also created the enchanting Monsieur Pamplemousse and his faithful bloodhound, Pomme Frites.
Described in the novels as ‘friend and mentor’, the dog is renowned for helping his master out of scrapes as well as getting him into them in the first place. Pretty much all the books in this series are suitable for readers of all ages, but the nuances of language and subtle jokes are the preserve of adult readers in search of cosy, relaxed crime fiction.
A food inspector for Le Guide, Monsieur Pamplemousse has a tremendous appreciation for food, as well as some skill in detection. As a result, he is often called upon to investigate strange happenings that occur, often in or around restaurants and food suppliers.
For those who only know Paddington, here’s a roundup of five of my favourite Monsieur Pamplemousse novels.
5. Monsieur Pamplemousse on Probation: Caught up in a scandal, Monsieur Pamplemousse is sent to report on a respected chef working in a hotel and who is up for one Le Guide’s top honours. However, the intrepid detective soon encounters a number of unusual occurrences and guests at the hotel, leading him to uncover secrets that threaten the legacy of France’s most respected gastronomic publication.
4. Monsieur Pamplemousse Takes the Cure: Sent undercover to a health farm with Pomme Frites as the world’s least convincing guide dog, Bond’s gourmet detective is out of his depth with theft, lust and unexplained deaths to deal with.
3. Monsieur Pamplemousse Rests His Case: Having been invited to a masquerade ball in honour of author Alexander Dumas, Monsieur Pamplemousse ends up caught up in a mystery when one of his fellow guests is killed.
2. Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Carbon Footprint: With sales of Le Guide struggling in America, Monsieur Pamplemousse is given the herculean task of impressing an American food critic by writing a play. His theatrical debut goes off without a hitch until the critic mysteriously runs away, seemingly in a funk. Bond’s tenacious protagonist and his faithful hound are quick to give chase, and pretty soon they are waist deep in mystery and intrigue.
1. Monsieur Pamplemousse: As always, it’s my recommendation that the first book in a series is the best place to start. A humorous, light-hearted novel, this first book introduces us to the titular character and his ever-present dog, and explores how he came to leave the Paris Surete, all whilst he investigates a peculiar incident at a respected eatery.