Michael Bond died recently and as I was listening to one of the more important obituaries, I was disappointed to hear that Bond was best known for his series of Paddington Bear books. As a kid I’m sure I read at least the first book explaining the origins of Paddington Bear. Perhaps if I hadn’t grown up I might have read the entire series as it was published. But sometime in the early 1980s I was sitting on the floor knitting a pair of socks while my then wife, the librarian, was reading a book and giggling like someone was tickling her unmercifully.
The book was the first Monsieur Pamplemouse novel and instantly immersed my mystery funny-bone in the adventures of Michael Bond’s greatest character: Monsieur Pamplemousse and his well-fed hound Pommes Frites.
Pamplemousse is retired from the Paris Sûreté and now travels up and down France in his Deux Chevaux secretly reviewing the gastronomic offerings of the finest restaurants for Le Guide, France’s premier bible of cuisine. Who will be awarded the Three Stockpots this year? Along the way he has fine wines to imbibe, portable toilets to conquer, and mysteries to solve.
My most recent Pamplemousse was Monsieur Pamplemousse and the French Solution and I have at least three others waiting to be read on my iPad, but I see from the Wikipedia list that I missed a few titles in the 1990s when, as I remember, I was undergoing a major life-style change and rapidly burning out the little gray cells working too hard and running around the North-East for TPC.
Monsieur Pamplemousse and the French Solution is not the best nor the funniest of the series but it does re-emphasize to me the importance of reading most series in sequence. Not every title demands a strict adherence to the sequence, but there are many elements, some vital, that move the fiction along. In this case, the Director of Le Guide is under attack by a shakedown artist and Pamplemousse steps in to uncover the deception and solve the crime, much as he did in the earlier novel, Monsieur Pamplemousse Investigates.
Mystery lovers who could use a giggle or two should try Monsieur Pamplemousse. Be sure to start with the first book (included in Omnibus One) to get the full effect.
Monsieur Pamplemousse series
1983 Monsieur Pamplemousse.
1985 Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Secret Mission.
1986 Monsieur Pamplemousse on the Spot.
1987 Monsieur Pamplemousse Takes the Cure.
1989 Monsieur Pamplemousse Aloft.
1990 Monsieur Pamplemousse Investigates.
1991 Monsieur Pamplemousse Rests His Case.
1992 Monsieur Pamplemousse Stands Firm.
1992 Monsieur Pamplemousse on Location.
1993 Monsieur Pamplemousse Takes the Train.
1998 Monsieur Pamplemousse Omnibus Volume One.
1999 Monsieur Pamplemousse Omnibus Volume Two.
1999 Monsieur Pamplemousse Afloat.
1999 Monsieur Pamplemousse Omnibus Volume Three.
2000 Monsieur Pamplemousse on Probation.
2002 Monsieur Pamplemousse on Vacation.
2003 Monsieur Pamplemousse Hits the Headlines.
2006 Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Militant Midwives.
2007 Monsieur Pamplemousse and the French Solution.
2011 Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Carbon Footprint.
2015 Monsieur Pamplemousse and the Tangled Web.