A Day in the Life of Arthur Wordington-Smythe by J.A. Lang

Chef Maurice and the Wrath of GrapesArthur Wordington-Smythe sat at his desk and stared at the one thing that all writers fear the most—a blank white screen.

In his case, the feeling of horror was compounded by a rapidly looming deadline, accompanied by threats from his England Observer editor that she might not sign off his latest dining receipts should this restaurant review be delayed.

At times like this, a writer has two choices: to knuckle down, or take to drinking. Or possibly both at the same time.

But the problem he was currently facing was not the writing of the review itself. The restaurant in question, the newly opened Fat Canard in North Gloucestershire, was a jewel of a concept—a restaurant purporting to serve only duck-based dishes—and a wondrous train crash of a reality.

As such, it was perfect fodder for his weekly column, where his readers would be delighted in the knowledge that someone in this world, perhaps after too many late night coffee binges, had decided upon a menu featuring such culinary marvels as: duck liver pâté served on crumbly duck-shaped ‘qwackers’; pulled duck burgers with duck-fat chips; a duckweed salad garnished with the house-cured duck pancetta; and a rather good chocolate sponge cake made with duck eggs and decorated with little sugar feathers.

No, it wasn’t that the Fat Canard review was refusing to waddle its way from Arthur’s brain onto the page. The problem was the other story, the one that had sat there for the last few weeks, itching at his mind. A story that had happened right here on his home turf, the little Cotswold village of Beakley, only a few weeks previously.

A real cracker (or quawker?) it was too. It featured all the hallmarks of a tip-top piece of fiction: a country house, a dastardly murder, a valuable collection of fine old wines, and—though this part rather offended Arthur’s literary sensibilities—a large kipper sandwich.

This last item had been the brainchild of Chef Maurice, Arthur’s best friend and owner of Le Cochon Rouge, who had recently taken to the solving of crime like a duck to, well, aerial yoga.

That was to say, enthusiastically, but leaving quite a few ruffled feathers in his wake.

But, thought Arthur, rolling up his sleeves, now was not the time to worry about the finer details. The kipper sandwich could be worked around. All he needed to start were the bare bones of the plot.

Slowly, pecking at his keyboard, he typed the following: The Case of the Locked Wine Cellar. By A. Wordington-Smythe.

All he needed now was a suitable main character. But that was easy enough. He typed on:

Archibald Branston-Pickleton, England’s foremost restaurant critic, sat staring at a plate of pan-fried wild duck breast. His fork hovered in his hand. Because tonight, it was not mallard, but murder, that was currently on his mind. . .


You can read more about Arthur in Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes, the second book in the Chef Maurice” culinary mystery series, published by Purple Panda Press. The first book in the series is Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on August 3 for the chance to win either a print or an e-book version of Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes–winner’s choice. The print giveaway is open to U.S. and U.K residents only. The e-book giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
J.A. Lang is a British mystery author. She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob. To keep up to date with new releases, please hop over to www.jalang.net to sign up for the reader newsletter.

33 responses to “A Day in the Life of Arthur Wordington-Smythe by J.A. Lang

  1. Wanda downs

    Thanks for the contest

  2. Doward Wilson

    This was a nicely done interview. Thanks for the chance to win.

  3. I enjoyed reading the “A Day in the Life of Arthur Wordington-Smythe.” Great post! Thank you for the giveaway.
    myrifraf(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. This is a fun series. Happy to see a new one. Congrats

  5. sallycootie

    I’ve seen so many good comments on this series, I think it’s a must read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  6. Really enjoyed this!

  7. Beverly Guy

    Oh my goodness….I am so excited to read this new book by J. A. Lang! I read her first book in this series “Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle” and just loved, loved, loved it! This one is sure to be just as exciting! Sure would love to win this one! Thanks so much dearest Dru for the chance! God bless!!!

  8. I have not read books from this author, they look great; thanks for the chance 🙂

  9. Thank you for the chance to win a print or an e-book version of “Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes.” It sounds like a good read.

  10. a new-to-me-author/series……….
    thank you for the intro & giveaway!!!

  11. Debbie Carnes

    Love this author and would love to win this

  12. Oh my word! I loved the first book and I am looking forward to this one (and what a lovely “taster plate” to tempt us!)

    dragonsteeluk@gmail.com ebook by preference if I am lucky!

  13. I would love, love, love to win this one! The first book was a delight.

  14. When in doubt, place yourself as the star.

  15. Barbara Landrum

    A new author for me, looking forward to reading this one.

  16. I must read a book written by someone who names their sourdough starter!!!

  17. Sounds like a great read.

  18. I’d try out the Fat Canard. Sure it sounds ultra cutesy but it also sounds delicious. Thanks for the chance to win.

  19. This is captivating and lovely. Thanks.

  20. It’s always interesting to find a new author. Thanks Dru Ann for providing this opportunity. robeader53@yahoo.com

  21. I’ve heard good things about this series, I’ve got to get started on it, thanks for the chance to win.

  22. Mary Jane H.

    What an interesting subject, love the cover too.

  23. Dotty Kelley

    I just finished the first book in this series and absolutely loved it. Can’t wait to read this one.

  24. Jill Broussard

    Thankyou for the opportunity! I can’t wait to read this book.

  25. MaryAnn Forbes

    Thanks for the opportunity to win Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes– sounds like a great read.📖📚

  26. Chef Maurice will probably get into a bit of trouble yet again. Love his adventures.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

  27. Stacie Amelotte

    This series looks like so much fun. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Scouts579 (at) aol (dot) com

  28. I want this book in my hands. I think Chef Maurice is gonna quack me up. Thanks for the intro to J.A. Lang; love those Brits. Judy D.

  29. I had not heard of this series before. Thanks for the heads up!

  30. Michelle Fidler

    Sounds like a good series. I think I’d like to read them.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

  31. Sounds like my type of series.

  32. Perfect for me. Thank you

  33. Contest is closed.