Dinner at Antoine’s is an endlessly pleasing novel. Since I found it on my mother’s bookshelf back in the ’60s, I’ve read it many times. I never remember reading it until I’m almost done, but I enjoy it every time.
Orson Foxworth gives a dinner at Antoine’s restaurant to introduce his niece Ruth Avery to his New Orleans friends, including Amélie Lalande, the woman he plans to marry, and her family.
Ruth is immediately drawn to Amélie’s married daughter, Odile, but repelled by the sexually charged relationship between Odile’s husband and her sister—as well as by Amélie’s refusal to notice anything wrong.
When Odile is found shot to death the day after her doctor diagnoses her trembling as the first sign of an incurable condition that will paralyze her, there’s no shortage of suspects. Everyone from Odile’s mother to Foxworth appears to have a motive for murder—if it was murder and not suicide.
To the murder mystery, Frances Parkinson Keyes adds two love stories, a conspiracy to overthrow a Latin American government, and generous dollop of New Orleans insider tittle-tattle.
The result is as pleasant an evening’s reading as you could hope to find.
Dinner at Antoine’s By Frances Parkinson Keyes Julian Messner 1948 366 pages My Grade: B