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Looking for a novel published in the '80s or '90s.

Contains the following elements:

Most memorable scene - people are eating beignets in a cafe. They blow powdered sugar off the tops of the beignets and the resulting sugar cloud accidently ignites, blowing up the cafe.

Action takes place on spaceships and on at least one planet, possibly called 'Beau Soleil'

There are sentient starships.

There is some sort of drug that heightens your artistic/aesthetic sense. One group also uses it for mind to mind interface with their sentient ships.

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Gonna go with Blind Justice, published in 1991 by S.N. Lewitt.

Cover image

From a review in the Dragon Magazine (large PDF, page 35):

Enter the Mary Damned, first Syndicat starship chosen to take this defiance into the open, and enter Emile Saint-Just, its newest crewmember. Saint-Just is the last survivor when the Mary Damned’s crew is captured by the Justica, and as the ship vanishes into legend, he becomes the key to finding the lost spacecraft and bringing the legend back to life. After a term on a Justica prison ship, Emile returns home to the colony world of Beau Soleil - also the target of a Justica takeover and becomes involved with a volatile team of underground resistors.

Someone else on Reddit was looking for the same book, and mentioned the "Mary Celeste" (most likely a mis-remembering of the Mary Damned).

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  • That's it! Thanks :)
    – A_Sunday
    Dec 13, 2017 at 15:45

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