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About M. L. Longworth
M. L . Longworth has written for The Washington Post, The Times (London), The Independent, and Bon Appétit magazine. She is the author of a mystery series set in Southern France, the Provençal Mysteries, published by Penguin USA.
She has lived full-time in France for over twenty-one years and divides her time between Aix-en-Provence, where she writes, and Paris, where she teaches writing at New York University's Paris campus. She loves cooking, market shopping, and travelling wherever wine is grown.
She is married and has one daughter.
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Provençal Mystery Series #9
Something strange has happened at the unassuming Musée de Quentin-Savary in Aix-en-Provence. When the director, Monsieur Achille Formentin, walks in one beautiful April morning, he is shocked to find the whole museum emptied of its contents--only a bench, the reception desk, and a lowly fern remain.
Distressed, he calls the local police, and Aix's examining magistrate Antoine Verlaque sets out to discover the thief's identity. But it's the most baffling case Verlaque has ever encountered. Why would someone want to steal porcelain dessert plates, some old documents, and a few small paintings? Could this have something to do with the mysterious robbery of Madame de Montbarbon's apartment a few weeks earlier? And how can Verlaque possibly concentrate on the theft when he and his wife, Marine Bonnet, are going to have a baby?
Provençal Mystery Series #1
When local nobleman Étienne de Bremont falls to his death from the family château, it sets the historic town of Aix-en-Provence abuzz with rumors. Antoine Verlaque, the charming chief magistrate of Aix, suspects foul play, and when he discovers that Bremont had been a close friend of Marine Bonnet, his on-again off-again girlfriend, Verlaque must turn to her for help.
The once idyllic town suddenly seems filled with people who scould have benefited from Bremont's death—including his playboy brother François, who's heavily in debt and mixed up with some unsavory characters. But just as Verlaque and Bonnet are narrowing down their list of suspects, another death occurs. And this time, there can be no doubt—it's murder.
A lively mystery steeped in the enticing atmosphere of the south of France and seasoned with romance as rich as the French cuisine that inspires it, this first installment in the acclaimed Verlaque & Bonnet Provençal Mystery series is as addictive and captivating as Provence itself.
“Longworth’s voice is like a rich vintage of sparkling Dorothy Sayers and grounded Donna Leon. . . . Bon appétit!” —Booklist
Provençal Mystery Series #2
When Dr. Georges Moutte is found mudrered, investigator Antoine Verlaque is stumped. Certainly the director of theology at the Université d’Aix had his enemies. Moutte was just about to name the recipient of an elite fellowship as well as his own successor—a highly coveted position—when his lips were sealed permanently. But Verlaque isn't convinced that anyone in the tiny community of academics is capable of murder.
Aided by his on-again, off-again girlfriend, law professor Marine Bonnet, Berlaque must turn Provence upside down, uncovering a world far more complicated than university politics, to find the killer before it’s too late.
A page-turning mystery that transports you to the south of France with its lush portrait of a charming historic town, this continuation of the Provençal Mystery series captivates.
“What really makes Longworth’s writing special is her deep knowledge of French history, landscape, cuisine, and even contemporary cafes and restaurants. This is that rare atmospheric mystery that is street-wise and café-canny.” —Booklist (starred review)
Provençal Mystery Series #8
Antoine Verlaque, examining magistrate for the beautiful town of Aix-en-Provence, doesn't like Christmas. The decorations appear in the shops far too early, festive tourists swarm the streets, and his beloved Cours Mirabeau is lined with chalets selling what he regards as tacky trinkets. But his wife and partner Marine Bonnet is determined to make this a Christmas they can both enjoy, beginning with the carol sing at the Cathedral Saint Sauveur, a beautiful service in a packed church.
Just as the holiday cheer is in full swing, a man is poisoned, sending the community into a tailspin. The list of suspects, Verlaque and Bonnet quickly discover, almost fills the church itself, from the visiting vendors at the Christmas fair to the victim’s unhappy wife and his disgruntled business partner. In A Noël Killing, with the help of an ever-watchful young woman named France, the pair must solve the murder while the spirit of the season attempts to warm Verlaque’s stubborn heart.
“Full of gourmet meals, silky wines, and sumptuous homes, these cozy mysteries transport you to the south of France . . . Perfect for the gourmands or Francophiles in your life.” —Slate
Provençal Mystery Series #4
On-again couple Antoine Verlaque and Marine Bonnet are hoping for a relaxing holiday at the Locanda Sordou, but someone has other plans.
Hoteliers Maxime and Catherine Le Bon have spent their life savings restoring the hotel, which lies in an archipelago of sun-soaked islands off the coast of Marseille. To celebrate the grand opening, a group of privileged guests joins Verlaque and Bonnet: Marine’s free-spirited best friend; an aging film star, his much-younger wife, and her disgruntled son; a pair of affable American tourists; and a querelous Parisian couple. But the murder of one of the guests casts a shadow over everyone’s vacation, and things go from bad to worse when a violent storm cuts off all communication with the mainland. Will the killer strike again?
Like Donna Leon and Andrea Camilleri, M. L. Longworth enchants mystery lovers with a taste for good food and gorgeous landscapes in this installment of her acclaimed mystery series.
“A charming read with a well-crafted mystery and characters as rich and full-bodied as a Bordeaux.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Provençal Mystery Series #3
Winery owner Olivier Bonnard is devastated when he discovers that a priceless cache of rare vintages has been stolen from his private cellar. Soon after, Monsieur Gilles d’Arras arrives at Aix-en-Provence’s Palais de Justice to report another mysterious disappearance: his wife, Pauline, has vanished from their lavish apartment. Madame has always been as tough as nails, but in recent weeks she’s been wandering around town in her slippers, crying for no reason.
As the mistral arrives to temper the region’s late-summer heat, Commissioner Paulik receives an urgent call from Bonnard: he’s just found Pauline d’Arras—dead in his vineyard. Verlaque and Bonnet are once again investigating, in what will prove to be their most complicated case yet.
Fans of Donna Leon and Andrea Camilleri, Francophiles, and foodies alike will adore this captivating whodunit. In her riveting follow-up to Death at the Chateau Bremont and Murder in the Rue Dumas, M. L. Longworth masterfully evokes the sights, sounds, and tastes of late-summer Provence, where the mistral blows and death springs up in the most unexpected places.
“Judge Antoine Verlaque, the sleuth in this civilized series, discharges his professional duties with discretion. But we’re here to taste the wines. So many bottles, so many lovely views. A reader might be forgiven for feeling woozy.” —The New York Times Book Review
Provençal Mystery Series #6
Chef Sigisbert “Bear” Valets has just opened his own restaurant, La Fontaine, in Aix-en-Provence. It’s an immediate success—glowing reviews and a loyal clientele, including our favorite investigative duo, Verlaque and Bonnet. But when he decides to extend his restaurant’s seating into a historic courtyard, some very powerful neighbors are against him. The local historical society wants the courtyard, which witnessed a seventeenth-century hanging and two World War II-era murders, to remain untouched.
Valets charges on, even after a skeleton is found buried next to the courtyard’s ancient fountain. But when Valets begins receiving threatening letters, he becomes convinced that his life is in danger. And then the fountain inexplicably stops running. By disturbing the garden, has Bear triggered an age-old curse? And can newlyweds Verlaque and Bonnet solve the mystery before someone else ends up dead? Set against the blossoming backdrop of the south of France, M. L. Longworth’s latest is sure to thrill fans of Donna Leon and Andrea Camilleri.
“Beguiling . . . Longworth evokes the pleasures of France in delicious detail—great wine, delicious meals, and fine company.” —Publishers Weekly
When a scandalous author moves to the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence, Verlaque and Bonnet are called in to investigate whether he’s haunted by more than just his past, in this delightful new mystery from M. L. Longworth
Provençal Mystery Series #7
One hot summer night, Aix-en-Provence is aflutter with news that controversial author Valère Barbier, who once shared dinners with French presidents and all-night drinking bouts with rock stars, has moved into La Bastide Blanche, a grand house left empty for decades. But Valère’s ideas of a peaceful retirement are quickly dashed. Rambunctious neighborhood children, a fast-talking gossip of a housekeeper, and a rival novelist filter through the home at all hours of the day—and by night there are unseen visitors with more sinister intentions.
While Antoine Verlaque investigates Valère’s sordid history, his wife and partner, Marine Bonnet, questions why the estate was abandoned in the first place—and what they both find raises more questions than answers. Is Valère imagining the ethereal cries that fill the bastide at night? Is he losing his mind? Or have these ghosts returned from Valère’s checkered past to haunt him?
Provençal Mystery Series #5
A friend in his cigar club asks Antoine Verlaque to visit René Rouquet, a retired postal worker who has found a rolled-up canvas in his apartment. As the apartment once belonged to Paul Cézanne, Rouquet is convinced he’s discovered a treasure. But when Antoine arrives at the apartment, he finds René dead, the canvas missing, and a mysterious art history professor standing over the body.
When the painting is finally recovered, the mystery only deepens. The brushwork and color all point to Cézanne. But who is the smiling woman in the painting? She is definitely not the dour Madame Cézanne. Who killed René? Who stole the painting? And what will they do to get it back?
Like Donna Leon and Andrea Camilleri, M. L. Longworth’s enchanting mysteries blend clever whodunits with gustatory delights and the timeless romance of Provence. The Mystery of the Lost Cézanne adds a new twist by immersing Antoine and Marine in a clever double narrative that costars Provence’s greatest artist.
“Art theft is a hot topic on the mystery scene, and no one’s heist is livelier than Longworth’s.” —Kirkus Reviews