Top positive review
Best of the Series so Far
Reviewed in the United States on May 26, 2018
This book is so much better than The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche! Perhaps it was because I knew the continuing characters. Perhaps it was the absence of ghosts. Most likely it was because the narrative is told primarily from the viewpoint of Verlaque and Paulik, our detectives. Using them as the narrators made the story more immediate and more engaging. This series is a French police procedural set in Provence, mainly the area around Aix. The French police and prosecutorial hierarchy is not the same as ours and the titles and positions of the officials reflect that structure. Our author does a good job most of the time of giving explanations that are not complicated or disruptive to the narrative. This story is set in an academic milieu when the Doyen of the theology department is found murdered in his office after a department reception. As Woodrow Wilson said, he had extensive experience in politics after his stint as university president. Here, suspects abound because of the politics. Grad students are competing for a fellowship, academics are competing about theological issues, professors are competing for the Doyen’s job and free apartment, and there are many other motives that our detectives have to discover and eliminate. The book has a good sense of place and I enjoyed the details of the setting, especially since we are heading to Provence soon. There is murder, but no graphic and gruesome details. There is some romance and sex, but no graphic details. Most of the swearing is in French and if you don’t know the French, it can’t bother you. If you do know the French, it probably won’t bother you. The pacing is good, the main continuing characters are interesting, and the plot was reasonably complex and intriguing. This is not a book that will change your life and it is not a book for my book group, but it was entertaining. In fact, I have purchased two more books in the series.