Sunday, May 6, 2012

American sleuth in France

Murder In Provence by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

This story is about an unlikely American sleuth in a small town in France. Maggie has a rather uneventful life and takes on the project of writing a cookbook of American tastes in France. She drives her husband, the owner of a vineyard and excellent cook, to distraction. He often shoos away her inquiries driving Maggie to seek entertainment/answers for her cookbook elsewhere. Maggie has few friends and one of her friends Grace is moving back to the US, and Maggie goes in search of a replacement friend. When she meets Brigitte, it seems the balance in her world will be righted. Much to Maggie’s horror Brigitte is murdered and sets her on a quest to solve the mystery the bumbling police are unable to.

I usually enjoy murder mysteries, but unfortunately Murder in Provence fell flat for me. The pace in the beginning was slow and finally picked up halfway through the book where the story acknowledges movement to the murder committed in the prologue. It was hard to decipher the voices of the characters, and I confused Maggie and Marie often. The only character that really stuck out was Pijou, the jealous sister. I noticed some quirky uses of character perspectives and use of (dog’s name) instead of using a dog’s name. I think one more round of editing would polish the story and give it a bit more dimension.

I would recommend this book as a good, soft mystery that has a strong, albeit predictable ending.

Susan Kiernan-Lewis

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