For Mysteries & More!

A Little French Murder

Read along with The Poisoned Martini

C’est un bon temps pour un petit mord français, n’est pas?

You don’t have to know French to enjoy these mysteries.  One of the pleasures of reading is being able to visit places we’ve been or long to travel to.  So spend an evening, sit back and relax—perhaps with a glass of red wine and maybe a plate of brie—and enjoy these tales set in Paris or Provence.

As before with previous discussion series, “A Taste of Murder” in 2011, “Unusual Sleuths” in early 2012, and “Unearthing Murder”—which concludes in July—I invite readers of The Poisoned Martini to join me online in sharing their love of mysteries. Comment on this post with some of your favorite mystery titles, set in France or written by French authors, and join me in reading the books selected for the series, “A Little French Murder.”

The series kicks off in August with a choice of two titles by San Francisco author Cara Black.  Read either Murder in Passy or Murder at the Lanterne Rouge, the latest titles in the Aimée Leduc Investigation series set in contemporary Paris.  In Murder in Passy, Aimée’s godfather is accused of murdering a woman who was with Aimée moments before being killed.  In Murder at the Lanterne Rouge, the girlfriend of Aimée’s business partner disappears from a Chinatown restaurant moments before a young man is murdered at a nearby museum.  In both, P. I. Aimée Leduc will navigate the streets of Paris to solve the crime.

Then continue your journey in Paris with Inspector Maigret.  The laconic detective, a commissaire of the Direction Régionale de Police Judiciaire de Paris, appeared in over 75 novels and 28 short stories.  His cases have been adapted for television and radio.  Created by Belgian author Georges Simenon, Jules Maigret has certainly joined the pantheon of mystery sleuth greats.  For Septemeber, read any novel from his first appearance in 1930 (Train de Nuit) to his last in (Maigret and Monsieur Charles) 1972.  Be sure to share your thoughts of the title you read.

Then it’s time to head south to Provence in October with M. L. Longworth’s Death at the Chateau Bremont.  When a nobleman falls to his death from the family chateau, Antoine Verlaque, chief magistrate of Aix, suspects foul play.  Many of Aix’s local benefited from the man’s death, but which one of them did it?

In November, read Pierre Magnan’s The Messengers of Death.  Commissaire Laviolette returns in his second Provence mystery.  A letter addressed to Mlle. Veronique Champourcieux is found in a cemetery and is kindly posted to the lady.  When she is later found dead, Laviolette is coaxed from retirement to solve the bizarre crime.

Finally, during the course of this series, read one the finest locked room mysteries, Gaston Leroux’s The Mystery of the Yellow Room.  By the author of The Phantom of the Opera, the story first appeared in serialized form in 1907; then as a novel in 1908.  In his first case, reporter Joseph Rouletabille investigates the murder of a famed scientist’s daughter, who was killed in a room locked from the inside and with no other apparent means of entry.  The puzzle later inspired such authors as Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr.

See what you think of these francophone-themed mysteries, starting in August. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out previous discussion series, “A Taste of Murder“, “Unusual Sleuths“, and “Unearthing Murder.”  Click on the series titles for the relevant book lists.

Reviews for the books in the “A Little French Murder” series will appear around the middle of the month for which they’re selected.  Look for them and share your thoughts on these magnifique reads!

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