“The rue d’Italie was Marine’s Neighborhood shopping district and a street that still had everything one needed for decent living—two boulangeries, three butcher shops, a pharmacy, two flower shops, a wine store, a cheese shop, a hardware shop… and a handful of cafes. (Death at the Chateau Bremont by M. L. Longworth)
Mystery isn’t usually my reading genre of choice (though I am partial to T.V. mysteries), but I couldn’t help but notice Penguin’s beautiful, understated cover design for this novel. I’ve talked before about the benefits of judging a book by its cover, and I could tell immediately that this one would be good. People don’t go through the trouble of illustrating a cover by hand unless the book is something special. Additionally, I’m always a sucker for certain publishers, such as Penguin, Europa, or Ten Speed Press; so this one pretty much had me hooked at first sight.
To me, this novel is barely about the mystery: it is about Provence. One almost gets the feeling that the mystery was simply an excuse for Longworth to write about her love affair with France; and what a literary and beautiful affair it is. The book is steeped in atmospheric French cafes, vintage wines, and fine cuisine; perfect for anyone who loves Provence or desperately desires to visit. This is a lovely chair-travel book, as it pulls along the reader with its fast-paced mystery, but also stops along the way to describe the culture, sayings, scenery, and everyday lifestyle of the Axois. I suggest pairing it with whatever French music you have, some espresso or Provence wine, and reading it all in one sitting, preferably on your herb-infested balcony.
Buy – Borrow – TBR – Avoid
Length: 311 pgs.
Ending: Mystery solved + Romance begun = satisfying.
Further reading: Follow up immediately with the recently published second book in the series: Murder on the Rue Dumas.