“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
Watch the series! Murder in Provence is now on Britbox.
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?
Framed as a conversation, Longworth's stellar seventh Proven al mystery (after 2017's The Curse of La Fontaine) offers elegant prose and a juicy plot. Over dinner at an upscale Manhattan restaurant on Sept. 22, 2010, mega-bestselling French author Val re Barbier auditions wine-savvy publishing tyro Justin Wong as the editor of his likely last book. Mesmerizing, manipulative Barbier keeps Wong and the reader on edge: is his book to be a confession or a cover-up? His wife, the famed potter Agathe Barbier, died mysteriously in 1988. Was it an accident or murder? Flash back to France earlier in 2010. Barbier has bought an abandoned ch teau, La Bastide Blanche, up the road from police commissioner Bruno Paulik; his wine maker wife, Helene; and their precocious 10-year-old daughter, L a. Barbier and the Pauliks develop a social relationship rich with details of daily life in Aix-en-Provence that grows tense with suspicion, until a terrifying fire clears the air. Series sleuth Antoine Verlaque looks into Val re's shady past, while his wife and fellow sleuth, Marine Bonnet, investigates why La Bastide Blanche was abandoned. Francophiles will be enthralled.)