A Noël Killing
Christmastime in the south of France is as beautiful as ever, but when a shady local businessman drops dead in the middle of the festivities, Verlaque and Bonnet must solve the case while keeping the holiday spirit alive.
Provençal Mystery Series #8
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Antoine Verlaque, examining magistrate for the beautiful town of Aix-en-Provence, doesn't like Christmas. The decorations appear in the shops far too early, festive tourists swarm the streets, and his beloved Cours Mirabeau is lined with chalets selling what he regards as tacky trinkets. But his wife and partner Marine Bonnet is determined to make this a Christmas they can both enjoy, beginning with the carol sing at the Cathedral Saint Sauveur, a beautiful service in a packed church.
Just as the holiday cheer is in full swing, a man is poisoned, sending the community into a tailspin. The list of suspects, Verlaque and Bonnet quickly discover, almost fills the church itself, from the visiting vendors at the Christmas fair to the victim’s unhappy wife and his disgruntled business partner. In A Noël Killing, with the help of an ever-watchful young woman named France, the pair must solve the murder while the spirit of the season attempts to warm Verlaque’s stubborn heart.
“Full of gourmet meals, silky wines, and sumptuous homes, these cozy mysteries transport you to the south of France . . . Perfect for the gourmands or Francophiles in your life.” —Slate
In Longworth's appealing eighth Proven al mystery featuring magistrate Antoine Verlaque and his wife, law professor Marine Bonnet (after 2018's The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche), vendors from sister cities all over the world have descended on the city of Aix to sell their wares during the holiday season. To celebrate, the Protestant church hosts a carol sing, inviting both vendors and locals to attend. Meanwhile, Debra and Cole Hainsby, U.S. expats, are having money trouble because of Cole's failed touring business, and Debra has taken a job at a local private school. When Cole drops dead during the carol sing, Antoine begins to dig into links between the private school's head and a desperate move Cole made just before his death. Meanwhile, Marine guards her own secret, one that could have lasting consequences for the couple. Antoine and Marine's repartee over exquisitely described French meals is one of the book's pleasures. Never mind the slightly rushed denouement the enchanting setting and the likable characters make the reader feel right at home. Armchair travelers and gourmets will have fun.