Book: Murder in a French Village
Author: Merryn Allingham
Pub Day: October 30, 2023
Buy Link: Amazon: https://geni.us/B0B5YPLCJBsocial
Join bookshop owner Flora Steele and handsome writer Jack Carrington as they set off on a French adventure and solve a chilling crime!
Jack is stunned to receive a call from his estranged mother, Sybil, asking him to drop everything and come to France. Together with Flora, his fellow sleuth, they pack their suitcases, dreaming of fragrant lavender fields and freshly baked pain au chocolat. It’s only when they arrive that they discover the shocking truth – Sybil’s friend was killed on a street in Paris, and she is desperate for their help.
The case leads them to a picturesque village in the south of France where life should be rosé, but even the bright blue skies can’t hide the fact that something is very wrong. And the mystery only deepens when Flora discovers that Sybil was in fact the intended target. Who would want her out of the way?
Perhaps Sybil’s relationship with wealthy Italian count Massimo Falconi has something to do with it. His darling daughter Allegra, ruthless business partner Pascal and his jealous estranged wife Isabella all have reasons for revenge…
Then when another person in the small French town dies in suspicious circumstances, Flora is convinced the two untimely deaths must be connected. Just when the case seems impossible to crack, a chess box provides an unlikely clue.
Can Flora discover the truth before Sybil meets her end? Or could trouble in paradise spell a final au revoir for the detective duo?
A completely addictive cozy crime novel. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Faith Martin and Joy Ellis!
If you’ve read previous books in Merryn Allingham’s Flora Steele series, you know there’s no love lost between Jack Carrington and his parents. So when his mother calls from France beseeching him to come to Paris, he’s taken aback. He hasn’t spoken to Sybil in seven years. Why is she calling now? Because an acquaintance was struck and killed by a car, and she thinks the car was actually aiming for her.
Flora also has unfinished business in France. According to her former boyfriend, she will find her parents’ graves there. So she and Jack travel together to meet Sybil in Paris. Paris is quite the experience for Flora! Soon they travel to the village of Vaison, where Sybil is living with Italian count Massimo Falconi and his family. It doesn’t take long for Jack and Flora to pick up on the not-s0-subtle undercurrent of hostility in the villa. Does Massimo plan to marry Sybil? (Sybil certainly hopes so!) Who might resent that enough to try to kill her? One of his two daughters? His ex-wife? One of the maids at the villa? A local mechanic?
Merryn Allingham spends a fair bit of time focusing on the scenery in Paris and Provence. We get to see it through Flora’s eyes, and her sense of wonder at her surroundings is a lot of fun. I’ve never been to Paris or Provence, so I enjoyed living vicariously through Flora!
But the mystery isn’t left hanging for the sake of the environment. I can certainly see why Richard Frant is Flora’s FORMER boyfriend. He irritated me from his first appearance in the book. I was hoping he hadn’t led Flora on a wild-goose chase in some misguided attempt to win her back.
And Sybil. What a piece of work she is! But I did feel for her, because she was surrounded by people who (with the exception of Massimo) really did not like her. No matter how unpleasant she might be as a person and how lackluster her parenting skills might have been, she was in a situation that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
We get to see Flora and Jack draw closer here. The trip is good for Flora in more ways than one, and she loses some of her hesitancy in letting herself admit how she feels about Jack. That makes me happy. They’re wonderful together, and I hope there’s a wedding for them in some future book!
An intriguing mystery in a beautiful setting, suspects and red herrings aplenty, and a satisfying touch of romance. Merryn Allingham has another winner with Murder in a French Village!
About the author:
Merryn taught university literature for many years, and it took a while to pluck up the courage to begin writing herself. Bringing the past to life is a passion and her historical fiction includes Regency romances, wartime sagas and timeslip novels, all of which have a mystery at their heart. As the books have grown darker, it was only a matter of time before she plunged into crime with a cosy crime series set in rural Sussex against the fascinating backdrop of the 1950s.
Merryn lives in a beautiful old town in Sussex with her husband and one last cat, Bluebell. When she’s not writing, she tries to keep fit with adult ballet classes and plenty of walking.