14784 Followers
259 Following
jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Murder on the Riviera (Marie-Christine de Medici Mystery, #1)

Murder on the Riviera - Mary-Jane Deeb

This is one of those books I continue to really enjoy over the years in spite of itself.

 

I'd describe the narration as "first person upper class", written to resemble diary entries.  There is often a lack of first person pronouns too:

 

"Wow! What a story! Have almost forgotten my lump on the head and how it got there.  Feel a warm and fuzzy feeling towards Mother and Papa.  It never really occurred to me that I could lose them.  Should remember not to take them for granted again."

 

So when I read this book for the first time I expected not to like it, or be able to tolerate the narrative voice.  But the opposite happened; I just really got lost in the story, the setting and the characters.  The author somehow made this weird narrative voice work perfectly for her; ultimately it added to the story instead of detracting from it.  There were a few times the dialogue felt overly gratuitous or charming, but mostly it just worked.

 

Marie-Christine has inherited 10 million dollars from her French Grandmother (who is still alive) and it's burning a hole in her pocket.  She's lived a life of privilege, but wants to be taken seriously for her own talents, not just humoured as a spoiled little rich girl.  Her mother would prefer option two with the bonus that she marry someone even richer and be done with it, and since her grand-mere does not like Christine's American mother, well... she helps Marie-Christine buy the local newspaper La Loupe-Garou; it's going bankrupt and she can get it for a song.  But the day after she buys it, the old owner is murdered; conveniently just after declaring he had evidence that would solve a 2-year-cold-case of another murder, and he'd be passing his research on to Marie-Christine.

 

The mystery was very well done.  A lot of suspects, a lot of old secrets, a few mini-reveals as the story progresses and an exciting, just slightly over-the-top denouement.  I think the author did a great job with the plotting and the pace of the mystery and then wrapped it all up in a gorgeous, luxurious French package.

 

If the writing style doesn't irritate you, and you like mysteries and all things French, the author has re-released the three books in this series (I didn't know about the third one until yesterday) via CreateSpace/Amazon.  They were originally published under Paraclete Press.