Book #16 in the A to Z Mystery Tour
Emilia Bernhard 2018
Book 1: Death in Paris Mysteries
Rachel Levis, a forty-something American living in Paris with her husband Alan, is summoned to the home of her lover of twenty years ago to hear the reading of his will. Her bequest, however, is more of a request – to organize and catalogue Edgar Bowen’s library, which happens to contain a fair number of valuable books.
Edgar’s death is odd enough that Rachel suspects murder. With the help of her best friend Magda, she deliberates over whether her instincts are right, and finally the two women decide that they’ll try to solve the crime – a crime only they believe is real. This is the first of many heartfelt, revealing converations between the two friends; at one point in their conversations I wondered if Maagda is actually the voice of the author, stepping into the narrative to argue with the character she birthed. Unlike many other cozies in which the speculation is filler, these talks are intense and heartfelt. I seldom skimmed them as I do with many mysteries.
This quiet attention to detail – just enough, not too much – permeates Rachel’s world. There are no side stories, no “cast of thousands” as many cozies seem to feature, and no false self-deprecating humor. Death in Paris is the quiet story of a murder (or murders). The dramatic tension is understated, so I’m not particularly motivated to read the other two books in this relatively new series; regardless, this debut is a gem.