A gift idea for the Fan of Pageturners: A Noel Killing by M. L. Longworth. This holiday volume has the usual clever and sympathetic examining magistrate Verlaque, his burly work partner, his brilliant life partner, the delicious French food, and the charming setting, but it has the added bonus of Christmas caroling festivity plus loads of international food from a cast of characters selling treats at the town’s Sister City Christmas market, plus expats and locals aplenty. There are many suspects and just as many delicious meals and snacks. It’s a perfect contemporary mystery for readers who enjoy armchair travel, food writing, and nothing gory. It can be read as a stand-alone or out of sequence.
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
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
About the Author
M. L. Longworth has lived in Aix-en-Provence since 1997. She has written about the region for the Washington Post, the Times (London), the Independent (London), and Bon Appétit. She is the author of a bilingual collection of essays, Une Américaine en Provence. She is married and has one daughter.
Praise for A Noël Killing
“The enchanting setting and the likable characters make the reader feel right at home. Armchair travelers and gourmets will have fun.” —Publishers Weekly
“A typical Longworth cassoulet of good food, fine wine, and murder.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Longworth’s lovingly rendered small town of Aix-en-Provence and its charming characters create a mellow tone, while the murderous actions provide compelling drama. This is the latest in a long-running series but can be read as a stand-alone.” —Library Journal
“Atmosphere, seasonal and culinary, complements, rather than overshadowing, this well-constructed mystery.” —Booklist
“Captivating . . . [A] choice pick especially recommended . . . for connoisseurs of the cozy mystery genre.” —Midwest Book Review
“It doesn’t get much cosier than Christmas in Provence. . . . Longworth happily peppers her seasonal tale with lovely and cheeky references to films such as Manon des Sources and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, Kate Bush songs, and the swoon-inducing Bradley Cooper.” —The Seattle Review of Books
More Praise for M. L. Longworth’s Provençal Mystery Series “The Verlaque and Bonnet mysteries . . . plunge you into a languid world of epicurean pleasures and good living.” —Eleanor Beardsley, NPR
“Beguiling . . . Longworth evokes the pleasures of France in delicious detail—great wine, delicious meals, and fine company.” —Publishers Weekly
“Longworth’s novels . . . are mysteries for foodies, with the plot providing a table upon which the enchanting meals and accompanying wines are served.” —Booklist