The Messengers of Death (Commissaire Laviolette Series #2)

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Overview

A Publishers Weekly Best Mystery of 2008, this is the exceptional follow-up to Pierre Magnan’s highly acclaimed Death in the Truffle Wood

Local handyman Emile discovers an envelope addressed to a Mlle Veronique in a disused mailbox. Being a former postman, he dutifully purchases a stamp and mails the letter. But when the body of this same Mlle Veronique is soon found murdered, Commissaire Laviolette is coaxed out of retirement to solve one of ...

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Overview

A Publishers Weekly Best Mystery of 2008, this is the exceptional follow-up to Pierre Magnan’s highly acclaimed Death in the Truffle Wood

Local handyman Emile discovers an envelope addressed to a Mlle Veronique in a disused mailbox. Being a former postman, he dutifully purchases a stamp and mails the letter. But when the body of this same Mlle Veronique is soon found murdered, Commissaire Laviolette is coaxed out of retirement to solve one of the most bizarre crimes imaginable.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the Commissaire Laviolette Mysteries

“Stylish . . . a detective tale with a theme as old as Cain and Abel, as new as tomorrow’s headlines, and as eternal as the Greek myths that inspire Magnan’s fiction.”

- Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Messengers of Death

“A pleasantly old-fashioned mystery thriller with quirky charm aplenty.”

- Kirkus Reviews on The Messengers of Death

“An intellectual feast . . . worthy of that other master of the French mystery, Georges Simenon. A winner.”

- Richmond Times-Dispatch on Death in the Truffle Wood

“Delightful, old-fashioned . . . wrapped in the rich atmosphere of 1960s Provence. The setting will draw in Peter Mayle fans, even if they are not regular mystery readers.”

- Booklist on The Messengers of Death

Publishers Weekly

A crime offering delicate soupçons of passionate desires and outrageous sex lures former Superintendent Laviolette out of retirement in Magnan's stylish second Provence mystery (after 2007's Death in the Truffle Wood). When avaricious spinster Véronique Champourcieux is found with 30 centimeters of rusty 1871 bayonet in her belly, Laviolette's old acquaintance Judge Chabrand enlists his help in the murder investigation. As one grisly killing after another ensues, the pair delve into long-repressed secrets of the poor, harsh Provençal countryside. Magnan blends elegant clue laying and deft characterizations that strike to the core of human frailties, all within a detective tale with a theme as old as Cain and Abel, as new as tomorrow's headlines and as eternal as the Greek myths that inspire Magnan's fiction. (Oct.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Secrets and lies lead to shockingly violent murder in a small French town. An intimately omniscient narrator introduces the village of Barles in the hilly region of Upper Provence, as well as its eerie cemetery and, finally, an ordinary postbox, the starting point of the mystery. Former postman Emile Pencenat is industriously digging his own grave when he spots an unposted letter and helpfully deposits it in said box. The recipient of the letter is the solitary Veronique, settling into spinsterhood in the family home, the piano her constant companion. Her flouncy friend Ambroisine visits unexpectedly and tells a chilling and rather implausible tale of a man who walks her attic at night, terrifying her. Shortly after, Veronique is attacked and killed with a bayonet by a man incongruously dressed as a sapeur (sapper). The bloody murder sends waves of fear through the small community and draws out of retirement inquisitive Commissaire Laviolette, a veteran investigator who lives nearby. He shares his droll observations with another elderly amateur sleuth, Judge Chabrand. Their probing digs up more than truffles (the region's prized delicacy) in a story full of twists in a town full of outre characters. A pleasantly old-fashioned mystery thriller with quirky charm aplenty. Magnan (Death in the Truffle Wood, 2007, etc.) fashions an intricate landscape of life in a French village while weaving menace and suspense into his tapestry.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312387570
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/2009
  • Series: Commissaire Laviolette Mystery Series , #2
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,026,991
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Pierre Magnan is an award-winning French crime writer who publishes his novels to rave international reviews. The Messengers of Death is his second mystery in the Commissaire Laviolette series; his classic crime novel, The Murdered House, is forthcoming from Minotaur Books.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2008

    excellent French murder mystery

    Former postman Emile Pencnat notices the unstamped addressed letter in the disused box at the gate of the Cemetery at Barles, France. Unable to resist perhaps because of his previous occupation, he puts on the postage and sends it to Veronique Champourcieux. However the mademoiselle is not quite in a receiving mood as someone jammed the bayonet blade of a nineteenth century rife through her stomach into a piano. After the greedy woman is found dead Judge Chabrand asks his friend former Superintendent Laviolette to investigate the homicide. As the pair follows leads across Provencal, more horrific gruesome murders occur. Someone appears to be on a mission of revenge, which Laviolette assumes means greed is the original cause and serial murders are the effect. ---- The second Provence whodunit (see DEATH IN THE TRUFFLE WOOD) is an excellent French murder mystery due to the sleuthing pair who struggles with a strange case. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the judge asks the retiree to help him end the serial killings. Pierre Magnan provides a strong investigative thriller as the murder count rises while Laviolette and Chabrand try to prevent the next one by capturing the culprit. ---- Harriet Klausner

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