“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
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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.