On a hot summer afternoon, witty and erudite poet–cum–banker’s wife Rachel Levis, the heroine of Bernhard’s spirited sequel to 2018’s Death in Paris, stops at a Paris bar looking for a refreshing spritz. Instead, she finds a body in the restroom. This leaves her with the perplexing problem of whom to call first: her husband, best friend, or “Capitaine Boussicault, the policeman she knew from the last time she’d encountered a murder.” The victim turns out to be a much-despised librarian in the rare books and manuscripts reading room of the Bibliothèque Nationale. Boussicault asks Rachel to go undercover at the library in order to find potential suspects and motives. She soon stumbles on another series of crimes, involving the theft of illustrations from antiquarian publications. Are the murder and the thefts connected, and if so, how? Bernhard keeps the reader guessing right up to the surprising finale. This mystery has it all: authentic Parisian local color, fully realized characters, amusing dialogue, and a satisfyingly complex plot. Agent: Laura MacDougall, United Agents (U.K.). (Oct.)
Praise for The Books of the Dead:
"The interplay between Boussicault and Rachel...drive the narrative as much as the puzzle. A worthy encore to Bernhard's Death in Paris series debut."
“Bernhard keeps the reader guessing right up to the surprising finale. This mystery has it all: authentic Parisian local color, fully realized characters, amusing dialogue, and a satisfyingly complex plot.”
"[A] spirited sequel...This mystery has it all: authentic Parisian local color, fully realized characters, amusing dialogue, and a satisfyingly complex plot."
"Another charming amateur investigator tale...[For] fans of Mary Kay Andrews or Laura Childs."
"Charming...[For] fans of Mary Kay Andrews or Laura Childs."
"If you're looking for something new and different in the mystery genre you won’t go wrong with The Books of the Dead."
"Another deftly crafted ‘A Death in Paris’ mystery...A riveting read from cover to cover."
—Midwest Book Review
“[A] fun, engaging and witty writing style...The Books of the Dead is a must for mystery fans who like a little international drama and an enticing amateur sleuth.”
—Manhattan Book Review
Praise for Death in Paris:
"Très charmant…Fans of cozies and the City of Lights, or drawn to the theme of female friendship, will eagerly await an encore. Pair this with Cara Black's beloved Aimée Leduc series.”
—Booklist, starred review
"[A] delightful debut and series launch... Bernhard fills the novel with entertaining characters, conjures up an authentic Paris, and gives the reader intelligent, if frothy, fun."
“This who enjoy contemporary cozy mysteries with amateur sleuths will gobble it up.”
“A vivid picture of the delights and day-to-day of Paris living... Rachel and Magda are a wonderful sleuthing duo and I enjoyed them hashing out the information about the suspects, in true Parisian fashion.”
—Night Owl Reviews
“Francophiles in particular will enjoy and be familiar with the descriptions of Parisian food, clothes, fashions, hairstyles, boulevards, streets, shops, cafes, language, and culture.”
—NY Journal of Books
“A fun romp through Paris’s chicest districts alongside two delightful amateur sleuths."
—M. L. Longworth, author of the Provençal Mystery series
“With a dreamy location, plenty of sensory details, a passel of suspects, and a dash of suspense, Death in Paris is as luscious as a pain au chocolat served at a sidewalk cafe. Bernhard's debut promises a wonderful new series set in the most beautiful city in the world."
—Juliet Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Key
"Bernhard has crafted a delightfully atmospheric mystery, a pièce de résistance filled with the flavor of Paris, France."
—Allyson K. Abbott, author of Murder on the Rocks
"Two younger, racier Miss Marples, American expats in Paris, live out their dreams with no more than the usual upset until financier Edgar Bowen drowns in his vichyssoise. It's not murder, say the police, but the wine tells a different story. A captivating cozy murder mystery with a bonus tour of everyone's favorite city."
—John Pearce, author of Treasure of Saint-Lazare
A charming expat and her Parisian chum help the police solve a string of murders in the Bibliotheque Nationale.
Who would murder a librarian and stuff his body into a stall in a nondescript bistro in the not terribly swank 13th Arrondisement? Capitaine Denis Boussicault can't figure it out, so he agrees to let amateur sleuth Rachel Levis go undercover as a temporary replacement for Guy Laurent, the victim, who worked in the Bibliotheque Nationale's reading room. He has ample reason to think Rachel is up to the task: Her candor and charm encourage people to confide in her, she demonstrated a knack for detection in the murder of her former lover Edgar Bowen (Death in Paris, 2018), and, most important, she was the one who discovered Laurent's body in the toilettes at Chez Poule, where she had gone to investigate whether the condom machines in French men's rooms are the same as in women's rooms. Rachel unearths plenty of dirt on Laurent, who tormented his co-workers, annoyed patrons, and seems to have had an interesting side hustle in blackmail. As Rachel helps interview the eccentric library staff and the even nutsier patrons, more corpses appear. The interplay between Boussicault and Rachel, who may overestimate the power conferred by her status as police consultant and its effect on her relationship with Magda Stevens, the crime-fighting partner who helped her crack the Bowen case, drive the narrative as much as the puzzle.
A worthy encore to Bernhard's Death in Paris series debut.
Curiosity gets the best of American expat Rachel Levis when she steps into a Paris restroom and finds a dead body. Guy Laurent, who worked in the rare books room at the Bibliothèque Nationale, was strangled; most of his coworkers had a reason to dislike him, but none will talk to Capitaine Boussicault. So Boussicault asks Rachel to volunteer at the library, blend in, and investigate, with a trusted security guard nearby. Rachel learns one colleague is a jilted lover and another is a writer betrayed. And did Guy want the department head's job? When it's discovered that pages are being torn out and stolen from irreplaceable library books, Rachel wonders if blackmail or briberty was on the table. Then the body count increases. Rachel becomes an active investigator working with police, but Boussicault removes her from the investigation for misunderstanding her assignment, and Rachel and her friend Magda charge into an investigation of their own. VERDICT Bernhard's second series mystery (after Death in Paris) is another charming amateur investigator tale. For readers for Bernhard's previous novel and fans of Mary Kay Andrews or Laura Childs.—Michelle Gilbert Doshi, Lake Forest Lib., IL