Someone is spying on American author Helen Hancock. While in Paris to conduct research and teach a small class of writers, she discovers a spy camera hidden in her room at the Sorbonne Hotel. She notifies the US Embassy, and former FBI profiler Hugo Marston is dispatched to investigate. Almost immediately, the stakes are raised from surveillance to murder when the hotel employee who appears to be responsible for bugging Hancock’s suite is found dead. The next day, a salacious video clip explodes across the Internet, showing the author in the embrace of one of her writing students—both are naked, and nothing is left to the imagination. As more bodies pile up, the list of suspects narrows; but everyone at the Sorbonne Hotel has something to hide, and no one is being fully honest with Hugo. He teams up with Lieutenant Camille Lerens to solve the case, but a close call on the streets of Paris proves that he could be the killer’s next target.
About the Author
Mark Pryor is the author of the Hugo Marston novels The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, The Blood Promise, The Button Man, The Reluctant Matador, and The Paris Librarian, as well as the novels Hollow Man and the forthcoming Dominic. He has also published the true-crime book As She Lay Sleeping. A native of Hertfordshire, England, he is an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife and three children.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth”. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Words to live by. And they’ll occur to this book’s MC more than once as he picks away at his latest case. This is book #7 in a popular series but the first time I’ve met Hugo Marston. After a career with the FBI, Hugo became the head of security for the American Embassy in Paris. Sweet gig. In this outing, he has to deal with a temperamental author as he tries to help police figure out why people around her are dropping like flies. Helen Hancock is a well known writer of romance novels. She’s a woman of “a certain age” who projects a carefully crafted image to her fans. Unfortunately that image takes a hit when a sex tape of Helen & one of her students is released online. Things go from bad to worse after the student is later found dead. This is a contemporary cozy-ish mystery set in Paris. Aside from a few f-bombs, it’s a very clean read with main characters who are reminiscent of those found in Golden Age mysteries like those by Agatha Christie. The perp behind it all is not really up for debate but there are several nice twists as to motive & method. It’s very character driven with more dialogue than action & I suspect it’s one of those series where if you enjoy one, you’ll like them all as the author has a very distinctive style. It’s interesting to note he has 2 series that seem to cater to different readers, if reviews are anything to go by. Those who enjoy books in the cozy vein are Hugo fans while those with a taste for something grittier go for the Hollow Man series. I confess I found this a bit tame & think I might feel more at home in the second camp so I’ll be picking up “Hollow Man” to see how Dominic & I get along.
Hugo Marston is attending a funeral when he is approached by a very well-known romance novel writer, Helen Hancock. Immediately after the funeral she asks him to help her as she’s discovered someone has planted a camera in her hotel room. The reader is puzzled about how important this was that she had to stalk Hugo out at a funeral and how she knew he was there. Later for that. For now, Hugo does discover a camera in her room but is unable to do anything more as Helen doesn’t want the hotel notified and wants no publicity. Before they can do anything more, a hotel bell-hop is found murdered in the stairwell of the hotel. Not a clue is evident and the tension rivets upward when the next day reveals an internet video showing Helen Hancock with one of her writing students, Ambrosia Silva, naked and embracing. Hugo now realizes that someone is being bribed for an ulterior purpose and yet another death confirms that theory. Hugo himself has a suspicious encounter with someone outside of his home and realizes he must be careful as it appears he is to be the next victim. The mystery plot thickens and Hugo Marston follows his instincts as well as his well-honed investigative skills to discover a most surprising perpetrator of the constant death and mayhem. One of the lovely side notes in this novel includes Hugo’s appreciation for the food, drink, architecture and weather of Paris, making the reader long to visit and partake of the experiences that so satisfy our resident investigator who works for an embassy but would love to remain in Paris forever, if circumstances should allow that dream! All in all, The Sorbonne Affair… is a terrific read that will satisfy all mystery genre fans and anyone else looking for a very good read! Nicely done, Mark Pryor!