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Fatal Carnival
Anne Cartier series #5

by Charles O’Brien

      For her fifth adventure, sleuth extraordinaire Anne Cartier is spending the winter in Nice, where her husband, Paul, can recuperate from a cough. They are staying with Anne’s cousin, Beverly, and her wealthy merchant husband, Thomas Parker, at a large villa, along with Beverly’s troubled deaf niece, Janice. With two men vying for heiress Janice’s attention consuming Anne’s interest, Paul has to go to Marseilles when a convict escapes from the prison. Jean Lebrun has been there for twenty years since killing his master - but did he actually do it?

Dual cases fill this slender volume up with plenty of plot and incident, involving ex-pats behaving badly, archaeology, Mardi Gras and a cabinet making business. Anne leaps into the fray with gusto, packing pistols, interrogating suspects and hobnobbing equally with the high and low inhabitants of sunny Nice. I am pleasantly reminded of the spunky heroines of Madeleine Brent’s action packed novels, so if you are somebody who misses them, these books will fill the gap nicely. I also applaud the removal of Anne and Paul from Paris and the political scene, as fascinating as this is any series that hopes to run and run needs a change of scene. The scene itself is well described from "decadent" wealthy folk’s lives and loves in Nice to hellish Toulon naval prison a la Les Miserables. One of the stronger entries in an always entertaining and inventive series.

The Book

Severn House
September 2006
Historical Crime - 1788, Nice and Marseilles
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2006