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Folly Du Jour
Joe Sandilands series #7

by Barbara Cleverly

      Commander Joe Sandilands is back for a seventh time in this award-winning series.  If you read the flyleaf, you will discover he is hastening to the side of his old friend from India, Sir George Jardine.  George has been wrongfully arrested and given the third degree after being found bending over a body in a box at the Folies Bergere.  Now Joe has to comb Paris to find out whodunit before Madame Guillotine does her work.  Well, that is what happens but fortunately for the reader so does a lot more besides...

If Agatha Christie was alive now, this is the sort of book she would be writing.  It really is that good, one of the strongest entries in a consistently surprising and inventive series.  After reading that flyleaf, I had my doubts as it sounded so run-of-the-mill; but this story is anything but.  With a stroke of genius, the story doesn’t even begin in the theatre, but in the Louvre’s Egyptian Gallery five years earlier where some American tourists are going to have a surprise involving a mummy case.  Throw into the mix street Apaches, Josephine Baker, Lindbergh’s solo flight, a statuette of Set and a pulp fiction character called Fantomas and you have a heady cocktail indeed.  This is the sort of thing at which the author excels - throwing out an ordinary-sounding plot teaser and coming up with something that is anything but.  With more twists and turns than a labyrinth, the tale certainly kept me guessing until the very end, wanting more yet feeling that the book had been exactly the right length.  Elsewhere on this site, you can find my Top Ten books of 2007 - what a pity this book didn’t come out earlier as it would have been up in the top five.  Unmissable and yes, I reckon very highly enjoyable.

The Book

Constable (Constable & Robinson)
14 November 2007
Historical Crime / 1927 Paris, France
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008