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Death at the Chateau Bremont
Verlaque and Bonnet Series, No 1
M L Longworth

Penguin Books
2011 / ISBN 978-0143119524
License Investigator / Provence, France / Contemporary

Reviewed by L J Roberts

First Sentence: The attic light was burnt out.

When tienne de Bremont is found dead having fallen from an attic window in his family s chateau, it is thought to be a suicide. Or was it an accident? Or was it murder as even the broom in the attic contains no finger prints and a once-heavy suitcase is now empty. When the decidedly murdered body of Etienne s brother, Fran?ois, is found in the ch teau s fountain, the case becomes much more complex for Magistrate Verlaque as he also needs the help of his former lover and the brother s friend, law professor Marine Bonnet

Ms. Longworth does a very good job of setting the opening scene with both wonderful and horrific descriptions. But it is the characters who drive this story.

We are quickly intrigued by Magistrate Antoine Verlaque. The author provides bits of his background and his character. However, just as one of the characters comments, we never really get to know him. He works well with his teams, realizes some of his own shortcomings and has a complex relationship with Marine. You feel the attraction between the two characters even in the classic scene of couples who are not together but take a small satisfaction in each other’s imperfections. There is also an interesting passage where we see Verlaque through Marine s eyes, and a delightful observation about Americans. Although it is stated, a bit too many times, that Verlaque has the ability to seduce all those he meets, he is also smart; he knows it is more effective to interview people in their own environment.

Foodies beware Ms. Longworth s wonderful descriptions of food and wine make you salivate and want to pack your bags so that you may experience these delights personally.

The mystery does often become overshadowed by the characters but is still present and interesting enough to hold its own, including a couple very nice twists.

Death at the Chateau Bremont is an enjoyable read with characters intriguing enough to make one want to return for, hopefully, the next book.

Reviewed 2011
© 2011