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Death in Provence
Penelope Kite
BY Serena Kent

02/19/2019/ ISBN 978-0062869852
Mystery / Suspense / Amateur Women Sleuths

Reviewed by Linda Morelli

Divorcee Penelope Kite, a forensic pathologist assistant, decides to become an expat and start life anew in Provence, France, settling on the idyllic town of St. Merlot. Agent Clémence Valencourt shows Penny a lovely stone farm house called Le Chant d’Eau, and though the property definitely needs a lot of work, Penny loves the property. Clémence introduces Penny to the gardener who worked for the previous owners and, that night, Penny goes to sleep dreaming of possibilities, only to find a body floating in the overgrown pool the next day. Penny’s past experience reveals that the death was murder, but when she explains why to Inspector Gamelin and Mayor Laurent Millais after their arrival, the Inspector becomes suspicious and the mayor is amused, then identifies the dead man, whose family once owned the farm.

Penny calls her friend. Frankie, the force to be reckoned with, to reveal the events. Frankie immediately arrives to provide emotional support, check out the farm house, give advice on what needs to be done and the probable cost. But after Frankie leaves, Penny discovers another body, and then her home is broken into. Was it a neighbor? Now that Frankie’s gone, who can Penny trust?

I love mysteries set in Britain and France, and this story immediately caught my eye. Penny, Frankie, Clémence and the other minor characters are well-drawn and true to form. The mayor, who looks like a movie star, catches Penny’s eye, and I can’t help but wonder if there’s a possible romantic involvement in the makings. I can dream, right? I can’t wait to read more about the happenings in St. Merlot. Wonderful characters, great setting, and a well-plotted and intriguing mystery make this a charming first release in a series that promises to be one of my favorites.

Reviewed 2018