Books with a strong sense of place usually appeal to me, but even more so now when I can’t travel because of the global pandemic. This Verlaque and Bonnet mystery series, set in Aix-en-Provence, has hit the spot; I’ve finished six of the eight (not in order) and am reading number seven right now.
Antoine Verlaque is the examining magistrate of Aix, and Marine Bonnet, a law professor, is his girlfriend and sometimes-helper in solving murders in Aix. In this installment, Murder on the Ile Sordou, Verlaque and Bonnet have booked a week’s vacation on the remote and nearly uninhabited Ile Sordou, just off the coast, but of course a murder interrupts their vacation. As in all these novels, Verlaque and Bonnet have plenty of time for drinking wine and enjoying delicious meals, even while solving crimes. This time, they also have time for sunbathing and swimming in the ocean.
Like most mystery series, these novels are somewhat formulaic, but the writing is quite good. M.L. Longworth does an excellent job of developing realistic characters who aren’t crime-novel cliches. Pass me a glass of wine while I finish The Mystery of the Lost Cezanne and imagine I’m in Provence.