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Murder on the Eiffel Tower

18/07/2011

I recently finished Murder on the Eiffel Tower (a translation of Mystère rue des Saints-Pères), Murder on the Eiffel Towerthe first in the Victor Legris series by Claude Izner. Set during the 1889 World Exposition, when the Eiffel Tower had just opened, this leisurely paced story involves the mysterious deaths of various individuals by apparent bee stings. Parisian bookseller Victor Legris is drawn into the investigation and discovers to his unease that certain of his acquaintances could be involved.

I found the mystery and romantic elements of the story to be only moderately interesting, but I enjoyed the historical setting, as well as the brief appearances of some of the minor characters, such as the  put-upon aunt who must accompany her niece and nephews to the Exposition, as well as the put-upon shop assistant in Legris’s bookstore. It would be interesting to read the next three Victor Legris mysteries (The Père-Lachaise Mystery, The Marais Assassin, and The Monmartre Investigation) to see how the series develops.

Claude Izner is actually the pseudonym of two sisters The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Societywho are themselves booksellers in Paris. If the idea of family members co-authoring a mystery series intrigues you, you might like to try the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, set in post-WWI England and penned by the mother-son team known as Charles Todd. The first in the series is A Test of Wills. Another product of family collaboration (not a mystery series) is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, a charming epistolary novel set in WWII and written by Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece, Annie Barrows. Sadly, Shaffer passed away a few months before the book was published.

If you are interested in reading more about the Eiffel Tower and the Paris Exposition, you might like to try Eiffel's Tower and the World's Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count.