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Murder on the Eiffel Tower: A Victor Legris Mystery (Victor Legris Mysteries) Paperback – September 15, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Victor Legris Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312581610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312581619
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of quality historicals will welcome Izner's debut, the first of a series to feature an engaging and fallible amateur sleuth. In 1889, Parisian bookseller Victor Legris finds himself in the midst of a baffling series of deaths connected with the newly opened Eiffel Tower. The victims all apparently died from bee stings, but Legris suspects foul play. His inquiry coincides with another role outside his usual occupation, as a contributor to Le Passe-partout, a new sensationalist newspaper. Almost as soon as the bookman seizes on a promising suspect, that person turns up dead as well, leaving him with a dwindling pool, which, to his chagrin, includes Le Passe-partout's attractive illustrator, an enigmatic Russian woman with whom he's become besotted. The taut pacing and vivid period detail will have readers eagerly turning the pages. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Bookseller Victor Legris investigates when several people die of apparent bee stings during the Universal Exposition of 1889 in Paris. The disparate group of victims includes a rag picker, a poor relation, a wealthy collector, and a budding opera star. Did these people really die of bee stings, or are they being murdered? If so, why? Victor looks for the connection between the four, and to his horror it appears that the link may be either Kenji, the man who raised him after his father’s death, or Tasha, the woman he is beginning to love. This leisurely paced mystery, steeped in the sights and sounds of nineteenth-century Paris and the Universal Exposition—and full of details about the newly open Eiffel Tower—pairs a methodical investigation with a love interest, carefully researched historical facts, and details of the literary world of the time. The only quibble is that the many secondary characters are rather underdeveloped and, hence, difficult to keep straight. Izner is the pseudonym for two sisters who are secondhand booksellers. --Sue O'Brien --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ellis Bell VINE VOICE on September 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Its 1889, and people from all over the world have come to Paris for the Exposition commemorating the centenary of the fall of the Bastille. One day, on top of the newly constructed Eiffel Tower, a woman dies, apparently of a bee sting. Later, an American naturalist dies, apparently of the same cause. There's no evidence to prove that these deaths are murder, but Victor Legris, a bookseller, sets out to solve the crime.

"Claude Izner" is the pen name of two sisters who are booksellers in Paris, so the atmosphere they evoke in this mystery is pretty authentic and detailed. I have a weakness for historical mysteries, so this book was right up my alley in that respect.

However, I couldn't get past the characters themselves. They all seem so stereotypical: the unassuming detective with a mistress in the wings, the mysterious coworker, the red-haired femme fatale. There's not much here that's original. Victor was also really dense at times when it came to obvious clues. In order for me to want to continue reading a series, I have to want to continue reading about the characters. Murder on the Eiffel Tower did not leave me with that feeling, so it's doubtful that I'll read further books in this series.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
In 1889 while the Buffalo Bill show parades through the streets of Paris as part of World Exposition extravaganza, a rag and bone man dies from a bee sting. Soon afterward at the top of the new Eiffel Tower, Parisian bookstore owner and photographer Victor Legris watches as a woman, Eugenie Patinot, apparently dies from a bee sting.

Victor meets with his business partner Kenji Mori, his friend reporter Marius Bonnet and Russian illustrator Tasha Kherson. With a common interest to spark them, Victor and Tasha become an entry. When a third "bee sting" death occurs near the Colonial Palace, Victor investigates hoping he can write an article for Le Passe-partout.

In some ways more a historical thriller than an amateur sleuth, MURDER ON THE EIFFEL TOWER is in either case a terrific tale. Readers will be caught up with Victor's energy as he escorts the audience around Paris at an exciting time for the city. The whodunit is cleverly devised to provide fans with a strong mystery, but the entertaining story line belongs to the hero and his supporting cast especially late nineteenth century Paris at a time when technology is booming.

Harriet Klausner
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Although I don't read them nearly as much as I used to, I do have a soft spot for historical mysteries -- which is what drew me to this first in a French series projected to be translated in the coming years. The story is set amidst the hustle and bustle of Paris's Exposition Universelle of 1889, which was the world's fair commemorating the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille and the birth of modern France. Its chief attractions were the newly built Eiffel Tower, Buffalo Bill's Western Show, a grand hall exhibiting the latest in machinery innovations, and the various "ethnic" pavilions and streets, whose ersatz reconstructions of life from around the world were intended to drum up public support for colonialism.

The hero/sleuth of the story is Victor Legris, an eligible young bachelor who is the proprietor of a fine bookstore. When a series of unconnected people start dying of suspected bee stings, he finds himself investigating the deaths. His involvement is somewhat clumsily engineered through his friendship with a newspaper publisher and his circle of employees. Eventually, he believes that either his closest friend (a Japanese man who was his father's right-hand man), or a sexy Russian artist woman he's interested in, must be the murderer. As in so many plots of this nature, this requires a lot of people not talking to each other or saying what's on their mind -- which gets pretty old.

His investigation (and the book itself) is kind of herky-jerky and awkward, as various threads are picked up, examined, and discarded. Thankfully, the book is ripe with period color and a reasonably interesting supporting cast of characters. Unfortunately, the climactic revelation of the culprit is underwhelming and their identity more than a little ridiculous.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pretty Sinister on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you love clichéd renderings of "turn of the century" types, then dig right in. If you like a jumbled mess of a plot that jumps all over the place never making any sense at all, you'll love this. I found the whole thing extremely tiresome.

A love struck --make that obsessed-- bookseller chasing after a newspaper illustrator makes up most of the plot. Based almost entirely on coincidence (but mostly because his name is in a visitor's book at the top floor of the Eiffel Tower) the bookseller suspects his boss as the murderer. Then he shifts his suspicion (based on the same absurd "reasoning") to the woman with whom he is obsessed. His "detective" work is the stuff of juvenile adventures like the Hardy Boys books (pretending to be a reporter, asking the neighbors nosy questions, etc.) It's all nonsense.

I give the book credit only for the painstakingly researched historical aspects of the Parisian exposition. That portion of the book is at least interesting and at times illuminating. The mystery plot? Mystery is a perfect word to describe the plot. It baffled me, had me scratching my head, often I would catch myself saying "What the...?" aloud. I like to be stumped or surprised with a detective story, but I would like it to have some kind of coherence. In the end, the outrageous motive for the murders is VERY 21st century. I find it hard to believe that anyone thought like that in the late 19th century. I'm really tiring of historical novels with characters whose personas and psyches are firmly planted in the future rather than in the era in which the book is supposedly set.
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