- File Size: 549 KB
- Print Length: 223 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1542811341
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Crooked Cat (December 6, 2015)
- Publication Date: December 6, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0191Z0BF8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#816,605 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #546 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > French
- #2897 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Crime
- #3890 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > International Mystery & Crime
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Messandrierre: Murder in rural France (A Jacques Forêt Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Then there are the missing person reports, which on closer inspection and backtracking reveal a number that warrants a deeper investigation.
Foul play indeed, and with a side order of romance between the gendarme and a part time resident Englishwoman. Go on, treat yourself.
There are quite a lot of characters to keep track of, I could have done with making notes, and you do need your wits about you as you are reading this book. Angela cleverly drops in scenes from the past, designed to confuse the mind as you go along, but thankfully by the end, all is revealed. I’m hoping to get back to Messandriere with Angela very soon.
This book would be a great read to take on holiday, where you have the time to give it the attention it deserves.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“Do you know, Watson,” said he, “that it is one of the curses of a mind with a turn like mine that I must look at everything with reference to my own special subject. You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of their isolation and of the impunity with which crime may be committed there.”
“Good heavens!” I cried. “Who would associate crime with these dear old homesteads?”
“They always fill me with a certain horror. It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.” (from The Adventure of the Copper Beeches)
Detective Jacques Forêt left his investigative job in Paris to take up a post as gendarme, a regular policeman, in Messandriere, a rural village in the Cévennes region. He had hopes that this new, less high-powered assignment would help him heal from an injury and traumatic events in Paris (left shadowy) and bring him a measure of peace. Yet it is not working out this way. “Numbers Jacques“ (as he became known on the Paris force) cannot help noticing the mounting total of strange disappearances in this tiny village. Meeting with his associate Thibault Clergue for lunch, they chew over more than their plate of charcuterie:
“ 'That’s four disappearances in thirteen months, Thibault.' Deciding to leave the ham until last he took a mouthful of salami instead and chewed on it. 'That’s almost Paris statistics and this is a village a fraction of the size of the city.'
'Ah.' Clergue scraped his fork through a slice of rosette and stuffed it into his mouth. 'Numbers Jacques!'
The use of his old nickname from his time in the Judiciaire in Paris made him wince…"
Another thing that is making Jacques Forêt wince is the aloofness of his girlfriend, photographer Beth Samuels, who has just returned to Messandrierre but chose not to let him know herself. It seems they were very close during her last visit, but this time she is pulling away from him. She is overwhelmed with questions surrounding her deceased husband Dan’s curious business dealings and her own concerns about disposing of their property. She clearly still admires Jacques but doesn’t want to let herself resume their relationship–the very thing Jacques wants above all else.
Beth becomes embroiled in the string of disappearances when a couple of hiking tourists stop for the entire afternoon at her place, and then one of them, Rob Myers, fails to show up to meet his friend Will later that week. Beth is very concerned about Rob’s whereabouts but she is evasive when Jacques must question her in his capacity as Messandrierre’s gendarme.
" 'Did they say anything about where they were going?' Jacques noticed that her frown had returned and that she was twisting her wedding ring round and round her finger. He wondered why. Or, perhaps, they mentioned what their plans were?' Putting his notebook down he observed her as she formed her response. A moment later, when he recognized that she was avoiding his gaze, he prompted her gently. 'Anything they said could be helpful, Beth.'
'But that’s the point. Had I known that you would be here today asking me about them I would have paid more attention. But it was just chitchat, you know. They said something about working for the summer.' She looked at the floor."
Her reticence disturbs him, both professionally and personally: what could she be hiding? The investigation continues and before long, Beth is in real danger of becoming the next missing person. To me, Beth seems too trusting and takes too many chances; she might benefit from following the old maxim to be careful when talking to strangers!
Messandrierre works very well as a mystery/thriller. About 10% into the book, I caught myself having forgotten for a few moments that I was reading–surely a good sign–instead, I was completely caught up in the story and its very effective suspense. The author uses a lot of dramatic irony, in which the reader knows that one character or another is blithely hurtling into danger, and the dénouement is quite chilling. Sherlock Holmes was right about the “dreadful” crimes that can go unnoticed in the “smiling and beautiful countryside,” unless he and Watson–or Jacques Forêt–are on the case. I look forward eagerly to the next books in this new mystery series, but don't miss this opener!
We don't learn much about the incident that made him leave the city, but there's no need to. Forêt desperately wishes to leave the past where it was, and that's the way it should be.
But even if not much ever happens in Messandrierre, something seems to be wrong as young people suddenly start to vanish. Forêt, starts investigating the disappearance of a young man and before he knows it, he has 5 or 6 more missing people in his hands. And they might turn out to be dead people. Add to this that one of the suspects is the woman he loves and you have a great thriller in your hands.
There are many twists and turns before the book ends and we discover the killer. The author keeps us guessing throughout the book what is going to happen next.
If, like me, you are a fan of great detective stories, do yourself a favor and pick up this book, it's that good!
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review