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A Well-Timed Murder: An Agnes Lüthi Mystery (Agnes Luthi Mysteries) Hardcover – February 6, 2018
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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"Timing, Agnes concludes, is the key to law enforcement as well as love. The insider's look at the rarefied world of high-end chronometers adds to the appeal of this engaging crime novel." ―Booklist
“Intriguing…[with a] dynamic setting and fascinating glimpse into the Swiss watch making world.” ―Publishers Weekly
"An enjoyable and suspenseful thriller...perfectly paced, A Well-Timed Murder is bound to appeal to both traditional mystery lovers and those who enjoy an intriguing novel." ―Shelf Awareness
Praise for Swiss Vendetta
“Secret pasts and hidden motives abound as Inspector Agnes Luthi hunts for a killer in this elegant and suspenseful novel. Tense, atmospheric, and richly detailed, Swiss Vendetta is a gripping, multi layered mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end!”―Ashley Weaver, author of Murder at the Brightwell
"Fans of both contemporary and historical mystery will devour this debut from Tracee de Hahn as her modern-day sleuth wades through secrets and deceptions in a centuries-old chateau."―Alyssa Maxwell, author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries
“Absorbing…De Hahn sets up a locked-room mystery with potential for rich interpersonal tensions. The rarefied, restrictive world of Swiss aristocracy provides a tantalizing backdrop, and Agnes―born to American parents, raised in Switzerland, and a widowed mother of three sons after her husband’s recent suicide―is a strong series lead…Those who like a fireside read on a winter night will be pleased.”―Publishers Weekly
“This clever take on the locked-room mystery―a locked château, if you will―introduces readers to an appealing heroine in an unusual setting in what will hopefully be a long series.”―Library Journal
About the Author
TRACEE DE HAHN completed degrees in architecture and European history at the University of Kentucky and then lived in Europe, including several years in Switzerland. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband, a Swiss architect, and their Jack Russell Terriers. This is her second novel, following Swiss Vendetta.
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As I mentioned in one of my previous reviews, I am enamored with mysteries set in locales with which I am not very familiar: the Georges Dupin series by Jean-Luc Bannalec set in Brittany, the Foreign Affairs series by Nick Wilkshire set in numerous locales, the Detective Kubu series by Michael Stanley set in Botswana, the Baby Ganesh series by Vaseem Khan set in India, and last but certainly not least the Agnes Luthi series. Other than traveling to these various places (which I would love to do some day), there is no better way to learn about them then reading a great mystery. I certainly learned a lot about this region of Switzerland, particularly those towns focused on watchmaking.
I highly recommend this book and the previous one in the series, Swiss Vendetta. I received this book to read and review, All opinions are my own.
A peanut allergy, a broken promise, an invention that would change the world of watches and a man whose life ended but whose daughter knew it was murder. Deeming the death due to a peanut allergy the ME thought the case was closed. But, Swiss-American Police officer Detective Agnes Luthi recovering from injuries and having difficulty walking is invited to a premier watch and jewelry trade show by her friend Julien Vallotoon whose there looking for Agnes. Guy Chavonon has a peanut allergy and has created he says an invention that will change the world of watch making. He is one of Switzerland’s more respected watchmakers and his jewelry house prides itself on creating fine pieces. But, he died during this trade show and although it is deemed accidental his daughter Christine differs. He boasted about a new technique he created that would bring watch making to a higher plateau. His daughter thinks he was killed because of this idea and Agnes agrees to investigate.
Agnes just lost her husband and is recovering from the loss and her children remain with her mother-in-law to care for them while she becomes engrossed in this investigation. Something about it does not ring true and the second plot deals with the Institute that Guy was a part of and the people in charge. The Headmaster and his wife seem bent on dealing with the boys that attend the school in a distant and hardcore manner without any kind of empathy or emotional attachments considering them leftovers or discards from families who did not want to deal with these teens. Meet Tommy and he seems to know everything that happens and even warns the others about things that could endanger them but how does he know?
Joseph Vallotton was Guy’s closest friend telling Agnes that he had died in circumstances considered an accident but he and Christine disagreed. Then Marie, Guy’s wife becomes circumspect as we get to know Stephen Dupree someone close to the family but very close to Marie. Monsieur Patel had a deal with Guy to go into business with him hoping to conquer the watch business with his newly created invention that was being kept secret. But, as you get to know him, his friendship with the staff of the Institute, his attention paid to Tommy and several other students you begin to wonder about him and many others too.
Hearing Marie’s voice as she and Christine have many arguments and discords you realize that they do not have an amiable relationship and that Marie does not want Guy’s death investigated and her relationship with Dupree uncovered. As Agnes gets into the murder
Bernard Fontenay and his wife run the Institute and Agnes took a tour to get more of a handle on how it’s run. Meeting Navarro Patel who entered the scene we begin to learn more about his alliance with Chavanon. Leo is Guy’s son who attends the Institute and the discussion went back to the fact that he claimed the symptoms for his death were classic anaphylaxis also claiming that within the garden of the Institute there were not peanuts so just how did he die? He continues with a discussion of the plants in the garden and how houseplants can be poisonous throwing others off from what might have really happened. Madame Butty the nurse dealt with the paramedics and they continued as the author shares more information about where he died.
There are other plots within this novel as the author explains that the students often pull pranks and within the novel there is one that wants to draw attention to himself for other reasons as a shed that Agnes is called to see is defaced with blood splatters and destroyed in many graphic ways. Notes are places in strategic places and it’s almost as if this person is crying out for help but why?
Next we view along with Marie, Agnes and Christine the violation of Guy’s office or workshop. Agnes did not want Marie present but she insisted. Marie is difficult and her relationship with Christine was strained. Her comment Marie was simple: It’s ruined. Accusatory attitude towards Agnes and demanding she lock up, allowing her to go through her husband’s things yet no one has yet address his new idea or where the information might be.
Julien Vallotton was concerned about Leo and Bernard the headmaster he felt had a lot to learn but he and Monsieur Mercier have their own secret and if revealed would change his life for the negative. The Patel Group plays a prominent role relating once again that they were going into a partnership as Guru Patel explained how they operate and that it is a, “special blend of talent and creativity that results in entrepreneurship.” He also stated that Christine’s obsession with his death and that Guy know the dangers of his condition. Koulsy, Leo and Tommy are friends and Koulsy is am amazing student but things have been happening to him like a kidnapping, accidents that injured him and one person present to save his life each time. Were these threats real or invented? Were they to get attention on the victim or someone else?
Tommy Scaglia seemed to be aware of everything that happens and warns the other kids that they are in danger. How does he know? Who is his father? What about the perception created about these students being leftovers or cast asides by their parents and the reason why they are attending the Institute?
When Koulsy is attacked and he claims Tommy pushed him out of the way to save his life and they were both hurt, just who or what is behind this attack and why? Helene is vicious and yet you might see another side of her when the harsh reality of what they missed comes through and the reason for these blanket attacks and the attacker is revealed. Everyone wants to feel needed, loved and not treated as a discard and that’s an important issue being addressed in this novel. Another is the issue of peanut allergies and how dangerous they are and what happens when someone wants to commit murder in plain sight? Just how can coming in contact with peanuts or anything attributed to them kill you? The author’s research will explain.
When the killer is finally revealed and the ending comes to light the twist at the end, the final reason for the death of Guy will bring the issue of greed, power, recognition, revenge, discord and money to light. A simple object reveals who committed the pranks and the author reveals why and how. One person who had revenge, anger and more on his/her mind will explain why Guy’s death was necessary. Will Christine remain with Omega or go back to working for her father’s company? What about the notes and the notebooks that might bring it all to light?
With the help of Officer Petit whose character I loved and would like to see more of Agnes pieces it together. Author Tracee de Hahn created characters you want more of in the future.
You won’t believe the ending and you won’t believe how the author created a reason to possibly write a sequel as we learn what if anything if it does or does not exists happened to his idea. Just now far did someone go to create and orchestrate with characters that are true to life, events that could really happen a WELL-TIMED MURDER?
I liked the mystery here. Once again Tracee de Hahn has written a spellbinding mystery with nods to classic whodunits, and I enjoyed trying to figure it out. I was suspicious of the murderer almost right away, but couldn’t ever figure out why, so I liked sifting through the clues and weeding out the red herrings.
As with Swiss Vendetta, I really enjoyed the character of Agnes Lüthi. She’s calm and collected, with an educated eye, and I like reading her control of the situation. I really love classic style murder mysteries, ones where the main character studies the crime scene, and interviews all of the suspects, and A Well-Timed Murder followed this style well. We get a bit of Agnes’s personal life outside of the murder investigation, but not so much where it overshadows the murder. I like it when mysteries are focused on the case at hand, and not so much all of the extra stuff going on, and so I enjoyed this.
As much of the mystery centers around the Swiss watch industry, I found the setting fascinating. I liked hearing about how the use of quartz altered the industry, and would like to know more. One thing that slightly irritated me was that in the synopsis it mentions Chavanon’s new technique in regards to watches. This technique was never explained that I could see, and so that was a bit frustrating. I wanted to know what the technique was and how it would change the industry!
I’m so far very pleased with this series. It’s only two books so far, but there’s something quiet and smart about Agnes that I just love, and I enjoy that so far the mysteries have been clean and engaging. I don’t care for a lot of gore, sex, and language in the mysteries I read, and so I’m enjoying this series quite a bit.
***I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of A Well-Timed Murder provided by the publisher. This review first posted on my blog, luvtoread.