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Love letters from Montmartre

Montmartre Cemetery holds many secrets. Does it hold the secrets of happiness for widower Julien Azoulay?  

For recently widowed Julien, the cemetery at Montmartre lures him back time and time again to visit the grave of his wife Helene.

Her loss means Julien cannot appreciate the beauty of the cimitetiere, the seasons or his young son. In his mind re replays his life and happier times. Can love live forever? Can Helene hear him? Will she respond to his pleas to go back in time…

With sensitive writing, Nicholas Barreau ( a non de plume for a Parisian writer who obviously knows the Montmartre area very well)  

By Nicolas Barreau


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Arsène Lupin 
Authors: Maurice LeBlanc and Edgar Jepson

Ahhh, Arsène Lupin – currently playing on Netflix as a series but the adventures that version of Lupin has are not like this original story of the gentleman thief.


Set in the early 1900’s in the French countryside this story of theft, daring, social classes and a time so far away from our current lives is lovely. It’s not the deepest story in the world but its easy to read, moves at a good pace and the characters are well developed. And it is clever.


It feels a bit like Wooster and Jeeves, that kind of era that feels so strange to us today. Lupin has far more emotional complexity than say, Sherlock Holmes, but he’s a charmer…


Ladies, watch out for your diamond necklaces…

Murder visits a French Village
Author: Susan C Shea

A Chateau in Burgundy Mystery

It started as an unlikely scenario – a young American woman’s husband dies, and she discovers he had secretly bought a derelict French chateau which he planned to renovate for her as a surprise. Oh, for a husband like that (but without the dying part).

And yet… I got completely into it!! The story was well written, with just enough detail to be obvious that Susan C Shea knows her France and enough personalisation of the leading lady to make her very relatable.

I enjoyed the descriptions fo village life (its good and bad), the pace of the story and the details that were involved in solving the murder.


Yes, I would look forward to reading more of this series. I even got the Google Map out to have a look at the exact places mentioned!!.


Others in the series include (from the book cover). They look like different characters in each book

  1. Love and Death in Burgundy

  2. Dressed for Death in Burgundy

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Mastering the art of French murder
Author: Colleen Cambridge

I never fail to be impressed at authors creativity.


In this novel, Colleen Cambridge positions her heroine as a neighbour of Julia and Paul Childs living in Paris in 1949.

Tabitha Knight is a poor cook and enthusiastic to learn all she can from her talented neighbour Julia of ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ fame. Après a party in the Childs apartment block where a young woman is murdered (using one of Julias favourite cooking knives no less!) and Tab and Julia are on the trail.


Between visits to the markets to stock up on the ingredients to make a perfect mayonnaise (Julia), visits to the theatre where the young lady worked (Tab), disastrous cooking experiences trying to make dinner for her uncles (Tab) and a rather good looking young French detective, the story rattles along.

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The Man with the Lead Stomach

Author: Jean-Francois Parot

What a find this small series of books by Jean-François Parot is turning out to be.


Book one of the series (“The Chatelet Apprentice) introduces us to Nicholas Le Floch, an investigator working on behalf the Paris police and, in time, the King. An uneventful life growing up in Brittany has not prepared Le Floch for the intrigue and games of a changing Paris.


The author was by profession a diplomat and historian. His books are described as akin to time travel. The series is set in the 1760s, and you can smell the stench of the open sewers and hear the horses’ hooves. The characters are well drawn and not that different from those we know in our daily lives in this century.


The period detail was fascinating. Parisians Le Floch meets range from the lowest whores to the King himself. Great, innovative writing that was easy to read and very different to any novels about French detectives I have read to date.


And yes, making people eat lead was a form of punishment meted out in those days.



French Dictionary



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Reviewing the Law
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