A Noël Killing

Penguin. (Verlaque & Bonnet Provençal Mystery, Bk. 8). Nov. 2019. 286p. ISBN 9780143134060. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780525505839. Mys
Antoine Verlaque finds the excesses of Christmas celebration in his small town in southern France to be a bit too much. Marine Bonnet, Antoine’s partner and wife, would like to celebrate, but in a moderate fashion. When they attend a carol sing at Cathedral Saint Sauveur, their local church, and a shady businessman is poisoned at the buffet, their holiday takes a decidedly different turn toward work. The sleuth duo discover many murder suspects, including the businessman’s wife and most of the Christmas fair vendors.
VERDICT Longworth’s lovingly rendered small town of Aix-en-Provence and its charming characters create a mellow tone, while the murderous actions provide compelling drama. This is the latest in a long-running series but can be read as a stand-alone.
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