An Art Lover’s Guide to Paris and Murder

Kensington. (Countess of Harleigh Mystery, Bk. 7). Jun. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781496745118. $27. M
In Freeman’s seventh Countess of Harleigh mystery (following A Newlywed’s Guide to Fortune and Murder), Frances Wynn, once the Countess of Harleigh and now married to George Hazelton, has several reasons to visit Paris in 1900. She would like to see the World Exposition. She also knows that George has received a letter from France, and she doesn’t think it relates to his work for the Home Office. It turns out that George’s Aunt Julia is in Paris and would like to consult him about a suspicious death. Paul Ducasse, an artist who was once Julia’s lover, recently drowned in the Seine, but Julia believes he was murdered. When Frances and George arrive in Paris, however, Julia is reluctant to share information. She brushes off her troubles and accompanies the Hazeltons to the World Exposition. That day, a footbridge collapses, and the trio is caught in the chaos. In the aftermath, Frances and George think that the collapse killed Julia, but then the police reveal that someone took advantage of the tragedy to stab her to death. Frances and George link Ducasse’s murder to Julia’s and interview some of Ducasse’s artist friends. However, it’s their trip to Julia’s farm in Chartres that reveals what might be the greatest clue.
VERDICT Art, murder, and the Parisian atmosphere combine in a delightful, detailed mystery for Francophile fans of Rhys Bowen or Betty Webb.
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