by M.L. Longworth
Series: Verlaque and Bonnet Provencal Mystery #8
Publication Date: November 12, 2019
Publisher: Penguin Books
Just as the holiday cheer is in full swing, a man is poisoned, sending the community into a tailspin. The list of suspects, Verlaque and Bonnet quickly discover, almost fills the church itself, from the visiting vendors at the Christmas fair to the victim’s unhappy wife and his disgruntled business partner. In A Noël Killing, with the help of an ever-watchful young woman named France, the pair must solve the murder while the spirit of the season attempts to warm Verlaque’s stubborn heart.
In general, this series has been excellent in every way, but this one wasn’t its strongest entry.
The narrative meandered. A lot. It took several chapters to get a grip on what was going on, and who was doing what to whom. There’s a slow build up to the crime, which I don’t mind, but because everything else was slow too, it was a battle to keep my attention on the book.
Once things did start moving, they felt scattered and disorganised, though this improved quite a bit as the story progressed. Still, of the books I’ve read this month, this is the one I’m struggling most to remember anything about. It wasn’t unpleasant or badly written, it just wasn’t a strong plot and it lacked the usual strong writing, or perhaps strong editing.
I’m happy to blame it on Covid and hope that the next one measures up to the first 7.