cover image The Messengers of Death: A Mystery in Provence

The Messengers of Death: A Mystery in Provence

Pierre Magnan, , trans. from the French by Patricia Clancy. . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $24.95 (311pp) ISBN 978-0-312-38756-3

A crime offering delicate soupçons of passionate desires and outrageous sex lures former Superintendent Laviolette out of retirement in Magnan's stylish second Provence mystery (after 2007's Death in the Truffle Wood ). When avaricious spinster Véronique Champourcieux is found with 30 centimeters of rusty 1871 bayonet in her belly, Laviolette's old acquaintance Judge Chabrand enlists his help in the murder investigation. As one grisly killing after another ensues, the pair delve into long-repressed secrets of the poor, harsh Provençal countryside. Magnan blends elegant clue laying and deft characterizations that strike to the core of human frailties, all within a detective tale with a theme as old as Cain and Abel, as new as tomorrow's headlines and as eternal as the Greek myths that inspire Magnan's fiction. (Oct.)