cover image Death in Avignon

Death in Avignon

Serena Kent. Harper, $16.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-286988-3

The death of an English painter of dubious artistic talent but prodigious skill as a womanizer after a gallery opening in Avignon, France, propels Kent’s outstanding sequel to 2019’s Death in Provence. English expat Penelope Kite, an early retiree from a job assisting a prominent Home Office medical examiner, gets involved in what turns into a murder inquiry. Two more homicides shake the art scene around Avignon and Nice. Providing counterpoint to the violence is the sweetness of Kite’s growing connections to the locals, including her estate agent friend, Clémence Valencourt, an impeccable embodiment of Parisian femininity; “the knee-tremblingly handsome and charming” mayor of St. Merlot, Laurent Millais; and a group of local musicians who welcome her cello-playing skills. Kent, a pseudonymous husband-and-wife writing team, creates an appealing community for this winning stranger in a strange land, replete with amusing touches like a traditional English Sunday lunch for Penelope’s new French friends. Armchair travelers will be well satisfied. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Gernert Co. (Mar.)