cover image A Noël Killing: A Provençal Mystery

A Noël Killing: A Provençal Mystery

M.L. Longworth. Penguin, $16 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-14-313406-0

In Longworth’s appealing eighth Provençal mystery featuring magistrate Antoine Verlaque and his wife, law professor Marine Bonnet (after 2018’s The Secrets of the Bastide Blanche), vendors from sister cities all over the world have descended on the city of Aix to sell their wares during the holiday season. To celebrate, the Protestant church hosts a carol sing, inviting both vendors and locals to attend. Meanwhile, Debra and Cole Hainsby, U.S. expats, are having money trouble because of Cole’s failed touring business, and Debra has taken a job at a local private school. When Cole drops dead during the carol sing, Antoine begins to dig into links between the private school’s head and a desperate move Cole made just before his death. Meanwhile, Marine guards her own secret, one that could have lasting consequences for the couple. Antoine and Marine’s repartee over exquisitely described French meals is one of the book’s pleasures. Never mind the slightly rushed denouement—the enchanting setting and the likable characters make the reader feel right at home. Armchair travelers and gourmets will have fun. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown. (Nov.)