cover image The Vanishing Museum on the Rue Mistral: A Provençal Mystery

The Vanishing Museum on the Rue Mistral: A Provençal Mystery

M.L. Longworth. Penguin, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-14-313529-6

Longworth’s entertaining ninth Provençal mystery (after 2019’s A Noël Killing) takes Judge Antoine Verlaque, the examining magistrate of Aix-en-Provence, and his wife, Marine Bonnet, along with his team of policemen, to the Musée Quentin-Savary, a drab, rarely visited museum, which has been thoroughly robbed—little remains apart from a bench and a potted fern. Verlaque must discover who emptied the museum and why. As he examines a slew of possible motives, a violent death deepens the mystery. In Verlaque and Bonnet’s quest for answers, which involves walking the streets of Aix and driving along the scenic coastal road to Marseille, they enjoy fine dining in small, atmospheric restaurants at every opportunity. Meanwhile, the 45-year-old Verlaque is preparing himself for fatherhood, and tender scenes with his wife give a pleasing balance to the narrative. Charming characters complement the tidy mystery plot. This is just the ticket for those seeking a much-needed vicarious vacation. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown. (Apr.)