cover image The Book Artist: A Hugh Marston Novel

The Book Artist: A Hugh Marston Novel

Mark Pryor. Seventh Street, $15.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-63388-489-2

Early in Pryor’s enjoyable eighth Hugh Marston novel (after 2017’s The Sorbonne Affair), Marston, the head of security at the American embassy in Paris, picks up Alia Alsaffar, a beautiful artist visiting from the U.S., at her hotel to take her to the embassy Christmas party. The pair decide to skip the party and instead bond over a mutual love of books—Marston collects them, and Alsaffar creates sculptures out of them. The next night, a murder at an exhibit of Alsaffar’s sculptures at the Dalí Museum spoils the event. Marston inserts himself into the subsequent investigation headed by Lt. Intern Adrien Marchand, who’s less than enthusiastic about his involvement in the case. As Marston delves into the elite world of high art, he and Marchand engage in some entertaining repartee. Of less interest is a secondary plot that takes Marston’s best buddy, former CIA spook Tom Green, to Amsterdam. The Parisian Christmas setting enhances the story’s charm. Agent: Ann Collette, Rees Literary. (Jan.)