Book Review – MURDER ON THE EIFFEL TOWER by Claude Izner
Murder on the Eiffel Tower Synopsis
The brand-new, shiny Eiffel Tower is the pride and glory of the 1889 World Exposition. But one sunny afternoon, as visitors are crowding the viewing platforms, a woman collapses and dies on this great Paris landmark. Can a bee sting really be the cause of death? Or is there a more sinister explanation? Enter young bookseller Victor Legris. Present on the tower at the time of the incident, and appalled by the media coverage of the occurrence, he is determined to find out what actually happened. In this dazzling evocation of late nineteenth-century Paris, we follow Victor as his investigation takes him all over the city and he suspects an ever-changing list of possible perpetrators. Could mysterious Kenji Mori, his surrogate father and business partner at the bookstore Legris operates, be involved in the crime? Why are beautiful Russian illustrator Tasha and her colleagues at the newly launched sensationalist newspaper Passepartout always up-to-date in their reporting? And what will Legris do when the deaths begin to multiply and he is caught in a race against time? (Amazon)
Murder on the Eiffel Tower is the first title in the Victor Legris Mystery Series written by sisters Liliane Korb and Laurence Lefevre (pseudonym Claude Izner).
I’m often drawn to novels set in Paris – hard to say why exactly, since I have not had the opportunity to travel there myself… the colour and revolutionary zeal of its history perhaps? So, a book set in Paris in a particularly exciting time in history, with some of the most gorgeous retro cover-art I have come across, starring a bookseller come sleuth that’s enthralled by an artist, written by actual Parisian booksellers – is it possible to tick any more boxes for a booklover?
The vibrancy of the city, along with the people that had converged upon it during the 1889 World Exposition, oozed from the pages of this novel. The prose used to describe both setting and characters was evocative without resorting to decadence.
The Champ-de-Mars awoke to a colourless day, its party clothes in disarray following the excesses of the night before. An army of sweepers had invaded the square, dustcarts were collecting piles of rubbish, and there were gardeners raking the flowerbeds, watering the flowers and tidying up the lawns. It was barely seven o’clock. The suppliers’ carts and wagons, weighed down with provisions, dispersed to the four corners of the Expo to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the vast crowd of visitors, who were not yet there but already on their way.
The evocation of time and place was the clear strength of Murder on the Eiffel Tower. Leading man Victor Legris was initially likeable in a galant slapstick kind of way, but I found his dramatic persona and lack of efficacy draining after awhile. Some of the secondary characters were more successful though. Joseph, Victor’s young tireless bookshop assistant, added great heart and humour with his quips about difficult customers and his penchant for mystery novels.
I appreciated the complexity and ambitious nature of the Murder on the Eiffel Tower plot, and the little puzzles woven through it. But it, like Victor, chased one too many red-herrings, and by the time it arrived the ending did not come as a surprise.
At the time of writing, five subsequent titles have been published in the Victor Legris Mystery series. Murder on the Eiffel Tower is best suited for those who particularly enjoy immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of late nineteenth century Paris.
BOOK RATING: The Story 2.5 / 5 ; The Writing 3.5 / 5
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BOOK DETAILS: Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner ( Amazon | Booktopia | Kobobooks )
Genre: Historical, Mystery, Romance, Crime-Detective
Author Information: Claude Izner is the pseudonym of two sisters, Liliane Korb and Laurence Lefevre, both booksellers on the banks of the Seine, who are experts on nineteenth-century Paris.
Other reviews of Murder on the Eiffel Tower: Reactions to Reading; AustCrime; The Good, The Bad and the Unread; Historical Novel Society; Books Please