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MURDER ON THE RIVIERA
By Mary-Jane Deeb
Paraclete Press, February 1, 2004
Reviewed by Karen Meek
This is the first entry in a series featuring heiress Marie-Christine De Medici. Marie-Christine has recently inherited a fortune from her French grandmother who lives in the perfume town of Grasse, near Cannes. Marie-Christineís grandmother was so disappointed that her son chose to move to the United States that she promised to give her legacy to Marie-Christine instead when she reached twenty-five. Marie-Christine is now rich and not wanting to be thought a spoilt heiress, and having completed an English degree, declares she wants to be a writer. To help her, her grandmother buys the local Grasse paper and installs Marie-Christine as the editor. At the first board meeting, the outgoing editor claims he has a very newsworthy story for Marie-Christine about an unsolved murder that occurred two years ago and that heíll be able to tell her who was guilty. Naturally after such a declaration it is no surprise that he is found murdered. Only the people at the board meeting knew about his intentions so which one silenced him?
All the board members are friends of the family to varying degrees so her grandmother does her best to gather them together and elicit alibis. In addition, Marie-Christine gathers gossip whilst avoiding the romantic intentions of a dull lawyer called Arthur and surviving several attempts on her life. It is her grandmother who solves the case but only just in time to save her granddaughterís life.
MURDER ON THE RIVIERA is fun and romantic cozy set in the warm and beautiful South of France. The story is told from Marie-Christineís point of view and itís quite a breathless tale as she regularly omits the "I" from her sentences eg "am still confused." The murdererís identity and motive are neatly obscured by all the secrets held by all the people under suspicion as indeed, everyone has something to hide.
I enjoyed this very much and I would like to visit Grasse in person but until then Iíll just have to read the next book, A CHRISTMAS MYSTERY IN PROVENCE.
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