French financier Edgar Bowen drowned in a bowl of soup — literally. When his former girlfriend, American ex-pat Rachel Levis, overhears the details surrounding the strange death, she immediately suspects foul play, but the police rule it an accident.
With little more than a hunch, Rachel and her best friend, Magda, delve into the Parisian upper-class world determined to find out what really happened during Edgar’s last meal. As the suspect list grows, so do the number of deaths. With someone tying up loose ends, Rachel and Magda must uncover the truth without landing on a killer’s target list.
Emilia Bernhard’s debut, Death in Paris, offers a predictable and borderline comical tale in the vein of cozy mysteries. Expecting something along the lines of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None or Eric Keith’s Nine Man Murder, I instead encountered a slow-paced narrative that I struggled to get into. I could have easily skipped pages and missed nothing.
Rachel and Magda came across as bored busybodies in a foreign country with too much time on their hands. Their theories, though many times right in the end, felt like lucky guesses that they pulled out of nowhere. For the most part, I struggled to take them seriously. Even Rachel’s own husband, Alan, seemed to mostly indulge his wife. As is, Rachel and Magda don’t have what it takes to carry a series, their current success appearing more like a fluke.
Extensive telling versus showing, and the fact that the author reveals a lot of the details and accounts through conversations between characters after the events take place rather than in “real time,” ensured my placement as a spectator instead of experiencing the story for myself.
The setting, though picturesque and nice, could have been any generic European city, and the novel as a whole felt too implausible and required too much suspension of belief. Readers who enjoy cozy mysteries and slower stories might still like Death in Paris.
Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley. Thanks