Title: Murder on the Champs-Élysées: A Belle-Époque Mystery (The Belle-Époque Mysteries #1)
Author: Alex Mandon
Publisher: Avid Press
Release Date: December 21st 2016
Genre(s): Gay mystery, historical fiction
Page Count: 262
Reviewed by: LenaRibka
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Paris, 1900. The height of the Belle-Époque: decadence, wealth, hedonism…and murder.
Homicide investigator Guillaume Devré stands for the silenced victims, bound to seek justice as he makes his way from the wide boulevards frequented by the tout-Paris to the narrow byways of Montmartre, to the shadow of the Tour Eiffel and the lush elegance of Maxim’s.
When the most famous courtesan in Paris becomes the prime suspect in the death of a wealthy young man, Inspector Devré is reluctantly drawn into the opulent parlors and witty manners of high society. As the investigation unfolds, he must contend with a bloodthirsty press and the outrageous behavior of his suspect…as well as his own prejudices and unfulfilled needs.
Devré soon realizes that solving this murder could expose him and his darkest secret.
Murder on the Champs-Élysées is the first in a new series featuring Inspector Guillaume Devré, a homicide detective from la Sûreté who lives a secret life on the fringes of respectable society, the powerful courtesan known as La Balise—with secrets of her own—and the gruff but brilliant American pathologist Dr. Jackson.
Very atmospheric, very Parisian and very enjoyable.
A promising start for a new Belle-Époque Mystery series set at the height of bohemian Paris!
As always it is difficult to review a mystery novel without giving something away, and I really don’t want to spoil you a pleasure of an exciting guessing game, but you have to be in the first place a lover of a historical mystery, because, in spite of presence of a love affair that has a huge potential to grow into a serious love relationship, The Belle-Époque Mysteries, is not MM romance but an accurately researched historical mystery.
Alex Mandon offers not only a well-written entertaining plot, but also a wonderful feeling of the time and the setting. With so many lovely details and interesting insights into society’s norms of Paris at the end of the nineteenth century.
When Monsieur Paul Bacard, a wealthy young man, has been found dead in a hired fiacre – though men of his standing had their own modes of transport -carriages (often multiple ones) -there is no doubt that he was murdered. But who could benefit from his death and why?
If you enjoy old fashioned mystery novels where normally there are many suspects in the beginning of the investigation and which circle is reduced to a single one toward the end, and where with an unexpected last twist of the story all your brilliantly thought-out theories collapse like a house of cards, you will like this series.
I can’t wait for the next sequel, I look forward to meeting these great characters again:
Inspector Guillaume Devrè from la Suretè, the Parisian detective bureau – which has been started by a reformed criminal named Eugene Vidocq during the Napoleonic era – was the oldest and most respected one in the world. Our leading gay character, deep in the closet of course, considering the period of time
though sodomy wasn’t illegal and it occurred far more than most people would believe, inverts were seen as deviants and as having an inherent criminal nature.
But Devrè’s special knowledge could be very useful for some case.
Dr. Thomas Jackson, the American pathologist, the best in the whole Paris, eccentric workaholic who is more comfortable with corps within the walls of his laboratory than among real people. He made me laugh, but he should learn to keep his mouth shut, mostly in regard to his job.
Èmile Huvet, the attractive family physician of a grande horizontale, a high society courtesan La Balise and her three female tenants and friends.
And of course La Balise herself, her mysterious past full of dark secrets.
I have a feeling, we’are going to have a lot of fun with this series!
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