12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2008
A pleasant enough introduction the exploits of Victor Legris and co - there is a nice ensemble feel already about his band of cohorts. There are some incongruities about some of the translation, minor quibble really and no doubt there are difficulties in directly translating French idioms into English to give them similar meaning.
The mystery itself is dealt with reasonably well. There is a bit of suspense along with a couple of inconsistencies in the reasoning of the murderer (who is to say that a murderer will act rationally?) and the list of suspects is soon whittled down, although I picked the wrong one of my final two suspects by the denouement so I must have fallen for some of the red herrings. As other reviewers state, this is not brilliant, but on the whole this is an excellent introduction to what promises to be an enjoyable series.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 13 August 2007
This was the first book that I read from Gallic Books. I am so glad that these publishers came into being because they allow top rated French novels to be translated and made available to people who's French may not be up to reading a full book in French.
It combines my 3 favourite aspects of an excellent read - crime, Paris and history.
I really got into the characters and found Victor to quite a hero. The descriptions of 19th century Paris are excellent and certainly add to the atmosphere of the book.
I can't wait for the next Victor Legris mystery to be available.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2013
This was the first in a series of "mysteries" with Victor Legris, a second-hand bookseller in late 19th century Paris. I won't be trying the others. The authors (sisters with a pen name)clearly have a detailed knowledge of late 19th century Paris, yet, for all that, they failed to transport my imagination to 1889. Maybe a second-hand bookseller wouldn't make for a private detective, but then Victor seemed much more interested in chasing the heroine than solving the case. A detective of some sort is pretty much essential in crime ficion and without one a book in the genre is going to have a problem. With no help from Monsieur Legris,the other characters, in a don't take us too seriously kind-of-way, struggled to keep the plot going. I couldn't take the plot, the supposed mystery, very seriously anyway. It was all a bit silly.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2012
I couldn't resist the book-cover but did not know what to expect. Paris is not my favourite place in the world but the two sisters that write under the pseudonym Claude Izner, really made an impression. Their knowledge of Parisian history in the 1880s and their knowledge of their city, makes it a wonderful read.
It's not the sort of mystery that you can figure out as you read along. A lot of information is withheld from you till the end. But it still makes it an exciting read. You try to figure out things whether you want to or not. The protagonist is a very likeable man in his late 20s, a book shop owner who loves his books, taking photos and who is getting weary of his latest mistress, a married woman by the name of Odette, who drags him around shopping for dresses and beauty articles.
Before the book starts really, an old man that supports himself by collecting what other people throw away, dies while he is watching Buffalo Bill, arriving at a train station, for the world fair in Paris 1889. His last thoughts are that he thinks he has been stung by a bee. A month passes before the book really starts. Victor Legris, our book shop owner, has been invited to the Eiffel tower to meet the staff from a newly formed newspaper. The owner want to persuade him to write literature articles. While in the tower, a woman with nothing in common with the old man at the train station, having been forced to take her sister's children to see the tower, dies, stung by a bee. Victim after victim dies in Paris or at the world fair, seemingly stung by bees. Victor gets suspicious though and starts looking in to things, partly because he has fallen head over heels in love with a girl at the newspaper, who acts like she could have been guilty of the murders. Victor very soon figures out that noone dies from a bee sting as quickly as the victims in the story do, which in turn leads him to start suspecting his stepfather, the Japanese co-owner of the shop, Kenji, of perhaps being the murderer. Victor does not want his new found love or his stepfather to be the murderer, so he must find out who it really is.
The end is a very surprising one but the book ends on a happy note. I ran to the library for the next in the series! The only annoying thing with this book, was the number of people working at the newspaper. It made it somewhat confusing when one couldn't keep them apart.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The Eiffel Tower has just been constructed and is the pride of the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889. But its glory is overshadowed by the death of a young woman, who was apparently stung by a bee and died as a result. A couple of similar deaths, centred around the exposition, cause people (especially in the newly founded sensationalist newspapers) to suspect murder.
The suspicious deaths are investigated by Victor Legris, a young bookseller, who is determined to find out what happened.
The novel is well written and easy to read. It contains interesting information about Paris in the 1880's and also a strong cast of characters. It doesn't quite have the psychological depth of some murder mysteries but is nevertheless very enjoyable.
Good beach reading. Recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2009
If you like light, quirky murder mysteries, then this one is a good bet. Like most books of the genre, it doesn't take itself seriously but then that's usually their major appeal. This particular book, however, also provides lots of historic colour and Gallic charm.
Set in Paris of the 1880's, I thought the location and the time (set during the Paris Exhibition) provided an interesting and lively backdrop for an adventure. Like all of these books, the crime and its perpetrator is not really the draw, it's the lead character and their exploits that keep you reading and I thought the hero, Victor Legris, and the cast of characters that surround him were engaging and surprisingly well written.
In all, it isn't great literature, but that's not what you buy these books for, but it is fun and kept me hooked from the first to the last.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2010
Just awful dull stuff! Yes there is some colourful detail about historical Paris BUT the characters are sketchy: unengaging and unconvinciing. The ending is silly and the motive of the killer totally ridiculous.
Dreadful ... Much as I wanted to discover a new series of mysteries to enjoy; I will not be bothering with Victor Legris!
on 11 November 2015
This is a quick read, historical thriller. The descriptions and atmosphere of Paris in that time period are well captured in this story. The characters, however, are not so well done. Victor Legris, a bookseller, is a typical Frenchman - loves his food, is dapper in appearance and obviously has a mistress! The hunt for the murderer, at times, seems incidental to the shenanigans occuring in his love life.
On occasion, the writing (or translation) feels rather clunky and contrived. I would say read it for the location, historical period and the atmosphere. Many thanks to the publisher for a ebook copy via netgalley.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2009
The only good point of this book is the period detail and local color; it does indeed give an interesting and enjoyable picture of Paris in the late 19th century.
However, that is pretty much its only merit, other than the fact that it is not actually badly written. To begin with, it can hardly be called a detective story, since the hero has only the most vague interest in solving the murders. The only reason he takes any kind of interest in them is because he suspects (on evidence that wouldn't hang a dog) his best friend and the woman he is in love with as the killer. The characters are rather two-dimensional and not particularly well drawn and the plot proceeds in such a leisurely pace that I once fell asleep while reading. The love interest, which takes up a lot of the book, is frankly unbelievable; the hero, a man of the world with a married mistress, falls madly in love with a young, independed artist. So far so good, but his passion for her is apparently so incapacitating that he behaves like a boorish teenager having his first crush. And the solution is completely unconvincing, as well as unsatisfactory; almost anyone else might have done the murders for more or less that same reasons!
on 4 November 2015
Set in 1889 Paris during the Exposition in the greatest time in France's history, this novel centres on multiple deaths by supposed bee stings.
Although I am interested in the history of France and especially La Belle Epoc I just couldn't get into this story.
The characters didn't hold my attention, maybe there were too many.
I'm sorry to say that I couldn't have cared less about the outcome.
I was given a digital copy of this novel by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review.