Death in the Vines
By M. L. Longworth
Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143122449, 289pp.
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
List Price: $15.00*
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A crime wave jolts Aix-en-Provence in the third delightful Verlaque and Bonnet mystery Fans of Donna Leon and Andrea Camilleri, mystery lovers, Francophiles, and foodies will adore this who-done-it with a beautiful European setting. In her riveting follow-up to Death at the Chateau Bremont and Murder in the Rue Dumas, M. L. Longworth evokes the sights and sounds of late-summer Provence, where the mistral blows and death comes in the most unexpected places. Olivier Bonnard, the owner of Domaine Beauclaire winery, is devastated when he discovers the theft of a priceless cache of rare vintages. Soon after, Monsieur Gilles d’Arras reports that his wife, Pauline, has vanished from their lavish apartment. As Judge Antoine Verlaque and Commissioner Paulik tackle the case (with a little help from Marine Bonnet), they receive an urgent call: Bonnard has just found Madame d’Arras—dead in his vineyard.
“Judge Antoine Verlaque, the sleuth in this civilized series, discharges his professional duties with discretion. But we’re here to taste the wines, which are discussed by experts like Hippolyte Thebaud, a former wine thief, and served in beautiful settings like a 300-year-old stone farmhouse. So many bottles, so many lovely views. A reader might be forgiven for feeling woozy.” – Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
“Though the plot is hair-raising, what keeps you glued to this mystery is its vivid portrait of everyday life in Aix, which deftly juxtaposes the elegance of the city…with quotidian woes and pleasures.” – Oprah.com
“What follows is a lovely, almost cozy police procedural that deserves to be read with a glass of wine in hand. Longworth paints such a loving picture of Provence that it's likely you'll start planning a vacation trip to France the moment you set the book down.” – The Denver Post
“As much as the mystery intrigues-in this case some intertwined crimes involving a local winery, a missing elderly woman, and a rich man's suspicious construction project-what really makes Longworth's books enjoyable are the atmosphere and details that she includes of the South of France.” – The Seattle Post Intelligencer
“This is an intelligently written police procedural with the warm comfort of a baguette with banon cheese.” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
“Enjoyable… the book’s real strength is its evocation of place.” – Publisher’s Weekly
Praise for Murder in the Rue Dumas
“Murder in the Rue Dumas is even more spectacular than her first novel, which is no small feat. The pacing is perfect, the characters delightful,
and the setting so real it's impossible not to think you can reach out and touch it. Do not miss this book!’ – Tasha Alexander, author of the Lady Emily series
“As intricate as the mystery is, what provides the most pleasure in reading Murder in the Rue Dumas is Longworth’s description of Verlaque and Bonet’s daily lives… one can practically smell the freshly-baked croissants.” – Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Fans of European sleuths with a taste for good food … will have fun.” – Publisher's Weekly
“What really makes Longforth’s writing special is her deep knowledge of French history, landscape, cuisine, and even contemporary cafes and restaurants. This is that rare atmospheric mystery that is street-wise and café-canny.” – Booklist (starred review)
“Longworth’s gentle procedural succeeds on several levels, whether it’s for academic and literary allusions, police work, or armchair travel. With deftly shifting points of view, Longworth creates a beguiling read that will appeal to Louise Penny and Donna Leon fans.” – Library Journal
“French-set mysteries have never been more popular [and] among the very best is a series set in Provence featuring Monsieur Verlaque, an examining magistrate, and his sometime girlfriend, law professor Marine Bonnet.” – The Denver Post
Praise For Death at the Chateau Bremont
"This first novel in a projected series has charm, wit, and Aix-en- Provence all going for it. Longworth's voice is like a rich vintage of sparkling Dorothy Sayers and grounded Donna Leon...Longworth has lived in Aix since 1997, and her knowledge of the region is apparent on every page. Bon appétit."— Booklist
..A promising debut for Longworth, who shows there's more to France than Paris and more to mystery than Maigret."— Kirkus
"Your readers will eat this one up."— Library Journal
"Death at Chateau Bremont is replete with romance, mystery, and a rich atmosphere that makes the south of France spring off the page in a manner reminiscent of Donna Leon's Venice. A wonderful start to a series sure to gain a legion of fans." — Tasha Alexander
"Mystery and romance served up with a hearty dose of French cuisine. I relished every word. Longworth does for Aix-en-Provence what Frances Mayes does for Tuscany: You want to be there-NOW!" — Babara Fairchild, former editor-in-chief, Bon Appetit magazine
"Longworth has a good eye and a sharp wit, and this introduction to Verlaque and Bonnet holds promise for a terrific series." — Globe and Mail