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A NoŽl Killing: A ProvenÁal Mystery    by M.L. Longworth order for
NoŽl Killing
by M.L. Longworth
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2019 (2019)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

M. L. Longworth's A NoŽl Killing is the eighth in her ProvenÁal mystery series starring examining magistrate Antoine Verlaque and his wife, Marine Bonnet, in Aix-en-Provence, France. Having missed the previous episodes, I found it a little hard to figure out what was going on in this one, so would definitely recommend reading the series in order.

It's Christmastime in Aix-en-Provence, not Verlaque's favorite time of year. Marine hopes to change that, starting with their participation in carol singing at the Cathedral Saint Sauveur, followed by food provided by Christmas fair vendors from Aix's sister cities. Unfortunately, the occasion is marred by the death of American Cole Hainsby.

Verlaque finds quite a range of suspects in Hainsby's poisoning. He was 'a train wreck waiting to happen.' The man's wife was having an affair. His partner feared for his own life after Hainsby took on a large loan from very shady characters, funds they could not repay. Verlaque also uncovers suspicious doings at a bilingual private school for expats' children. Then there's a shooting.

A very ordinary, very observant, mousy young woman, France Dubois, provides the key to solving the crimes. She also has a surprising connection to the murdered man. And Marine comes up with her own surprise for Verlaque. If you enjoy a police procedural in an exotic setting (with mouthwatering descriptions of edibles) then dive into this engaging series.

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