Death at the Château Bremont

There is a shelf in our local bookstore dedicated to books crossing numerous genres that have a connection with France, you will find nonfiction travelogues such as Sarah Turnbull’s ‘Almost French’ or David Sedaris’ vignettes in ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’, funny, true, yet never denigrating the country that has become like a second home to him. You will also find English translations of popular French authors like Jean Giono and Michel Houellebecq and novels set in France.

Death at the Château Bremont fits into latter, not only set in France, but here in Aix-en-Provence. I first became aware of the title thanks to a review by Lynne at Aixcentric, an excellent and informative blog I read regularly to know what’s happening in and around the area where I live.

Just yesterday I read that tonight is the annual Nuit des Musées when the town’s museums are free and open from 8pm until 1am. We love this annual late night out.

Not long after that mention, the book-club that I read along with nominated it as their May read and the author M.L.Longworth who lives here in Aix-en-Provence, was invited to join us. So, a fascinating insight into the gestation of this, first in the ‘Verlaque and Bonnet Mystery’ series, which follows the lives, dramas and intrigues of Judge Antoine Verlaque and Professor Marine Bonnet, his sometime amoureuse.

It’s a mystery and in order to keep the mystery alive, I will only reveal that Étienne de Bremont falls to his death from a Château window, an investigation is requested and after some drama involving clandestine affairs, jealous siblings, polo players, Russian millionaires and a New York suicide, all will slowly be revealed.

What makes Longworth’s mystery unique is the journey. It is far from dark and gory, realms she has no apparent appetite for, however she will take you on a gastronomic excursion through the towns, vineyards and countryside of the region, visiting suspects while piecing together the connections and clues to the lives of those involved in this conspiracy. So not just a book for aficionados of mystery’s, but one for food and wine lovers and anyone who has ever dreamed of living and working in a city of culture and gastronomy in the South of France.

M.L.Longworth with Claire McAlpine

No tourist visit, this literary journey is the real thing and so agreed the group of eight women who were present to discuss the book, all sharing their favourite parts, confirming the locations the book visits and even suggesting others for the third book, which the author is working on, all suggestions were gratefully received and noted.

M.L. Longworth’s second book in the series, ‘Murder in the Rue Dumas’ will be published on 25 September 2012.

35 thoughts on “Death at the Château Bremont

  1. I love books that take place in the city or area you live in, or that you know. There is one Belgium crime-writer whose stories are situated in Leuven, the city I live in, and I think I enjoy his books double as much because of that.


    • Funny that the last two books I have read have been set in places I know quite well, ‘Sister’ in a part of London I know and now ‘Death at the Château Bremont’. When its done well, it is indeed a wonderful experience.


  2. Sounds like an amazing book Claire and even better because you know the areas where it is set. Great that you got to meet and interact with the author too. Sounds like a night well spent! 🙂


    • I don’t usually search out mystery novels, though I recall when I was younger they were the library books with a red dot on the spine, because I used to choose them for my Grandmother who was a voracious reader – back then I didn’t know which colour dot was ‘my thing’, but this series is definitely one I intend to follow, it’s as if mystery has come of age, I even saw a reference on Goodreads recently to ‘cosy’ mystery and as one who can’t take horror or gore, this is a welcome diversion 🙂


      • No not at all. My next book club meeting is the 9th of June and were going to be discussing Unbroken. Yike! I’m not looking forward to ths one at all. WWII books depress the hell out of me. At the moment I’m reading very slowly and want to move on to some other reads. Trying to get through Mockingjay. 😦


  3. This author is obviously new to me but as I love mystery and love good food the chance to read both together means this is another for my what next list! Like you, I like books set in places I know well – one of the things I love most about the Rebus books are the references to Edinburgh pubs – many of which I know well! Best of all I love the fact that you got the chance to influence settings for future books. Enjoy museum night!


  4. I ‘ll have to pass on this one. Just as didibooksenglish said, not my genre. I like facts, the more the better ( Team of Rivals) . I’m a biography ( Eden’s Outcasts) and current events ( Enemies the History of the FBI) news junkie and don’t really have the inclination to find out who killed Professor Plumb in the library with the candlestick. To each their own….


  5. I’m not particularly a mystery fan but find myself with one in hand de temps en temps … and you know me, if the story is set in the south of France I want to read it! Sounds quite delicious, thanks.


    • Every time I have heard an author speak about their book, or a poet share a little something before reading their poetry, it never fails to add something to the subsequent reading experience, something positive definitely!


  6. I was totally bummed to not be able to take advantage of free museum night. It happened to be raining really hard at our house with a touch of lightening and so we elected not to go out. Hopefully, next year. I hope you had a great time!


  7. Nice post, Claire! And now I see you live in beautiful Aix.. and I’ll be very interested to read the descriptions of a region I love in this book. I don’t read many mysteries, but one set in Provence could attract me to the genre.

    I love European Museum Night – especially that it’s observed across all of Europe. We have this in Rome, too. I was in Bosnia and Serbia over the weekend and was surprised to see that they celebrate it also. A great cultural initiative! Now they just need a Europe-wide literature event…


  8. That’s cool. I used to read a Versatile Blogger award and I am passing that along to you and other deserving bloggers. There will be a link to you in my next Wednesday Woo-Hoo post. If you’ve already received the award previously, just bask in the sun and enjoy being recognized ;0)


    • I understand completely, I love cross cultural fiction and remember when I was travelling in Vietnam finding and reading two wonderful books by local authors which taught me just as much and perhaps even more than what I observed just by being there.


  9. When we travel, we always bring a read-aloud book that is set in the area where we are traveling. This sounds like a great read. How cool to get to have the author come to your book club meeting!


    • That’s great, I love the idea of reading as we travel, I remember reading two wonderful books by local authors when I travelled in Vietnam and believe I learnt as much from this experience as from my observations in being there.

      I am enjoying following freelance writer Ann Morgan’s excellent blog ‘A Year of Reading the World’ she is attempting to read a book from every country.


  10. Claire I just found your site, and I can tell I’m going to be here for a while. 🙂 In addition to the authors you mention in this post, can you recommend other popular French authors who might not be as well known yet in the US?


    • Thank you for visiting and good question regarding popular French authors, I really don’t know who is known in the US, but I like to read Muze a cultural and literature magazine to find out which writers, artists, filmmakers they are interviewing.

      Recent names that come to mind are Amélie Nothomb, Muriel Barbery Emmanuel Carrère, probably my favourite of whom I’ve reviewed 2 books here is Irène Némirovsky.

      There is a very interesting podcast on contemporary French literature at the Salon de Livres in Paris late last year, a really interesting discussion, have a listen. Very interesting spotlight on Stéfane Hessel, a 93 year old whose recent publication ‘Indignez Vous’ was a sensation, selling millions of copies across all generations.


  11. This sounds like a really good read. Novels which combine a good story with another element, something the author knows and loves and can share through a love of words, are always worth reading!


  12. Pingback: Death in the Vines | Word by Word

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