When the bodies of five men are discovered in a secret vault at the villa Belle Époque, suspicion falls upon the villa’s former owner, enigmatic Pascal Deveraux.
Actor, gambler, general good-for-nothing – Pascal has lived a life of privilege and excess. But with no evidence to implicate him in murder, the case goes unsolved.
Called in to investigate the cold case, it’s not long before Margot’s enquiries re-open old wounds.
Aided by policière municipale, Alia Leon, the investigation moves swiftly from the smugglers’ trails of the Pyrenees to the cannabis clubs of Barcelona. And it’s there, in the dark medieval streets of the city’s Gothic Quarter, that someone finds a reason to silence her.
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Rachel Green is the pen name of a writer from the UK. Rachel has twice been longlisted for both the Bath Novel Award and the BPA First Novel Award, as well as being on the shortlist for the Capital Crime New Voices Award. Rachel lives in a tiny village in England, but travels frequently
to the south of France where the stories from the Madame Renard Investigates series are set.
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My thoughts: this was very enjoyable, I like Margot, and I liked Alia, I hope she appears in another book in this series. Investigating a strange cold case leads the two women into the odd lives of the Deveraux siblings, the creepy Pascal and his strange sister. Pascal likes to play perverse and disturbing games with people and immediately Margot has her suspicions of him. When Alia remembers seeing a man matching the remains of one of the victims, they’re set on a trail that will lead beyond the village’s borders and across the mountains into Barcelona.
Margot is an intelligent, resourceful investigator – for all that her late husband was the police officer, she has the right instincts for detective work. The remote villa and the tragic and disturbed family are ripe for investigating. Working with Alia, who really deserves a lot of the credit, means she has back up when things go wrong.
Set against the backdrop of a hot summer in the south of France, and the descriptions of all the delicious food Alia’s father, Didier, provides, gives an intense juxtaposition to the dark deeds and the sinister bunker where the remains were found. Twisted, gripping and intelligent crime writing.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.