The French Widow by Mark Pryor (Review by Lisa Albright)

2 min read

Rating: 5 stars

This was a new author to me so I hadn’t read any of the previous Hugo Marston books, but that is about to change. I thoroughly enjoyed this murder mystery and it reminded me of so many detective stories, TV shows, and movies that I’ve seen over the years, but yet there was something very original about it as well. Hugo Marston became an amalgamation of Columbo and Matlock’s style of solving mysteries, Sherlock Holmes and James Bond’s romantic style with his lover, and the typical wild card investigator with the French police and his embassy superiors. The book had a bit of a Crossing Lines feel to it and I loved seeing so many of my favorite elements, but feeling like this was fresh and new at the same time.

The author’s writing style is captivating and he keeps the pace moving so you feel like everything is important in some way whether it’s a real clue or a red herring. There were plenty of both and I had so much fun trying to figure it out. The short chapters made it a quick read and had me saying just one more the whole way through. He wrapped the story up nice and tight, but left us excited for the next book with a hint of the adventure to come.
I loved that the author included characters that are struggling with real world biases and gave them a voice. He handled the issues with sensitivity and acknowledged their existence while keeping the story focused on its main point. Well done and thank you.

Paris is a great city and one that I would love to visit someday so the setting was such a treat. I found the idea of an old mansion being opened to friends for a party once a year intriguing and the creepy inhabitants just the right blend of eccentric and refined. Colonel Mustard in the billiards room with the candlestick anyone? Clue will always be my favorite board game and Gothic houses in murder mysteries always take me there.

This book has so many nods to everything I love about detective stories that I felt at home immediately and I can’t quite believe that I didn’t know about this fantastic author before now. Thank you for the introduction and I can’t wait to read all of the Hugo Marston books. I’m definitely a fan and I give this book five stars.

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