A pair of middle-aged Parisian expatriates investigate a death everyone thinks is accidental.
Ever since coming to Paris as a dewy-eyed 20-something, Rachel Levis has loved everything about the city. So she’s decided never to leave. Her first lover, wealthy American banker Edgar Bowen, taught her how to navigate the city like a Parisian. Now that she’s married to a slightly less wealthy banker, Alan Field, she spends her days pleasantly at the Jardin du Luxembourg rather than the more touristy Jardin des Tuileries and enjoys oeufs en cocotte at Le Chant de Voyelles, her local bistro. But hearing that Edgar died suddenly, and even worse, that he drowned at his own table in a bowl of vichyssoise, rocks her comfortable world. Sophisticated Edgar would never have submitted to such an indignity. And when she learns that on the table where he died was a bottle of rosé, ca suffit! Never, never would Edgar have allowed such an abomination at his dinner table. Rachel shares her suspicions with fellow American Magda Stevens, who agrees that they must investigate. Like Holmes and Watson, like Brunetti and Vianello, like Nick and Nora Charles, they will not rest until justice is done. And Rachel’s appointment in Edgar’s will as cataloger of his vast library gives her the perfect opportunity to snoop—starting with Edgar’s other beneficiaries.
With a tepid mystery, no real clues, and only a superficial stab at local color, Bernhard’s Paris debut is more Carolyn Keene than Cara Black.