A vacation in Provence turns deadly.
Jordan Mayfair is a widow, an architect and the mother of five. Foreseeing an empty nest, she’s delighted to accompany her uncle Alexander Carlyle, who writes travel books, to Provence for a long-delayed vacation. Things go wrong from the start when Alex misplaces his passport and they miss their direct flight to Paris. Rushing off the commuter train in Brussels, Jordan forgets her suitcase, and when she goes back for it, the man in the compartment ignores her as the train pulls out. In Paris, they have dinner with Felicity, Jordan’s sorority sister, and Barry Blake, a Nashville entrepreneur. Jordan disconcertingly glimpses the same cowboy on the street she’d seen at the train station. The next day, he’s killed in a hit-and-run. After a shopping trip to replenish her wardrobe, Jordan and Alex take the train to the lovely town of Fontvieille and check into L’hôtel du Soleil. They enjoy the historical sites, stunning countryside and delightful meals, but Jordan’s luggage is ransacked, and she’s blindsided when Felicity and Barry suddenly arrive in town. Barry’s soon shot dead in his hotel room, pictures are stolen from a local museum, and Jordan suspects she’s being followed. Her chance meeting with Paul Broussard, the wealthy, handsome patron of the museum, carries her off to a romantic dinner in Paris, but now she’s uncertain whom she can trust. Jordan finally learns from her daughter’s boyfriend, who worked for Barry, that Barry asked him to slip something utterly unexpected into her missing luggage. Now Jordan knows why she’s being followed, but only a sleuthing American lady she befriends at the hotel stands between her and terrible danger.
Gobbell’s debut, first in a planned series, combines mystery, informative travelogue and enjoyable characters with just a few too many red herrings.