An English expatriate in France continues her affinity for murder.
As winter approaches, Penelope Kite is glorying in her new life in Provence. More of Le Chant d’Eau is habitable, with fresh plaster, new wiring, and no further corpses in the pool (Death in Provence, 2019). The owners of the bakery in the village of St. Merlot look forward to her croissant purchases, she’s brave enough to host lunch for four of her neighbors, and she’s invited to play cello in a musical group in nearby Roussillon. Realtor Clémence Valencourt continues to visit Penny frequently even though their professional relationship is long over. She’s invited to dinner by St. Merlot’s handsome mayor, Laurent Millais, although no calories had been consumed during either of their earlier rendezvous. And equally dashing Gilles de Bourdan, owner of a small art gallery in nearby Avignon, is so charmed by Penny that he invites her on an overnight trip to visit his larger gallery in Nice. Perhaps the crowning achievement in Penny’s francification is her invitation to the opening of Nicholas Versanne’s exhibition at de Bourdan’s Avignon location. But the death of a fellow exhibitor, retired British barrister Roland Galbraith Doncaster, who keels over during the opening and expires in the hospital several days later, threatens Penelope’s place in Provencal society. As her suspicions grow, her new French friends seem to turn against her, and it takes the arrival of her childhood pal Frankie to right the ship. Even after the big reveal that prompts Penelope to unmask the killer, it takes quite a while for all the complications to unravel at a typical, leisurely Luberon Valley pace.
Spending more time in Kent’s heroine’s company is almost worth all the peregrinations. Almost.