Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book review of The Frenchman by Lise McClendon

French Village Diaries book review The Frenchman by Lise McClendon #FranceBT
The Frenchman by Lise McClendon
on tour September 8 to 21
(mystery) Release date: September 8, 2017 at Thalia Press 278 pages


In this 5th installment of the Bennett Sisters Mysteries (beginning with Blackbird Fly), attorney Merle Bennett goes to France for an extended stay to drink in the essence of "la France Profonde" and write her own novel. But the countryside is not as tranquil as she hoped. A missing Frenchman, a sinister one, an elderly one, a thieving one, and a vandalizing one: all conspire to turn Merle's sojourn of reflection into a nightmare of worry. Where is Pascal, her French boyfriend? Who is the man with the terrible scar? Why is someone spray-painting her little stone house in the Dordogne? And will her novel about the French Revolution  (snippets of which are included) give her a soupçon of delight or a frisson of danger?
Works fine as a stand-alone


I read Blackbird Fly, book one in the Bennett Sisters Mysteries series, in 2014 and have been a bit of a fan since then so it was great to back in France with Merle Bennett, and once I started this book, it just got better and better.

Merle has arranged her life and work in New York to enable an extended period of time to be at her house in the Dordogne, hoping to attack her house ‘to-do’ list as well as have time to start writing her novel and catch up with her sexy French detective Pascal. However, things don’t go to plan as one by one people and situations crop up that demand her time, attention and inquisitive mind.

Merle is independent, but gives herself 100% to help others too. She finds herself coping with vandalism, building work, a strange request from a local goat farmer’s daughter and the uncertainty of her relationship with Pascal. As with all the books there is a great sense of family and despite Pascal’s mysterious absence Merle is never alone, as her sisters are always there for each other.

There are lots of plots running alongside each other, including Merle’s story, Pascal’s story, where we get a look behind the scenes of some of the best known wine areas in France and Odette’s story, the girl in the novel Merle is writing that is set in the French Revolution. I liked this. It kept my interest as each time one story began to peak, Lise switched us to the next one, which always left me wanting more, right to the end where everything was nicely sewn up.

This is a great mystery, set among the vineyards of France and pretty golden coloured villages of the Dordogne, perfect for a late summer getaway.


French Village Diaries book review The Frenchman by Lise McClendon #FranceBT
Lise McClendon is the author of fifteen novels of mystery, suspense, and general mayhem plus short stories. Her bestselling Bennett Sisters mystery series began with "Blackbird Fly". She also writes thrillers as Rory Tate, the latest of which is "PLAN X." Her short story is included in this fall's noir anthology, "The Obama Inheritance." She lives in Montana.
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You can read my review of Blackbird Fly here and The Girl in the Empty Dress here.


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