Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lazy Sunday in France with author Serena Kent

French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Death in Provence by Serena Kent
Welcome to another #LazySundayinFrance and today I am delighted to have author Serena Kent giving us a little bit more from her Death in Provence character Penelope Kite. You can read my review of Death in Provence, that is available in ebook and paperback format, here.

PENELOPE KITE’S LAZY SUNDAY
By Serena Kent, author of cozy mystery Death in Provence
Our accidental sleuth Penelope Kite loves Sunday mornings in Provence. Even though she no longer works nine-to-five as assistant to an eminent forensic pathologist, she still savours that delicious Sunday feeling of waking with no pressing need to leave a soft bed when the sun slants through the open shutters. No family to prepare lunch for, no housework, just lovely croissants for breakfast on the sunny terrace of Le Chant d’Eau, her recklessly purchased old farmhouse with views of the Luberon valley.
Cello practice (what bliss to be able to play again, letting the notes rise into the open air, disturbing no one) is followed by a quick swim in the pool. The pool looks glorious in the walled garden now, with lavender lining the walls and four sentinel cypress trees. Fortunately, there is no dead body floating in it today. 
The sun is already hot as she prepares to go out tat-hunting at a classic Provençal brocante. Penelope loves nothing more than wandering around stalls which are selling everything from dented old oil lamps to chests of drawers, spotting pieces to up-cycle. In mid-August there is always an especially fine brocante at Beaumettes. She arrives to find crowds, streets lined with vendors and a great deal of temptation. A glass of rosé perhaps, to get in the mood? Probably shouldn’t. Don’t want to wander round half cut and buy too much rubbish.
In the end, Penelope manages to resist the battered old tuba – she has a vision of hanging it from a tree as a curio in a surreal garden she could create – and comes away with two large lanterns and a set of colourful bowls, all for…well, slightly more than she anticipated paying. 
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Bonnieux ©SerenaKent2018
And then it’s lunchtime! The glorious hilltop village of Bonnieux is on her way back, so it makes sense to stop there. She’s on her own, but this has never bothered Penelope. Back in England, before her divorce, the family took her for granted dreadfully; now she positively relishes having time to herself. Besides, she has new friends arriving at home in St Merlot later for an apéro.
At Bonnieux the landscape is all orchards and olives and vineyards and the blue Ventoux hills opposite. From the top, Penelope always looks out towards the neighbouring village of Lacoste, where the ruins of the Marquis de Sade’s castle once stood in jagged mockery of Bonnieux’s proud churches. There’s a little bar-café she knows with friendly service and beautiful views. 
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Chateau de Mille ©SerenaKent2018
On the way back, after a delicious goats cheese and fig salad and a single glass of her favourite pale rosé, she takes the Route de Bonnieux to the Château de Mille, the oldest winery in the Luberon – it is mentioned in archives in Avignon in 1238. It opens at 2pm on a summer Sunday, and Penelope knows exactly what she wants: a case of their Rosé de Léo. 
A few lazy hours in the garden beckon, with a book and a good strong cup of British tea. Then, at 5.30pm it’s time to make some canapés – tapenade and caviar d’aubergines on thin, toasted slices of stale baguette – to have with chilled glasses of the rosé. Her great friend and sleuthing companion, the glamorous Clémence Valencourt will be arriving shortly. It is easy to tell when she arrives, as the red mini she drives at high speed sprays gravel all down the track, and the clickety-click of her high heels on the stone flags is instantly recognisable. She is still without her mysterious husband who seems to spend a lot of time in Paris. But that doesn’t bother her. It is odd how she and Laurent Millais, the drop-dead gorgeous Mayor of St Merlot, always seem to arrive together on Sundays. But maybe Penelope’s being over suspicious.
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Lavender fields in Provence ©SerenaKent2018
In the end, Clémence and Laurent arrive separately but within minutes of each other. A jolly interlude of high-quality local gossip ensues, as they sit on the terrace. The heavenly aroma of lavender wafts from the fields owned by Penelope’s neighbour. 
Later that evening, alone again, Penelope puts a recording of Fauré’s Nocturnes on the CD player and gazes out over her French domaine, feeling glad she has dared to make a new life for herself here, wondering what tomorrow will bring – so long as it’s not another dead body.  
©SerenaKent2018
Death in Provence is out now in ebook format and paperback. Links to Amazon can be found below.
French Village Diaries #LazySundayinFrance Death in Provence Serena Kent
Serena Kent ©SerenaKent2018
Serena Kent is the author name of husband and wife writing duo, Deborah Lawrenson and Robert Rees. You can read more about Serena at her website here and follow her posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.