Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Hotel in Paris: a Minola Grey Mystery by Margot Justes

Originally reviewed for Front Page Reviews

Margot Justes’ debut is a lovely light read but a consuming read. I’m happy to learn this is the first of a series. I don’t have anything negative to say about this book. I enjoyed it right through from beginning to end. It opens with a murder on page one, and the story becomes a delightfully interwoven mystery and romance. The main character, Minola, is a passionate innocent, an artist of great talent and the story is told with detail only an artist would see. Although not mentioned in her bio, Margot Justes must be an artist, or at the very least has the eye of an artist or photographer, one thing is certain she has an eye for detail that brings everything to life and colour. I do not mean by this that the book is overloaded with detail, it is all very much a part of the flow. The detail is essential to the story, and also gives the reader the feeling they are involved somehow.

The romance flows through the book weaving in and out of the murder investigation, one genre playing out smoothly with the second genre. A fascinating blend and dealt with a light touch. As first in a proposed series (the second book is in progress), there are some well established characters, building from their early entry in the book to the final page. Other lesser characters add colour and interest to the story. The character of Minola is someone I would enjoy a cup of coffee with, and I would love to visit an art gallery with her. You can not help but feel attached to her and she seems to attract people with her personality and conviction. Peter, the Chief Inspector from Interpol, must consider Minola as a suspect, but also a witness as the person who was first on the scene of the murder. He must learn patience in his meetings with her and also learn to believe a person can be totally honest, not a trait he is used to. He is working on the case with the French police solely because the murder victim was already being investigated by Interpol for his international financial affairs.

I will be watching for the next episode in this series and look forward to it with pleasure. Thanks to Margot for an entertaining and suspenseful book. I recommend this book for its flow, research, interesting characters and a story that builds from start to finish.

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