I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
I love a book that defies genre labelling, and ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’, is a perfect example. Told in the first person from Nick’s perspective. He is an ‘Englishman in New York’ and totally captivated by everything he experiences and sees, at least in the beginning. His descriptions and emotions, as he lives in the city, evoke rich visual imagery in the reader’s mind, whether they have experienced New York , or not.
It is almost memoir like in quality, as he tells his story to his eager audience. An artist, he is drawn to one of his landladies works of art from Ancient Egypt. Given the mystic and legend that surrounds ancient Egyptian relics, it is not surprising that he covets it obsessionally, and here the story takes on a more sinister theme.
Romance with another beautiful artist , also dominates his thinking, what starts off as attraction, darkens and deepens .Here the story explores the power of attraction, and how it too can be an obsession.
Mystery and criminal intent fuse with hope and passion to provide a gripping and surprising tale set in a city everyone wants to love.
Excerpt From The Weighing OF the Heart – Chapter one – Paul Tudor Owen
Paul Tudor Owen was born in Manchester in 1978, and was educated at the University of Sheffield, the University of Pittsburgh, and the London School of Economics.
He began his career as a local newspaper reporter in north-west London, and currently works at the Guardian, where he spent three years as deputy head of US news at the paper’s New York office.
A rookie cop, a dash of mysterious death, and a heap of suspicion – as the heat rises, lethal tensions boil over in the Pyrenees.
Unappreciated, unnoticed, and passed over for promotion, thirty-year-old Danielle’s fledgling career in law enforcement is going nowhere – until the unexpected death of a hated Englishman turns her small town upside down.
Set in the idyllic south of France, Palm Trees in the Pyrenees is the first whodunit novel in Elly Grant’s thrilling murder mystery series. Against a background of prejudice, jealousy, and greed, Danielle pieces together the sparse clues of a fractured homicide. But will she find enough evidence to solve the case – and get the recognition she deserves?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Superficially, this story, the first book in the ‘Death In The Pyrenees’ series, seems like a cozy mystery, set in the South of France. It does have many of the attributes of a cozy read; multiple suspects, a dramatic murder, a small, close knit quirky community, but as the story progresses, the reader appreciates that the story is more than this.
The bullying, malicious gossip and prejudice, Danielle the town’s solitary police presence uncovers ,gives this story a strong noir element. Corruption, drugs and vice, are all themes alluded to, in this story, which is a hybrid between a murder mystery and a police procedural.
Written in the first person, from Danielle’s point of view, her compassion, dedication and naivety, help the reader to see what lies beneath, the friendly, safe ethos, the town projects. She is easy to like, and gives this story a unique perspective that engages the reader from the first page. There is a retro feeling to this story, where even though the problems are contemporary, the community and personal beliefs and motivations are not.
The plot is pacy, and the characters full of surprises. The mystery keeps most of its secrets until the final stages and the ending is well executed. An original murder mystery which keeps you reading happily until the last page.
Guest Post – Elly Grant – Palm Trees In The Pyrenees
When I first arrived in this region of the Eastern Pyrenees
I was mesmerised. I had never seen an area that moved me so much. The mountains
were magnificent, tree covered rocks with an impossible number of shades of
green and dotted about them were luminous patches of bright yellow Mimosa
giving the effect of a patchwork quilt. The sky was a deep turquoise and the
lack of pollution meant everything seemed clean and fresh as if the scene had
been newly painted. It was hard to believe that what I was seeing was real and
not just some beautiful dream I would wake from. Indeed, I was so enthralled, I
was frightened to leave the place, in case, ‘Brigadoon’ style, it would
disappear, not to be seen again for 100 years. Consequently, together with my
husband, Zach Abrams, and within a few days, we managed to locate and buy a
small, low-priced property to enjoy as a holiday home. After that, it took only
days before I had the idea of writing ‘Palm Trees in the Pyrenees’. As I walked
through the small town or sat sipping wine in the sunshine outside one of the several
cafes or bars, the story almost seemed to write itself. As I imagine is the
case in any small town, there was much that was different from anything I’d
experienced before. I observed the quirky way of life enjoyed by its
inhabitants, and the many, sometimes unusual, local events. Who would have
guessed that an artichoke festival would be so well attended? Not me, for sure.
Then there were the family feuds, the jealousies, the prejudices, the slight
mistrust of strangers. I sipped wine or drank coffee as my victims walked by,
totally unaware that I was about to kill them on paper.
Being a small town nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees, it came as no surprise to me that nobody seemed to speak English, and, having only a few words of French, meant that I had to learn the language quickly if I wanted to interact with local people. Consequently, the first people I had conversations with were the handful of ex-pats who lived in the area. But gradually, and with much effort on my part to integrate, I am now accepted as of the town, no longer merely a tourist, but not quite a local. Quite surprisingly, more and more of the locals will now speak to me in English if I have difficulty communicating in French. It seems that many of them do have the ability to converse in another language but choose not to do so with tourists. After all, they reason, it is the tourists who are the visitors and therefore it is they who should make the effort. The locals are not unfriendly, quite the reverse in fact; it is simply a matter of respect. And, as I’ve discovered, once you do gain their trust, they will go to great lengths to help or assist you.
After ‘Palm Trees in the Pyrenees’ was published, the
subsequent books of the series seemed to pour out of me. I felt I couldn’t
write them quickly enough. There was so much going on in my little town, so
many things to observe that writing was a joy. I suppose that may seem rather
strange considering I mostly write about crime, and not just any crime, but death
and murder, in fact. But I do feel that this series is not all doom and gloom.
My publisher calls these books ‘cosy crime’. I still kill people, but hopefully
there is enough charm in the story telling so as not to cause my readers
Hi, my name is Elly Grant
and I like to kill people. I use a variety of methods. Some I drop from a great
height, others I drown, but I’ve nothing against suffocation, poisoning or
simply battering a person to death. As long as it grabs my reader’s attention,
I’ve written several novels and short stories. My first novel, ‘Palm Trees in
the Pyrenees’ is set in a small town in France. It is the first book of my
‘Death in the Pyrenees series and they are all published by Creativia. The
others in the series are, ‘Grass Grows in the Pyrenees’, ’Red Light in the
Pyrenees’, ’Dead End in the Pyrenees’, ‘Deadly Degrees in the Pyrenees’ and
‘Hanging Around in the Pyrenees’. Creativia has also published my grittier
crime novels set in Glasgow, ‘The Unravelling of Thomas Malone’ and ‘The Coming
of the Lord’ as well as my thriller, ‘Death at Presley Park’. Also published are my Romance ‘Never Ever
Leave Me, as well as a collaboration on the quirky black comedy ‘But Billy
Can’t Fly’ and short stories called ‘Twists and Turns’.
As I live much of the year in a small French town in the Eastern Pyrenees, I
get inspiration from the way of life and the colourful characters I come
across. I don’t have to search very hard to find things to write about and
living in the most prolific wine producing region in France makes the task so
much more delightful.
When I first arrived in this region I was lulled by the gentle pace of life,
the friendliness of the people and the simple charm of the place. But dig below
the surface and, like people and places the world over, the truth begins to
emerge. Petty squabbles, prejudice, jealousy and greed are all there waiting to
be discovered. Oh, and what joy in that discovery. So, as I sit in a café, or
stroll by the riverside, or walk high into the mountains in the sunshine, I
greet everyone I meet with a smile and a ‘Bonjour’ and, being a friendly place,
they return the greeting. I people-watch as I sip my wine or when I go to buy
my baguette. I discover quirkiness and quaintness around every corner. I try to
imagine whether the subjects of my scrutiny are nice or nasty and, once I’ve
decided, some of those unsuspecting people, a very select few, I kill.
Perhaps you will visit my town one day. Perhaps you will sit near me in a café
or return my smile as I walk past you in the street. Perhaps you will hold my
interest for a while, and maybe, just maybe, you will be my next victim. But
don’t concern yourself too much, because, at least for the time being, I always
manage to confine my murderous ways to paper.
Read books from the ‘Death in the Pyrenees’ series, enter my small French town
and meet some of the people who live there —– and die there.
Alternatively read about life on some of the hardened streets of Glasgow or for
something different try my other books and short stories.
In a town full of secrets, the truth won’t stay buried…
When a girl’s body is discovered in a park in the sleepy Massachusetts town of Oakhurst, local detective Jo is shocked to the core. Because the girl is the second innocent victim to turn up dead in three days. And just like the first, a tarot card has been left by the body. The meaning of the card: betrayal.
After uncovering a series of threatening messages targeting the girl, a student at the university, and the first victim, her teacher, Jo thinks she’s locked the killer in her cross-hairs. The primary suspect is a volatile ex-military student with an axe to grind for failing grades, and the frightened town is out for his blood. But the next day, a much-loved member of the community is found dead in her home, a tarot card in her mail. There’s no clear motive to link her death to the others, and the message on the card this time is even stranger: domestic bliss.
With a fourth body and card appearing the following day, Jo knows she’s running out of time to crack the code and bring the killer to justice. And the pressure only gets worse with heart-breaking news about Jo’s father forcing her to choose between helping her family heal or the victims’ families get justice. Can Jo find the twisted murderer sending the town into a panic before another life is lost? Or this time, will the dangerous killer find her first?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Set in Massachusetts USA, this is a well-paced police procedural , featuring Detective Josette Fournier and her partner Bob Arnett. The second in the series, it reads perfectly as a standalone,with sufficient back story on the main protagonist, cleverly interwoven into the story as a subplot. Jo is a committed, career woman, with a tragic past that makes the job her life. She doesn’t have relationships, only occasional lovers, and the reasons for this become clearer as the story progresses. She has a tense relationship with her younger sister that is forced into focus, when their father has health issues. This causes her additional problems, as she is the middle of a murder case.
The noir murder mystery is told from the detective’s point of view, and also the antagonist’s. Even with this additional view point, because of the numerous suspects, it is difficult to pinpoint the culprit. The police procedural element of the story is authentic. The murders are shocking, but not unduly, there is just enough detail to illustrate how driven the murderer is.
Jo Fournier is a good character, she is complex, and her emotional damage makes her interesting, and easy to empathise. The mystery is well-plotted with lots of suspects, and clues, I did solve part, but not all of the mystery, which engages the reader. The characters are believable and easy to imagine, and I look forward to reading their next case.