Thursday, July 23, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner

Title: Murder on the Eiffel Tower
Author: Claude Izner
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Year: 2008
Reason for reading: Library Thing Early Reviewers

First line: "Wearing a tight new corset that creaked with every step, Eugenie Patinot walked down Avenue des Peupliers."

Murder on the Eiffel Tower is a historical mystery set in Paris 1889 and is the first in a series featuring Parisian bookseller, Victor Legris. The Eiffel Tower has just opened during the World Exposition, and Legris finds himself in the midst of a series of mysterious deaths apparently caused by bee stings. The four victims do not appear to be connected and the deaths seem random, but Legris is intrigued by the oddness of the deaths and decides to investigate. As he looks more deeply into the matter, it becomes obvious that there is a serial killer on the loose and, unfortunately, Legris suspects his business partner and closest friend. The plot weaves in and out of the rather atmospheric setting as Legris pursues the murderer.

The historical backdrop of the 1889 World Exposition and 19th century period detail were, to me, the star attractions of the book. I was particularly fascinated by descriptions of 19th century French architecture. Legris was annoyingly dense as he repeatedly missed obvious clues that would identify the serial killer, and the other characters were rather poorly developed and not terribly memorable (except for Joseph!). The book was translated from the French and the writing seemed stilted at times. Perhaps the translation had something to do with my lack of enthusiasm.

Murder on the Eiffel Tower was, overall, a quick and enjoyable read that will appeal to those interested in the setting, but I did not find it compelling enough to pursue the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Edited: In my haste I forgot to mention that the author, Claude Izner, is really the pen name of two sisters who are booksellers in Paris.

1 comment:

  1. I've not heard of this author but since it is translated from the French, there's a very high chance I haven't heard of him...