Two more Victor Legris novels!

I am proud of myself! Finally I have reviewed all the Victor Legris mysteries that I have read so far. I am trying to get T. to read them too. They are what we in our household call “cozy murders”, after Minette Walters’ mother complained to her daughter and said “why can’t you write cozy murders instead?” and her daughter asked her, how a murder can be cozy. Her mother answered “oh you know, someone being smothered with a pillow or something!”. I have always found their conversation funny! I agree, a murder is a terrible thing but I guess it can be bloody and described in a gruesome way, or just mentioned in a story as sort of a by-the-way-thing. Victor Legris is more of a puzzle than anything else:

I couldn’t resist the book-cover but did not know what to expect. Paris is not my favourite place in the world but the two sisters that write under the pseudonym Claude Izner, really made an impression. Their knowledge of Parisian history in the 1880s and their knowledge of their city, makes it a wonderful read.

It’s not the sort of mystery that you can figure out as you read along. A lot of information is withheld from you till the end. But it still makes it an exciting read. You try to figure out things whether you want to or not. The protagonist is a very likeable man in his late 20s, a book shop owner who loves his books, taking photos and who is getting weary of his latest mistress, a married woman by the name of Odette, who drags him around shopping for dresses and beauty articles.

Before the book starts really, an old man that supports himself by collecting what other people throw away, dies while he is watching Buffalo Bill, arriving at a train station, for the world fair in Paris 1889. His last thoughts are that he thinks he has been stung by a bee. A month passes before the book really starts. Victor Legris, our book shop owner, has been invited to the Eiffel tower to meet the staff from a newly formed newspaper. The owner will persuade him to write literature articles. While in the tower, a  woman with nothing in common with the old man at the train station, having been forced to take her sister’s children to see the tower, dies, stung by a bee. Victim after victim dies in Paris or at the world fair, seemingly stung by bees. Victor gets suspicious though and starts looking in to things, partly because he has fallen head over heels in love with a girl at the newspaper, who acts like she could have been guilty of the murders.  Victor very soon figures out that noone dies from a bee sting as quickly as the victims in the story do, which in turn leads him to start suspecting his stepfather, the Japanese co-owner of the shop, Kenji, of perhaps being the murderer. Victor does not want his new found love or his stepfather to be the murderer, so he must find out who it really is.

The end is a very surprising one but the book ends on a happy note. I ran to the library for the next in the series! The only annoying thing with this book, was the number of people working at the newspaper. It made it somewhat confusing when one couldn’t keep them apart.

A young girl by the name Elisa Fourchon, at Bontemp’s boarding school for young girls, has got a young admirer that she knows nothing about. Only 17 years old, she lets him lead her astray and the reader realizes that this man has some sort of sinister motive for what he is doing. He has been paid to deliver her…

It’s three years since we first got acquainted with bookshop owner Victor Legris, amateur sleuth and photographer, who lives above his shop, with his foster father Kenji Mori. In book one, set in 1889, he started a relationship with Russian painter Tasha. And in many ways, their story is one of the reasons why I continue to read these books. One wants to find out if Victor will ever be able to make an honourable woman out of her, if he will finally trust that she has noone else, and if they will get to share more than each others bodies on a daily basis. In this book, Victor, is showing greater impatience with the situation. She refuses to marry him or live with him. So he moves out of the bookshop flat, so he can live in a flat of his own across her courtyard at least. But he is starting to look at small children and wish for his own. And he is realizing at the end of the book that their relationship has not developed at all in three years. So who knows where that story will go.

Another story continuing from book two, is that of Kenji Mori and his so-called god-daughter Iris. One day, a man who keeps goats and sells their milk for medicinal purposes, delivers a red shoe to the bookshop. It makes Kenji rush out in a hurry and when the hired help, Joseph, tells Victor of the address that Kenji shouted out, Victor goes to investigate. Not only does he find a girls’ boarding school and Iris, but both him and the reader suspect that she is Kenji’s daughter with Victor’s mother. She had loaned the shoe to a friend, Elisa Fourchon, and when Elisa is found dead, Iris is moved  to the bookshop flat for safety.

As usual, a serial killer, is on the loose. The theme for this book is scorned love. And the setting is Moulin Rouge and Chat Noir and other night entertainments. And of course, in the usual manner, the identity of the killer surprises you at the end. You can not read the end from the beginning, like I usually do, which is a great bonus. I have come to love the two authors’ writing style and am already one chapter in to the next book to see what happens to Victor and Tasha…

I wish I could recommend these books to my mum because the way she USED to be, I am sure she would have loved them. But now when she is just giving all books away, it doesn’t feel like their is a point. Does she even know what she is reading?

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