Thursday, July 05, 2012

A Review of Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner

We begin with a newsclip about a rag and bone man dying of apparant bee sting in this novel set in 1889 Paris with the World Exposition that is featuring the brand new Eiffel Tower. This novel is translated from the French and is written by Claude Izner the pseudonym of two Paris booksellers and experts on 19th century Paris. Claude Izner is Liliane Korb and Laurence Lefevre. This mystery is the first in what is to be a series of mystery novels featuring Victor Legris.

At the exposition and on the tower a Eugenie Patinot is excorting her sister's children. She sits down on a bench only to feel a pain in her neck and dies. The apparant cause of death is a bee sting. It is during this time we meet the staff of a small newspaper Le Passe-partout. We also meet Victor Legris and Kenji Mori coowners of the Elzevir Bookstore which is the central hub of this mystery.

Two have died of bee stings when a third victim, John Cavendish, is found dead. This makes Victor Legris suspicious of his partner Kenji Mori. There is some evidence that ties Mori to Cavendish. During his investigation he discovers that the two have a past history in Southeast Asia. Also circumstantial evidence begin to point to the illustrator Tasha Kherson of the Le Passe-partout. Tasha presents a problem for Victor as he has fallen for her. Along the way Victor reads up on poisons and suspects that the real cause of death is curare.

Then there is the death by apparant bee sting of a Russian Constantin Ostrovski. The deaths all look totally random with little to connect them. What do they have in common? Kenji's whereabouts have been established and it couldn't have been him. There even are doubts that it was Tasha who could have committed the crimes.

The book was an enjoyable mystery though for me it was a slow read in a couple of places but with a little effort I got by those points in the story and continued on. If you are looking for a "cozy" mystery I would likely suggest this one. I haven't read any of the others in this series of Victor Legris mysteries and would likely read them if opportunity permitted. I went along with Victor in his interpretation of evidence and facts and was a little surprised at who did commit the crimes and why.

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