Everyone in the town of Aix-en-Provence thinks it's odd when Étienne de Bremont, a local nobleman known for his athletic abilities, falls to his death from a window in his château. Judge Antoine Verlaque is suspicious--perhaps Bremont was pushed. There is no physical evidence, but le juge enlists the help of his ex-girlfriend, a childhood friend of Étienne, as he probes into the secrets of his life. The château caretaker? The grieving widow? The playboy younger brother? The list of suspects seems to keep growing, even as others try to convince Verlaque that it was simply an accident.
The star of this first Verlaque & Bonnet mystery, Antoine Verlaque is a wealthy cigar connoisseur with an eye for beautiful women, as well as a powerful judge with a few secrets in his own past. His ex-girlfriend, the lovely law professor Marine Bonnet, is trying to move on from their failed relationship, and yet she cannot quite resist the seductive charm of the elusive Verlaque. The dialogue is occasionally slightly stilted, but you can't help but root for Marine and Verlaque to both solve the crime and fix their relationship as they dash about the south of France in their attempts to discover the answers to their questions.
Author M.L. Longworth has lived in the south of France since 1997, has written essays and articles about the region and teaches writing at N.Y.U. in Paris. She brings her extensive knowledge of the area to Death at the Château Bremont, her engaging first novel. --Jessica Howard, bookseller, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange