Swiss Vendetta

Following her husband's death, Inspector Agnes Lüthi has transferred from financial crimes to the new violent crimes unit being established in Lausanne, Switzerland. She wants a fresh start, but she discovers she's not quite ready to deal with death face-to-face again when she's called out to her first case.

A terrible ice storm is raging on Lac Léman when a young woman, Felicity Cowell, is found stabbed to death at a huge lakeside chateau. Agnes makes a literally smashing arrival as her car slides down the steep icy hill leading there. Trapped by the ice and the fallen trees, unable to contact their superiors because power and cell phone service are out, Agnes and a fellow officer are forced to stay in the candlelit chateau with the aristocratic Vallotton family, one of whom is probably the murderer. But why would any of the Vallottons want Felicity, an appraiser for a London auction house, dead? Did she discover a dark secret in the Vallotton art collection? Or could one of the servants have been involved?

A modern police procedural and yet reminiscent of Mary Stewart's gothic writing, Swiss Vendetta is an appealing first novel by Tracee de Hahn. The vivid, frigid location makes for an appropriately cold setting to a brutal murder. And Agnes's struggles to stay on task despite her own still-fresh grief make her an eminently likable heroine. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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