Death in Avignon by Serena Kent / Blog Tour

Death in Avignon by Serena Kent

 

cover164946-mediumPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

Series: Penelope Kite Mysteries #2 (review of Book 1 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Return to the warmth of Provence for the next delightful Penelope Kite mystery…

When Penelope Kite attends the opening of an art exhibition on the arm of the gorgeous Mayor of St Merlot, Laurent Millias, it seems she is finally settling into life in Provence. But beneath the glamour, trouble is lurking. Shockwaves ripple when British expat artist, Roland Doncaster, collapses after choking on an olive.

A tragic accident? Or was he poisoned? Penelope is thrust once again into the middle of a murder investigation, but when she casts suspicion on one of the Mayor’s friends, she finds herself out in the cold.

As winter draws in, Penelope must rely on the friendship of her local music group – including the dashing art dealer, Gilles de Bourdan – the support of the effervescent Frankie, and her own sleuthing instincts to untangle this mystery…

Rating: four-stars

 

Penelope Kite enjoys her decision of leaving her old life behind and moving to Provence. However, trouble seems to follow our Penny around and during a very usual art exhibition that she’s attending one artist is taken ill. He dies in hospital few days later. But it is only the beginning of further dead bodies, people going missing and smuggled art and Penelope finds herself in the centre of this all. Her old habits outweigh her common sense again and she starts to investigate. In the meantime, her whole family comes to visit and then Frankie to help her with the investigations, again against the recommendations of Penny’s nemesis, police chef Georges Reyssens.

It was another brilliant, light and quick cosy crime authored by Serena Kent. It is a second book in the Penelope Kite series, but to be totally honest, it doesn’t matter too much if you have read the first book or not, there are enough cameos and references to what has happened, and the characters actually stay the same. Though I’d really advise you to read “Death in Provence” because it was simply another great and entertaining read.

Serena Kent is a dazzling story – teller and her writing style is engaging, welcoming and chatty. She knows well when to loosen up the atmosphere and when to put a red herring to make the story even more complex and thrilling. It is also humorous and more than once a sentence or innocently dropped word or two made me chuckling to myself. The descriptions of the landscape, setting and food are long and very detailed but they are vivid, beautiful and bring all the things to life easily and effortlessly.

The characters are so well developed and feel very realistic, really, like breathing and living people. The banter between them is flawless and effortless, actually everything in this book seems to simply flow seamlessly, and it is a great feeling. Because not many new characters are introduced in this book, I felt like coming back to a group of my old mates and beginning right where we have ended our last adventure. Penelope, as usual, soon finds out that there is more to the deaths as initially supposed and with police that’s not so willing to cooperate, she has to use her skills she’s learnt as a former forensic pathologist’s assistant. Who did it? And why?

“Death in Avignon” was a breezy, light – hearted read, a perfect escapism that you’re going to enjoy on an evening or two, with a glass of wine. Or two. It has such a relaxing feeling to it, flawlessly transporting you to the autumnal and wintry Provence. Even though it deals with murder and some dead bodies there is a lightness to it, humour and sparkling, clever sarcasm and irony. There are many possible killers in this story, and it was absolutely brilliant, to read about their motives, trying to make a guess and – of course – not guessing. But that’s me, the super – detective. So pour yourself this above mentioned glass of wine, grab a croissant and prepare yourself for a fantastic visit to France, with a murder or two as a bonus. Truly recommended!

 

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Death in Provence by Serena Kent (Blog Tour)

Death in Provence by Serena Kent

 

 

40648013Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 23rd August 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Mystery, Cosy Crime

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Penelope Kite swaps her humdrum life in Surrey for a picturesque farmhouse in the south of France, she imagines a simple life of long lunches and chilled rosé . . . What she doesn’t imagine is the dead body floating in her swimming pool.

Convinced that the victim suffered more than a drunken accident, Penelope plunges headlong into local intrigue and long-simmering resentments to uncover the truth.

But with a meddling estate agent, an unfriendly Chief of Police, a suspiciously charming Mayor, and the endless temptation of that second pain au chocolat, life in the delightful village of St Merlot is certainly never simple. . .

Curl up and escape to the sunshine of Provence with this deliciously entertaining mystery!

Rating: four-stars

Penelope Kite is a 50 year old retired divorcee, and after years of being at everyone’s beck and call she decides to start a new life by purchasing an old house in the south of France. The house is gorgeous but in need of many renovations, but Penelope is up for this challenge. She’s happy – until she finds a body floating in her swimming pool! Penelope soon finds out that there is more to this death as initially supposed and with police that’s not so willing to cooperate, she has to use her skills she’s learnt as a former forensic pathologist’s assistant. Who did it? And why? Is it something bigger, as there are also few attempts on Penelope’s life? 

The characters were really well – rounded, though I must admit it took me time to get used to Penelope. I’m not sure why, I had problems to get into the book and to warm to her character though there is really no particular reason why – it’s just one of those things. There were, however, very many characters, and till the end I had problems to match them, to know who is who and why and if they’re the baddies or the good ones, if they’re significant to the plot or they’re only mentioned because they just fit in to the scene. But they were also very well rounded and quirky, for example the drop – dead gorgeous mayor, Penelope’s larger than life best friend Frankie who takes no prisoners and Madame Valencourt, with her brilliant diet tips. Penelope was mature, she was smart and sassy and I admired her willpower and she was  really brave to drop everything like this and move to another country.

The mystery was really well tackled, and it was full of surprises. There were twists that I haven’t seen coming and to be honest, I have suspected probably all of the characters throughout the whole story. I think I don’t have to mention the fact that I didn’t guess who was the perpetrator even though, now when I look in retrospective, there were enough clever hints and tips from the author on the way. My bad.  

Serena Kent’s writing style is incredibly inviting and vivid. The book is set in the south of France, Provence, just like the title suggests, and the descriptions of the places, people and food were picturesque. She has managed to also reflect the spirit of the French villagers, to capture their personalities and mentality in such a realistic, true to life way. She easily brought to life the town, the landscapes, the croissants and characters. On the other hand, those many, many detailed descriptions slowed down the reading for me a little and there were moments that I had a feeling that nothing’s happening actually, that we’re there to admire the setting, and it also felt repetitive, with the repetitions of what has happened, what we’ve discovered and how far in the investigation is.  

Altogether, “Death in Provence” was a really cosy read, light and breezy. It was humorous and I really liked the characters’ sense of humour. There was this real French vibe to it and writing style was so warm and inviting – I am already looking towards Serena Kent’s next book!

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