Some things never go out of fashion. You’ve got martinis, little black dresses, Paris – or solidly-plotted, old school, murder mysteries set in Paris, for that matter. Author, Mark Pryor, has struck a sweet spot in the genre; achieved a black-tie comfort food, if you will, with the first Hugo Martson novel, THE BOOKSELLER. This whodunit and whydunit is staple locale mystery fare and all the expected boxes are ticked, but with one of those really smooth, gel-ink, fancypants pens.
Hugo Marston is our hub. With his US embassy connections, FBI training, and ever-ready smirk, his life is, more or less, the one we’d like to have if only we were slightly fitter. When a friendly acquaintance is kidnapped right before his eyes, we follow Hugo into the world of the bouquinistes, the booksellers whose stalls ride the hem of Seine to the delight of tourists and also the book lovers who call Paris home. When the history of the bouquinistes collides with the agendas of some criminals with more contemporary to-do lists, the fate of a Nazi-hunter becomes the fulcrum for the US Embassy to team up, not always comfortably, with the French police to discover why booksellers are vanishing from their treasured posts.
There’s a beautiful journalist and a rumpled, foul-mouthed sidekick and, of course, there is Paris to round out the cast and fill in the action, of which there is plenty. THE BOOKSELLER is an excellent choice for someone who has been hankering for a good old-fashioned read – the hero is smart and bold, the heroine sparks attraction and some trouble, and the crime has tendrils that draw the past into the present.
THE BOOKSELLER earned a favorable nod over at OPRAH.com and was Library Journal’s Debut of the Month in November, so you don’t have to take only my word for it.
Just do it. You know you want to. And you’re welcome.