Excerpt from Murder in Montparnasse by Kerry Greenwood, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Murder in Montparnasse

A Phryne Fisher Mystery

by Kerry Greenwood

Murder in Montparnasse
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2004, 276 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2006, 266 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


'We have an acquaintance in common, mam'selle,' said the chef. 'M'sieur le Comte d'Aguillon.'

'Ah, yes,' said Phryne. Count d'Aguillon was an aged, exceptionally respectable member of the Alliance Française. Phryne had met him when helping to find the Spanish Ambassador's son's kitten. She had beguiled an hour discussing…now what was it? Modern art? Matisse? Something artistic.

'It was to him that I confided my problem, and he suggested that, for such a delicate matter…'

'That a feminine touch might be useful?' asked Phryne.

'Precisely.'

People were concluding their lunch and getting up. Jean-Paul rushed to the door to bow the clientele out. The chef leaned forward. Phryne could hardly hear him and she was unused to speaking this much French. She strained to hear.

'I came here from Paris after the war. It was hard then for a cook, though we rose to the challenge. Nothing to cook! No ingredients! It is said that during the siege of Paris the great Escoffier cooked elephant and even sea-lion as the animals in the zoo were killed. I would have welcomed a sea-lion entrecôte! Grey, sad city, my Paris after the war, and a ruined countryside. And my only son, lost. So I came here, as far as I could get from war. A barbarous country, but strangely innocent. In time the rest of my family followed me. My sister Berthe and her sons and my cousins Louis and Henri.'

M'sieur Anatole swallowed his cognac in one gulp and poured another.

Phryne murmured encouragement. Close to the chef, she could smell such a cocktail of scents, spices and herbs, which had obviously soaked into his very bones, that she was afraid she might sneeze.

'All went well. My little café has been successful with the French people here and with such of the Australians who appreciate fine food. We live well. My cousins found themselves Australian wives—they work hard, those Australian girls! That is my cousin Henri's wife behind the counter. A jolly girl, eh?'

'Very jolly,' agreed Phryne, wondering where this was leading and what, if any, connection this had to the gentleman who had exited so abruptly. The dark-haired young woman behind the counter caught Phryne's eye, winked, and hitched up her considerable bosom. The chef sighed.

'Such breasts! They are fortunate men.'

'M'sieur Anatole,' said Phryne gently, putting one hand on the white sleeve, 'what is this delicate matter? You may confide in me.'

'It began three months ago,' said the chef, looking more like a dispirited vulture than ever. Even his moustache drooped. 'Three men. They came to demand that I pay them, or some accident would happen to my café. Such things are common in the milieu, are they not? But this is not Paris. I was outraged and bade them begone.'

'And then,' Phryne guessed, trying to hurry the conversation along, 'accidents began to happen.'

'Yes. A fire was started in one of the rubbish bins. Jean-Paul found it and put it out before it spread. Then a brick through the window. Then—and this is where I became concerned—a whole block of butter was ruined with paint thinner. In my own kitchen! Someone must have come in to the kitchen when the door was open and…well. I called a council. We sat in here after the café was closed; Jean-Paul and Jean-Jacques, my sister's sons, my sister Berthe, my cousins and their wives. What were we to do? The criminals were not asking very much, we could afford to pay it, and that might preserve us from further sabotage. But they were all against this. So we bade them begone. There was peace for a week, then they came back today and we rejected their offer again.'

'Rather forcefully?' asked Phryne. 'And through the window?'

'Yes,' said M'sieur Anatole, gulping another cognac. 'Henri was enraged and he is very strong. Now there will be revenge.'

Excerpted from Murder in Montparnasse by Kerry Greenwood, pages 1-12. Copyright© 2002 by Kerry Greenwood. Excerpted by permission of the publisher, Poisoned Pen Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!