Death at the Chateau Bremont
An Antoine Verlaque and Marine Bonnet Mystery by M. L. Longworth
Review: M. L. Longworth introduces Aix-en-Provence chief magistrate Antoine Verlaque, who leads the investigation into the accidental death of a local — if impoverished — estate owner in Death at the Chateau Bremont.
Étienne, Comte de Bremont, has fallen to his death from an attic window in his aging château, a suspicious accident in the opinion of Verlaque, who believes that he must have, without incident, opened and closed the shutters protecting the window hundreds of times over the years. And certain aspects of the crime scene, as he has come to think of it, bother him. Still, the groundskeeper, who found the body, insists de Bremont was alone in the château, and his death must certainly have been a tragic accident. While perusing the house, Verlaque notices a photograph of a younger Étienne, his brother François, and a young woman Verlaque recognizes as Marine Bonnet, a local law professor … and someone with whom he was once romantically involved. Hoping to learn more about why someone may have wanted to kill Étienne, and to gain a better understanding of the de Bremont family dynamics — Why did Étienne's brother and widow not seek to have the accident looked in to, leaving only distant cousins demanding an investigation? — Verlaque calls upon Marine for assistance, who readily gets involved … if only to see if there is still a spark between them.
Death at the Chateau Bremont is far more of a character- and setting-driven mystery than a plot-driven one. Fortunately, the characters and most especially the setting are interesting, well developed and help keep the reader engaged. The storyline — the investigation, if you will — tends to wander at times, especially since the "whydunit" is made apparent early in the book, followed soon thereafter by a good guess as to the "whodunit". Subsequent attempts at misdirection seem at best half-hearted and fall a bit flat, but do add a modicum of action that contrasts with the often sedate environment of the château and its surroundings.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of Death at the Chateau Bremont for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Murder in the Rue Dumas
Penguin (Trade Paperback), September 2012
ISBN-13: 9780143121541; ISBN-10: 0143121545
Location(s) referenced in Death at the Chateau Bremont: France
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Death at the Chateau Bremont by M. L. Longworth — An Antoine Verlaque and Marine Bonnet Mystery
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: June 2011
List Price: $14.00