Review: Barbara Corrado Pope's first novel, Cezanne's Quarry, is an awe-inspiring murder mystery that tiptoes through a most troublesome moment in time for the small municipality of Aix-en-Provence, France, home to celebrated artist Paul Cezanne.
It is mid-August, 1885. A beautiful woman is found murdered at the old quarry. At first unknown, she is later identified as Solange Vernet by an inexperienced magistrate, Bernard Martin. Martin had met her once when she had invited him to hear lectures given by her paramour, English scholar Charles Westbury. Westbury renounced the Biblical version of God's creation of the world in seven days by expounding on and expanding Darwin's theory of evolution, stating that there is "no vestige of a beginning, nor is there a prospect for an end." Although Martin had never attended the lectures, he couldn't forget her. One who did attend was local artist Paul Cezanne. Cezanne had immediately fallen in love with her, inciting in Westbury a jealousy he hadn't known possible. But Solange harbored a secret that she could never tell Cezanne and thus rebuked his love for her. The only clue found at the murder site was a note to Solange saying, "Meet me at the old quarry. C." Who was the "C" of the note? Charles? Cezanne? And was this a crime of passion, or something even more sinister? Martin's task is indeed a daunting one.
Cezanne's Quarry is an amazing, multi-faceted novel. There is the murder mystery with its political overtones but there are also the elements of science and religion and at times philosophy. At one point Cezanne says one should, "Strive to create something new, yet as old as the world itself. Take time to think it through … and see it." Atmospheric with finely crafted period details, strong character development, and a mesmerizing plot come together to make Cezanne's Quarry one of the best books of the year.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Cezanne's Quarry.
Acknowledgment: Opus Communications provided a copy of Cezanne's Quarry for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Cezanne's Quarry: France
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Cezanne's Quarry by Barbara Corrado Pope — A Bernard Martin Mystery
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: July 2008
List Price: $25.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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