Folly du Jour
Review: In May 1927 Scotland Yard commander Joe Sandilands investigates a murder of which his former mentor is accused of the crime in Folly du Jour, the seventh mystery in this series by Barbara Cleverly.
Sir George Jardine, a former British diplomat based in Parris, is attending a performance at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees after receiving a mysterious letter with a entry ticket, signed just John. While seated in one of the best box seats, he sees a former colleague and nemesis on the opposite side of the theatre, one Lt. Colonel, now Sir Stanley Somerton. Nothing to do now as the performance is just starting, and a mesmerizing one it is. At its end, George heads over to greet Somerton only to find him dead, his throat slashed. He's immediately arrested for the murder. Joe Sandilands, coincidentally in Paris to attend an Interpol conference, is asked to get involved and intervenes on George's behalf. He joins up with a French counterpart, Inspector Jean-Philippe Bonnefoye, who's been investigating a multi-year series of bizarre, unsolved murders. Though there doesn't seem to be a connection, the coroner isn't so sure. What is certain is the key to solving Somerton's murder depends on finding out why someone may have wanted him dead.
Folly du Jour is, for the most part, a delightful mystery. The well drawn characters and atmospheric setting are spot on. The disparate elements of the book, including an intriguing though not obviously relevant (at least initially) prologue, come together much as a intricate play in three acts does: a strong opening to set the foundation for the story, a middle act that moves the plot along, and a conclusion that resolves the mystery. Though each component is generally well executed, the third and final act is probably the least successful primarily because it is overly and unnecessarily complicated. It's almost as if the author realized a rather predictable and simple resolution was in the offing, not that there's anything wrong with that, especially if it's as elegantly presented as the rest of the book. Instead she makes an abrupt and unexpected departure crafting a convoluted and ultimately less satisfying alternate ending. Still, the route taken was an enjoyable one and definitely worthy of a reader's consideration.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided a copy of Folly du Jour for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Strange Images of Death
Soho Constable (Hardcover), April 2010
ISBN-13: 9781569476321; ISBN-10: 1569476322
Location(s) referenced in Folly du Jour: Paris, France
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Folly du Jour by Barbara Cleverly — A Joe Sandilands Mystery
Publisher: Soho Constable
Publication Date: August 2008
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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