Murder on the Eiffel Tower

Murder on the Eiffel Tower

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Claude Izner, Translated by Isabel Reid

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  • Publisher: Gallic Books
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 24mm | 280g
  • Publication date: 19 April 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 190604001X
  • ISBN 13: 9781906040017
  • Sales rank: 51,249

Product description

The brand new Eiffel Tower is the glory of the 1889 Universal Exposition. But one sunny afternoon, a woman collapses and dies on this great Paris landmark. Can a bee-sting really be the cause of death? Or is there a more sinister explanation? Enter young bookseller Victor Legris. Present on the Tower at the time of the incident, he is determined to find out what actually happened. In this dazzling evocation of late 19th Century Paris, we follow Victor as his investigation takes him all over the city. But what will he do when the deaths begin to multiply and he is caught in a race against time?

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Author information

Claude Izner is the pseudonym of two sisters, both booksellers on the banks of the Seine in Paris. They are prolific authors for both adults and children, and are experts in 19th Century art and literature.

Customer reviews

By Gina Collia 23 Feb 2010 5

As a Francophile who once sold antiquarian books, I was probably predisposed to like this one, but even I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

The brand new Eiffel Tower, standing 300 metres high, towers above the many pavilions of the fourth Paris Universal Exposition, which opened on 6th May 1889. People are flocking to it in their droves, eager to sign the visitors' Golden Book and to visit the Le Figaro Pavilion on the second platform to collect their personalised copy of the special edition of the newspaper. Among them is Eug�?�©nie Patinot who, one sunny afternoon in June, in the company of her niece and two nephews, collapses on the second platform of the tower and dies.

Also on the tower is Monsieur Victor Legris, Parisian bookseller and photographer, who is there to meet Marius Bonnet, a friend who wants him to contribute a column to the newspaper he has just started - Le Passe-partout. The police are satisfied that Eug�?�©nie Patinot has died as the result of being stung by a bee, but Victor and his newspaper friends are not so convinced and, as the death count subsequently rises, the bookseller-turned-amateur-sleuth finds himself searching for clues all over Paris in a bid to uncover the truth and identify the man or woman responsible for what he comes to believe are murders.

The period is conjured up wonderfully. From the moment I began reading, I felt I had been transported back in time to the cobbled streets of nineteenth century Paris in the middle of summer; its heady air filled with the smell of honeysuckle and horse dung and the overwhelming buzz of excitement of thousands of men, women and children as they flocked to climb the towering iron structure and visit the numerous pavilions, with their displays of cameras, printing machines, anatomical mouldings, and curiosities from all over the world.

I did manage to solve the case before Victor, using the snippets of information included strategically throughout the book that the bookseller seemed to miss as a result of being too closely involved with the case. Victor's anxiety, as he pursues his suspects and manages to get things completely wrong a number of times, pushes the story along at quite a pace, and consistently so; I found it very difficult to put the book down as I was so eager to find out what was going to happen next, and there was no part of the book that allowed for a brief respite.

This one left me wanting to hop on a flight to Paris the moment I put it down, to climb the Eiffel Tower, and sit in a caf�?�© sipping something cold before rummaging amongst the dusty tomes of the city's second-hand bookshops. It also left me wanting to read the next in the series as soon as possible.

Review quote

"A charming journey through the life and intellectual times of an era" Le Monde

Editorial reviews

The excitement of the 1889 World Exposition is muted, then intensified, by murder.With Paris abuzz over the debut of Gustave Eiffel's magnificent tower, the death of a rag-and-bone man at a parade for Buffalo Bill's visiting troupe merits little attention. Weeks after the fatality is ascribed to a bee sting, maiden aunt Eugenie Patinot succumbs to a similar fate during the world expo for which the Tower serves as an entrance arch. Nearby, bookseller Victor Legris meets his dogged journalist friend Marius Bonnet to celebrate the latter's newspaper, Le Passe-partout. Also in attendance are Victor's mysterious business partner Kenji Mori and Russian emigre Tasha Kherson, who works as Bonnet's illustrator. Romantic sparks flash between Victor and Tasha even before Bonnet publishes an anonymous note suggesting that Eugenie was murdered. When another "bee sting" death occurs outside the Colonial Palace, Victor's insatiable curiosity turns him into an amateur sleuth who juggles clues about the crimes, a budding affair with Tasha, elbow-rubbing with celebrities like Anatole France and an attempt to prove, at least to himself, that his friend Mori is not the killer.In this series kickoff from Izner (pseudonym for a pair of collaborating sisters), the energetic curiosity of the hero dovetails nicely with readers' interest in a fascinating era. The colorful supporting cast lays a solid foundation for Victor's further exploits. (Kirkus Reviews)