A modern day Agatha Christie-sque setting and an unwanted guest to sleuth – was The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley be as good as her previous books. I loved Foley’s other two books, what about her third? Read my book review of The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley to find out.
When Jess invites herself to her brother Ben’s luxurious apartment, Ben is missing. She was sure he would help her as he did when they were younger, but sure he wouldn’t disappear, would he?
Jess doesn’t know about the adult Ben’s life, nor how he is able to afford this apartment itself. 12 Rue des Amants, a beautiful 5 storey building with a tenant on each floor, is a character by itself.
A nice guy, a socialite, an alcoholic, a reserved student and the concierge – who is a friend and who is lying? Where is Ben and what happened to him? Read The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley to find out.
Book review of The Paris Apartment
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley is a classic whodunnit with a bunch of questionable characters and a motivated sleuth on the trail. The setting of the house was intriguing and added a sense of doom and eerie to it. It reminded me a lot of “Only Murders in the Building” (which absolutely loved it).
I have read Foley’s previous books and I really had big hopes for this one, as a big fan of closed-room mysteries. I enjoyed how the layers unraveled, even though some elements were unnecessary to the story and were added just to create a distraction.
While the slow pace put me off in places, I think it worked out well. I was not particularly enthused by Jess and her attempt to solve the mystery. I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes, often. It felt a little more of thriller than a mystery to me, especially when she was getting any better at solving anything.
I found the multiple person narrative with 6 people tiresome at places, and the book could have been shorter by at least 20 pages. Maybe it was just me, I was getting restless after big twist for the book to end.
What worked for me
I loved the setting and the unlikable cast of tenants. It was eerie and sinister.
While I didn’t like any of the characters, they were well developed and intriguing.
What may have been better
I felt it was more of a thriller than a mystery.
The pace dragged a bit, compared to what is usual for the genre.
Murder, Suicide, Alcoholism, Cheating, Domestic violence, Sex work, Sexual harassment (mentioned), Self-harm (mentioned)
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley is a slow paced, claustrophobic whodunnit. It is different from Foley’s other books in terms of writing and narrative style, but it mostly works. If you like “Only Murders in the Building” you might enjoy The Paris Apartment.
It is a brand new month and that means it is time for mini reviews AKA review shots. And this week am gonna bring in three books from one author, who is one of my all time favorites, Dame Agatha Christie. Don’t we all need some mystery thriller every month?
These are our monthly picks for the ClassicsNChristieClub and I thought I can club them up together for our review shots. So shall we get on with it?
The Murder on the Links
Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings have been invited to Merlinville-sur-Mer, France, to help Paul Renauld, a millionaire. Upon arriving to the Villa Genevieve, they find him dead. He is stabbed in the back with a letter opener and pushed into a newly dug grave near their golf club. His widow claims that two masked men tied her up around 2 AM and took her husband away.
As the duo proceeds to investigate the case, Poirot gets a competitor in the form of Monsieur Giraud from the French Sûreté who has a history with Poirot. Who murdered the millionaire and why forms the rest of The Murder on the Links.
I am not a big fan of Poirot – Hastings combo, but I couldn’t help rooting for them here. I couldn’t guess the culprit right until the end which makes the book a win for me. The only thing that didn’t work for me is the romance story for Hastings and making him a besotted fool till the end.
If you like the usual Poirot novels, you are in for a treat reading The Murder on the Links.
The Man in the Brown Suit
In The Man in the Brown Suit we have a new lead detective Anne Beddingfeld. Anne leaves the country in search of a new adventure after her famous father dies. Soon enough she witnesses an accidental death and she finds a clue that might have something to do with death. She throws caution to the wind and decides to chase the clues that may prove it was not just another accident.
Her journey takes her to Africa and further on the trail of the murderer. Anne forms new friends, saves a stranger and makes stronger enemies. But does she make friends with the right person? How far will her sense of adventure take? You need to read The Man in the Brown Suit to know if the murderer was caught and who was the mastermind behind it all.
Christie has a bunch of recurring detective characters but Anne Beddingfeld appears only in The Man in the Brown Suit. I didn’t like her at all, and I can say she was too naive and annoying for my taste. Of course others might find her lively and perky compared to Tommy and Tuppence or even Poirot.
I definitely didn’t solve the case, so that is a positive thing I guess. But it bored me during some parts and I was wishing it would end soon.
The Secret of Chimneys
The story begins when James McGrath gives a manuscript to Anthony Cade and asks him to hand it over to the publishers in London. Cade doesn’t realize it to be arduous task with men threatening for it and a political troop trying to steal it away from him. He is also requested to return a few personal letters to a lady he has only a name of.
There are quite a few characters who assemble to have a political and business agreement at the Chimneys, where Cade is also invited to discuss about the manuscript. Unfortunately that is where a murder takes place and Inspector Battle is called upon to investigate. Soon enough we are suspecting everyone present at Chimneys that night. Who committed the murder and what is the story behind it follows in The Secret of Chimneys.
Yes I am saved the best for the last. The Secret of Chimneys was our March BOTM and I should say I liked this the best among these three. I loved the array of characters especially Bundle and her father Lord Caterham provided the much needed comic relief.
Everytime I zeroed in on someone to be the blacksheep I was proved wrong, which made it all the more interesting. There is a bit of romance in this one too but it was not a hinder like in the other two.
The Secret of Chimneys is definitely worth a read, pick it right away.
Let us chat
Have you read any of these ones before? Do you usually read Agatha Christie’s? Which is your favorite among them all? Let us talk.
I have a thing for funny biographies. Either I love them or hate them completely there is no in between. So when a couple of my friends went gaga over David Sedaris, I simply had to pick Me Talk Pretty One Day up. I know it has been a while since I read this one but is never too late right?
Me Talk Pretty One Day consists of two part. The first part deals with David’s life before he moved to France that talks about his childhood, the speech therapy for his lisp, his odd jobs and his girlfriend.
The second part about his life after moving to Normandy with his partner Hugh where he struggles with the language.
Book review of Me Talk Pretty One Day
As I told you earlier, I chose this book only due to the hype around and I should confess that I wasn’t impressed. I smiled at a few places but most of the time I was bored. I felt Sedaris was ranting about his uninteresting life on and on.
I guess talking about drugs, poop and making fun about one’s family is not my kinda comedy. I felt like I was reading someone else’s diary filled with private jokes.
Things that worked for me
The essays are short and of the perfect length that will hold your attention.
If you are a fan of slapstick comedy then this book will work well for you.
I heard that the audiobook is much better.
Things that didn’t work for me
I couldn’t relate with Sedaris or his lifestyle at all.
Me Talk Pretty One Day talks about the author’s addiction to narcotics in detail, and I didn’t personally find them funny.
I couldn’t stop thinking a dull, wry version of Michael Scott while I was reading the book. If you like comedy that are based on self deprecation and narcotic drugs then this book is for you.
Hello y’all and it is time again for the part two of our France; trip in our Flyaway Friday. In our first part we discussed the books that would take us to France. And now we have someone from France to tell us more about their country and their French way of life. Let us meet Marie.
I thank Marie from Drizzles and Hurricane Books for agreeing to answer few questions about France; and their ways and means. I am huge fan of Marie’s blog and I love her discussion posts. She recently published one about Blog hopping and I could not help but nod in agreement with her throughout her post. You should definitely check it out.
For those of you who do not know Marie, here is a quick bio that she was gracious to share with us:
Marie is a twenty-something book blogger living in France;. When she’s not screaming about blogging and YA books, she is most likely working on her writing, re-watching Friends episode and / or getting lost in a sweet YA contemporary book.
So off we go to her answers.
1) What do you think is exotic about France?
It’s pretty lucky that we have different landscapes and climate in the whole country. North, South, East, West: each have their own micro-climate and landscapes. We have seas and oceans, we have small and big mountains. We have very cold winters and snow, we have very hot summers and drought, too. Basically, we got it all and it’s both a blessing and a curse, haha.
Mer de Glace
2) Will you tell us about France’s eating habits and the famous French cuisine?
Food is sort of a religion here in France. Seriously. Or maybe it’s just me, haha. We do love great food and I know French cuisine is praised everywhere in the world. I know I miss it whenever I am travelling abroad. There are many specialties, depending on the area you live in. We eat bread and cheese, we spend HOURS at the table. We eat frogs, snails, we eat mostly a savoury breakfast with croissants and jam and fruits. We also drink a lot of wine (we are not alcoholic, but having a glass of wine with dinner and during celebrations with family is… a habit).
3) Tell us more about a typical day in France.
Yes, it snows… well, it depends on where you are living in the country. I commute a lot, but that depends on where you live, too. It’s hard to depict a typical day in the country when everyone has a different rhythm. For me it’s train – work – sleep, basically. Oh and blog thrown in there.
4) Can you tell us about some of your unique French customs and practices, specific to France?
The 14th of July is a national celebration in the country, basically the equivalent of the 4th of July in the USA. Except that we celebrate maybe a bit less – we do have fireworks though. We also celebrate Labor Day on the 1st and Christmas and Easter and everything else. Christmas is quite a big deal, depending on where you live, since we have many Christmas markets around the country that are tourist-catchers.
When we first meet someone, or for a job interview or something, we often shake hands. When we are friends, family, or friends of friends, we do “la bise”, meaning that we kiss the other on both cheeks.
When invited to a house for dinner, we usually take a little present with us, such as wine, flowers or a box of chocolates.
5) Tell us about some of the stereotypes about France as depicted in the media, books / film etc that annoy you.
We always depict France and French people as very romantic people. The ones that complain a whole lot about everything. The ones going on strike all the time. The ones with an adorable and really sexy accent whenever we speak English or any other language, for that matter.
There is a bit of truth in… all of that, I’d say? It depends on which kind of person you’re meeting, though.
6) Tell us more about your national language. Teach us some very common words and few uncommon ones.
In English, there is no difference between when you meet a stranger or a friend, you will say “you”. In French, we have two pronouns: “tu”, when you address a friend, a colleague or family member, and “vous” when you are talking to your boss, a stranger, etc.
Instead of saying “bless you” when someone sneezes, we say “santé” (that means…health, basically).
As for some words you can’t translate, I am thinking of “retrouvailles”, it is the word when you meet someone again after a while without seeing them. There is also the word “dépaysement”, meaning whenever you are feeling… a bit lost, outside of your usual comfort zone, in a different environment and trying to find your bearings again.
Thank you, Marie for your time and letting us get a peek into your French life. You can contact her through her blog and social accounts.
That is all we have folks in this week’s feature of Flyaway Friday the France Edition. I will meet you next month with another country with its books, author and bloggers, in full.
What do you love about the French? Do you have any friends from France? Do you love Marie’s answers? Let me know in the comments. If you would like to do a guest post on my blog and want to talk about your country, contact me.
I love meeting new people and visiting new places. But I am also a person who would be happy to curl up in the bed with a book or watching the television. I mean why would people want to travel in real life when you can armchair travel all through the year right?
And I thought I should include you in my travels. You ask me how? Welcome to the new bimonthly feature ‘Flyaway Friday‘.
Every month we will choose a country, and we will do what we generally do – DISCUSS BOOKS from that country. The books will either be set in that country or the characters will be from the country. And that is not all.
Every month we will have a guest blog from a blogger from that country who will tell us about their home first hand.
Are you excited? You can bet I am. And all of that starts right now. And with one of the most visited and read about country of the world.
Yes we are visiting France, this January.
I know, I know. France, the most romantic place on earth, ask any romance lover.
And it is just not only that.
I have rounded up the best books for you and guess what? They are all as French as they can be.
We might have read this French book when we were kids, but this 90-page novella definitely requires a reread as an adult. The story follows the travels of a small boy who leaves his home planet to travel the universe.
2) Les Misérables
Much has been spoken and written about this masterpiece of Victor Hugo. The book takes the reader into the depths and the darkest corners of the French political scene. Les Misérables is definitely a happy book but I can promise you the joy of reading if you can get through it.
3) Madame Bovary
Published in 1856, this book by Flaubert was attacked for ‘obscenity’. The lead character Emma finds her husband bland and boring and ignores him and their child for other men. And of course, the society doesn’t take such things very lightly. I can safely say, Desperate Housewives in 19th Century France.
You can safely say I am a sucker for stories from World War II. So here are a few from that era. (Oh, it is not as old as you think)
4) Lilac Girls
This book has been on my TBR shelf from the first time I heard of it, somewhere in Nov 2017 and I am definitely reading this one as soon as I can. Three women, from New York who works at the French consulate, Poland and Germany respectively, cross paths during Holocaust in an unexpected way. As any story based on the Nuremberg trial Lilac Girls would make you weep out, especially when you learn it is partially based on a true story.
5) All the Light We Cannot See
This is one of the books am currently reading and I can assure you the author Doerr has a way with his words. All the Light We Cannot See follows the stories of a German boy and a blind French girl during the World War II. You will love this book if you liked The book thief.
6) The Nightingale
The book follows the life of two French sister, divided by years and wisdom as they fight for their freedom in their own terms in the German occupied France. The book won the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction (2015) and has been popular ever since.
7) The Paris Wife
Ever wanted to see what happens behind the screens in the lives of famous people? Catch up The Paris Wife as it follows the lives of Ernest and Hadley Hemingway as they move into the Parisian life. Warning:: there is no hard and fast rules when it comes to love and boozing.
Find some romance novels set in France to keep you awake this winter season.
8) Paris for One
In mood for some quick read set in Paris? Let Jojo Moyes take you for a spin with her new Paris for One. When Nell finds her unreliable boyfriend has abandoned her in Paris of all places, she decides to have some fun for herself. But what she was not looking for the mysterious Fabien to steal her heart away. A perfect choice for the winter nights.
9) If Only It Were True
What happens when you fall in love with ghost in your closet? Based in San Francisco, If Only It Were True written by the French novelist Marc Levy has been turned into a film staring Reese Witherspoon as well.
Still young at heart? Don’t worry we have the best of YA for you as well.
10) Anna and the French Kiss
This cult YA romance needs no introduction. Anna is less than enthused when she is shipped off to a boarding school at Paris, until she meets St Clair. This classic boy meets girl is all you need when you need a cheer up and that in France.
11) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Okay this could be the next best YA read since I dunno what. Monty takes Grand tour of Europe with his sister and his best friend / crush Percy, and an yearlong escapade before he is forced to join his father’s business. You should be reading it already.
Okay technically this is not a young adult book because the Asterix; comics is pleasure to read for all ages. Asterix and his friends defend their Gaul village from the mighty Roman invasion and is quite funny despite the whole violent war scenario.
What countries do you want to be featured in this series? Have you been to France or do you want to? How many of these books have you read? Do you have any book set in France or having French characters that I have to reader? Let me know in the comments.