French Widow
by Pryor, Mark

A young American woman is attacked at a historic Paris chateau and four paintings are stolen the same night, drawing Hugo Marston into a case where everyone seems like a suspect. To solve this mystery Hugo must crack the secrets of the icy and arrogant Lambourd family, who seem more interested in protecting their good name than future victims. Just as Hugo thinks he&;s close, some of the paintings mysteriously reappear, at the very same time that one of his suspects goes missing.

While under pressure to catch a killer, Hugo also has to face the consequences of an act some see as heroic, but others believe might have been staged for self-serving reasons. This puts Hugo under a media and police spotlight he doesn&;t want, and helps the killer he&;s hunting mark him as the next target&;.

Mark Pryor is the author of the Hugo Marston novels The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, The Blood Promise, The Button Man, The Reluctant Matador, and The Paris Librarian, as well as the novels Hollow Man and the forthcoming Dominic. He has also published the true-crime book As She Lay Sleeping. A native of Hertfordshire, England, he is an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife and three children.

When an American expat is attacked while working at the aristocratic Lambourd family's annual Bastille Day gathering, Hugo Marston, security attaché to the American embassy, partners with Brigade Criminelle Lieutenant Camille Lerens to investigate. The ambassador undoubtedly believes the case will distract Hugo from the aftermath of Hugo's shoottng of a gunman targeting pedestrians on a Paris street. Publicity-averse Hugo isn't thrilled about being labeled a hero after the shooting or about the ambassador's orders that he give media interviews, and his worst expectations are confirmed when he becomes the unwilling face of France's gun-rights debate. Even worse, he learns that the shooter was somehow using guns that Hugo personally decommissioned from the embassy. But, after one Lambourd disappears and another is murdered, Hugo focuses squarely on unraveling the killer's theatrically plotted revenge. While the two plots battle awkwardly at times, Hugo and Lerens' interactions with the dysfunctional Lambourd family facilitate thoughtful social commentary on prejudices, from sexual orientation to class. A winning recommendation for readers who favor international flair and clever resolutions. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

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