Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Messenger of Death-Pierre Magnan

The Messenger of Death
Pierre Magnan
Dunne, Sep 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 0312387563

Former postman Emile Pencnat notices the unstamped addressed letter in the disused box at the gate of the Cemetery at Barles, France. Unable to resist perhaps because of his previous occupation, he puts on the postage and sends it to Veronique Champourcieux. However the mademoiselle is not quite in a receiving mood as someone jammed the bayonet blade of a nineteenth century rife through her stomach into a piano.

After the greedy woman is found dead Judge Chabrand asks his friend former Superintendent Laviolette to investigate the homicide. As the pair follows leads across Provencal, more horrific gruesome murders occur. Someone appears to be on a mission of revenge, which Laviolette assumes means greed is the original cause and serial murders are the effect.

The second Provence whodunit (see DEATH IN THE TRUFFLE WOOD) is an excellent French murder mystery due to the sleuthing pair who struggles with a strange case. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the judge asks the retiree to help him end the serial killings. Pierre Magnan provides a strong investigative thriller as the murder count rises while Laviolette and Chabrand try to prevent the next one by capturing the culprit.

Harriet Klausner

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