Friday, March 26, 2010

A Twist of Orchids-Michelle Wan

A Twist of Orchids

Minotaur, Apr 13 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312549947

In Dordgone, France, English orchid expert Julian Wood and French-Canadian interior designer Mara Dunn love one another but struggle with relational accommodations as both are set in their ways. Especially troublesome to Mara is Julian's obsessive annual hunt for the rare Lady's Slipper orchid.

As the couple struggles with compromise, Kazim, son of Turkish sweet shop bakery owners, sees a woman fall to her death from the balcony of the Two Sisters restaurant. Mara is shocked with her neighbor octogenarian Amelie Gaillard’s dying from what everyone assumes was an accident, but even more shocking is that the victim’s daughter Christine failed to come to the funeral or assist her Parkinson’s ailing dad Joseph with his grief. Soon afterward, Kazim is missing and his parents plead with Julian to search for him. As Mara looks into Galliard family secrets, she finds herself involved with the rhyming thefts while Julian's investigation has him allied with a drug dealer.

The third Death in Dordgone amateur sleuth mystery (see Deadly Slipper and The Orchid Shroud) is an enjoyable dueling investigative tale. The lead couple’s personal issues as a new middle aged couple trying to adapt to living with a lover are amusing though extremely minor especially compared with the deep look at Muslims living in France. Fans of French modern day mysteries will enjoy A Twist of Orchids as neither of the lead couple finds their inquiry as simple as expected; almost as hard as they discover living with another adult.

Harriet Klausner

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