Murder in Montparnasse
3 journalers for this copy...
Michael Ward is a Canadian journalist working for the Paris office of a news agency in 1925. He encounters Jason Waddington early in his sojourn and they become fast friends. Jason is American but worked in Toronto at one time and knows many of the same people that Michael does. It's pretty obvious from the outset that Jason is a thinly disguised Ernest Hemingway. Jason has decided to write full time and he has had some success but he's pretty low on money. When you consider he has a wife and baby to support it's hard to see how he manages to spend as much time as he does in bars and restaurants. He introduces Michael to all his friends, some of whom are quite famous writers and painters. One of the women on the fringes is Laure, a teacher and translator. Laure and Michael have a passionate one night stand and then Laure ignores Michael. Michael is besotted and starts following Laure. He see Laure and Jason having a spirited discussion one night and then Laure leaves. Shortly after Michael finds Laure's purse in the street and he fears the worst. His fears are realized when it is announced that Laure has been murdered and that it appears that a serial killer is responsible. Michael has his doubts and starts to do some investigation on his own. He thinks it is one of the people in the small expat community who is responsible. Before he can determine if that is true the serial killer has to be stopped.
Paris is the true star of this book. Imagine walking in the park and having Alice B. Toklas' dog start attacking your trousers. Or running into James Joyce at dinner in a restaurant. It's the stuff of dreams. Engel has caught what I think is the true essence of this time and place (although of course I can't be sure).
I've never read much Hemingway but if I was a fan I'm sure I would have found this book even more fascinating. Just like Jason Waddington, Hemingway lost several years worth of manuscripts when he was in Paris in the 1920's. As the back cover says "Murder in Montparnasse offers a credible explanation for a puzzle that has plagued literary sleuths for decades: What really happened to the lost Hemingway manuscripts?" If that doesn't hook the Hemingway fan, I don't know what will.
I'm going to reserve this book for a later challenge.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I left this book inside the store atop the Canadian spring water. Alas as I was leaving I saw it on the customer service desk. So if you would like to read it maybe you could claim it from lost and found. This release is for the 2009 Canada Day release challenge.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
As promised I have read this book. My thoughts on it shortly. I am releasing this book and hope it will continue it's journey.
The book itself I found less than desirable. At first the book was enticing but the plot was very slow moving on what the story was supposed to be about. I was actually able to figure out who "did it" with the over done details and I still had about 100 pages left.
Overall though, I did enjoy the read simply for it's description of time in history, the places & people.
I do hope you enjoy the book, if not please continue the release anyways for others to enjoy.
Thanks and happy reading!