What happened to Jacques Gaillard? The brilliant teacher at the École Nationale d’Administration, who trained some of France’s best and brightest as future prime ministers and presidents, vanished ten years ago, presumably from Paris. This ten-year-old mystery inspires a bet—one that Enzo Macleod, a biologist teaching in Toulouse, France, instead of pursuing a brilliant career in forensics back home in Scotland, can ill afford to lose. The wager is that Enzo can find out what happened to Jacques Gaillard by applying new science to a cold case.
Enzo goes to Paris to meet journalist Roger Raffin, the author of a book on seven celebrated unsolved murders, the assumption being that Gaillard is dead. He needs Raffin’s notes, and armed with these, he begins his quest. It quickly has him touring landmarks such as the Paris catacombs and a château in Champagne, digging up relics and bones. Then Enzo finds the actual head of Jacques Gaillard. The artifacts buried with the skull set him to interpreting the clues they provide and following in someone’s footsteps—maybe more than one someone—seeking the rest of Gaillard’s remains and reviewing some ancient and recent history. As with any quest, it’s as much discovery as detection, and Enzo, despite all his missteps, proves to be an ace investigator, scientific and intuitive, who definitely meets his goals.
Peter May is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He has won several literary awards for his novels.
©2006 Peter May (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“This travelogue-cum-murder mystery makes for a fun puzzle.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A thoroughly engaging puzzle.” (Library Journal)
I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.
When your author makes excuses for the unfathomable good luck of his detective with statements like this, "Enzo was beginning to feel like one of the Three Princes of Serendip," you know that you're being fed a lazy tale where accidents, rather than sagacity, are the dominant theme.
The premise of this quasi-detective story (the main character is not a cop, but a biology professor) is seriously flawed - the protagonist (Enzo) takes a case on a bet. Other motivations are not clear…perhaps he's bored. Once he does engage, we follow his left turns over this "Pont" and onto that "Rue," around French postcard cities, generally unengaged with the author's sideshow cuisine and wine forays. Few North Americans can reference Enzo's urban(e) wanderings, leaving the listener feeling like he or she has just departed a boring dinner party where the hosts showed their guests a slideshow of a recent trip to France. After awhile it all blurs into a bland Ratatouille stew.
To keep the listener attentive, the author makes a futile attempt at mimicking Umberto Eco's, The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. But, Peter May is no Umberto Eco. Some reviewers equate this novel with Brown's, Da Vinci Code. However, Dry Bones is far too random and cliche to rise that far.
Personally, I think Peter May should try his hand at travel writing. He seems to know a great deal of trivia that may be of interest to the Francophile in a few of us.
Can't wait to read the next one. I'll probably have to buy more credits this month already.
Found this author after re listening to the first few of my Inspector Rutledge books...which I love.
In other reviews this book is compared to Dan Brown stories due to the treasure hunt type mystery but to me, it fell way short. I like stories where the characters have to put clues together which lead to more clues, but some of these clues really were a stretch. DNA tests were done in 24 hrs and he got permission to remove a fountain and dig up a public garden in the middle of the night? In what universe? I liked the characters so I may read the next in the series, but I hope it's a little more realistic.
Blogger of accidental discoveries through books
Peter May can really tell a story. I loved his Lewis trilogy and now I've discovered the Enzo Files. Lots of good reading to look forward to.
Curious lover of books
Not in the same league as his Scottish trilogy Story was superficial and far fetched It was like an abridged version with the lack of character development and plot superficiality
This was a very enjoyable book. The plot was exciting and kept me interested throughout the book. The narrator was just awesome and totally nailed the Scottish brogues and the French accents. There were several times during the book that I laughed and/or smiled at the sly humor. I must admit that at times I did get a little lost with all the French words and locations used, but I'm trying to broaden my horizons and this is just a step in that direction! Be aware that there are a lot of sexual innuendos and even a few scenes that are pretty explicit, so maybe not a good choice for a family road trip! I will be reading further books by this author!!!
I have been listening to books for a very long time and Simon Vance is always an enjoyable narrator. I am not an expert in linguistics and don't know if he is spot on in his "characterizations" but he has a pleasant voice that varies enough to keep your interest.
This is the first book I have read by
Peter May . I enjoyed it enough to want the next book in the series. The premise of a forensic scientist solving cold cases is not new but in this story he must use the clues left with each section of the corpse to solve the puzzle. The characters were interesting and pretty believable ...It's worth the credit.
Normally, I don't mind a slow moving mystery. I actually quite enjoy many. I'm not entirely sure why this book didn't totally do it for me. The character development was pretty good. It was fairly clever. The narration is fabulous.
But something about it just fell a little bit short. I'm currently listening to the second book because I feel like I should enjoy this writer more than I did based on my typical preferences.
I guess if believable characters and a plausible plot are not important, a reader might enjoy the atmosphere. The book does have a sense of place.
Have the protagonist act more rationally. I can take a certain amount of silliness if the character is drawn as a silly irrational person. Peter May created a forensic biologist who just does not act believably to me.
Also he could have had more than one inevitable villain. Without the clues, the lady after her introduction was so obviously going to turn out to be the villain.
The only writer who has ever pulled off the murder by a group was Agatha Christie and she made the victim so detestable that it made sense that a group decide to cooperate in the murder. May did not give any clues that the victim was hated so vehemently.
Someone less dramatic. He rather took over the book by making every line of dialogue so dramatic.
Actually, it was promising at first then I could not wait for it to be over.
The plot just made no sense. I think that is what bothered me most.
"A thrilling race across France!"
This is another in a series about Enzo McLeod, his family ties, and the solving of mysteries that he does so well.
"Black Light Blue" is another of the Enzo McLeod series where the main character has moved from one solution to the next in a series of unsolved crimes.
Enzo takes us with him, into the undeground tunnels below Paris and the ski slopes elswhere in France. We are "feeling" his fears and joy as he searches for the solution to the current unsolved crime.
No, it is too long, but there is time to develop the characters well.
We have enjoyed listening to many of Peter May's Books and found each one to be different, but with some common sequences, depending on the series.
"Dry Bones oh how sad"
A different reader
I have listened to blackhouse and the other two books in the trilogy and they were great
The reader has the most appaling fake scottish accent [and I am an englishman] that makes the character sound totally implausable, and his other foreign accents are bit suspect as well.I would rank this on the level of Dick Van Dykes accent in Mary Poppins
I persevered for a couple of hours and then gave up. When playing a character, either make your accent sound convincing or speak in your normal voice. For me this book is unlistenable, which is a shame as I enjoyed the other Peter May booksCan I have my money back please?
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