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)
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.
"Oh Dear - the accents"
What a disappointment! After listening to the 2 Hebridean novels my hopes were high but this book did not engage me. As a print book it may have been better although the constant use of words like ‘sejours’ is an irritating and useless device in creating a feeling of France. However, it was the narration which really spoiled it for me. The narrative was very pleasant to listen to but the dialogue was almost unbelievable. Both French and Scottish men ‘growled’ out a tortured transposition of vowel sounds – ‘Allo, ‘Allo meets Hey Jimmy.
The pace of the story was good until the last section where it was very drawn out. Descriptions of areas of France were fascinating but characters are quite shallow
"Back to the islands for me"
I just didn't get this. In comparison to the Lewis trilogy the book was a pale shadow. Characters not brilliant and the plot didn't answer the most basic question "why bother"?
"Not bad but not in same league as Lewis trilogy"
My title says it all, this isn't a bad book but I have definitely been spoilt by the Lewis series. This book is not as good. All that said, I found the book ok. I did have the rest of the Enzo series on my wish list but will only consider buying them if they are in a future 3 for 2 deal or other offer.
"Murder below the Streets of Paris"
An exciting and quick paced novel which is a cross between a Dan Brown plot in that it gives a geographical/historical backdrop to the mystery - in this case Paris; and the popular forensic scientist model who acts like Sherlock Holmes making the police look like fools!
I enjoyed it and look forward to the second in the series.
"First and last in the series for me"
Bought this as I loved the Lewis Trilogy but was quite disappointed with this. Wasn't sure what I was listening to really. It was a cross between Dan Brown, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie and at times it was like an Enid Blyton famous five novel. Didn't do it for me and although it brightened up half way through I won't be bothering with the rest of the series.
"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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