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)
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
Agatha Christie did this kind of story much better. All that working from clue to clue to reach a conclusion, with the narrative serving as background for the murder-solving blueprint, is now tired. I expect characters who are complex and interesting on their own accounts. The hero rushes around and risks his life for a bet. It's not believable, and it's certainly not enjoyable.
Simon Vance is perfect. If anyone could have saved this, it would have been he.
Too much description over and over about same things.
Yes but he needs less detail and more thrill.
I think Enso could develop into a very interesting character.
right up the top
enzo - he is clever but so vulnerable
love - the power and the poison
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.
Really enjoyed the story. Readers who do not have any background in French may be somewhat confused at times. This was my first Peter May novel and I'm looking forward to more.
The story is entirely unconvincing, but it takes place in numerous picturesque parts of France, so there is a vicarious pleasure in the protagonist's travels. Doyle is a good reader, but his rendition of the younger daughter's voice is so whiny and "precious" that it made this reader hope she'd meet a quick end. I gave the story 3 stars and the performance 4. Somehow that added up, in the Amazon scheme of things, as 4 stars, which is much too high.
This was, as some reviewers mentioned, similar to The DaVinci Code, only with much better writing. If you enjoy the progression of a series of obscure clues with a side trip to France, you'll like this. I wouldn't say it's great or even gripping, but it kept me interested and entertained, and I didn't see the end coming until exactly when the author wanted me to. My only quibble is that Simon Vance (who I would listen to reading a math textbook, he's so marvelous) could use a little work on his French pronunciation. His mistakes aren't egregious, only mildly distracting to a francophone. Overall I recommend this but was sad to see that the next one available via Audible is the fourth in the series, and like most mystery fans, I prefer to listen to a series in order.
I only recommend books I really really like and listen to more than once. I liked that the killer is not known until the very end. It is very seldom that I do not figure out "who dun it". Another good aspect is not knowing the motivation for the murders until the end.
For me this was a slow start. At points the details run on and on. In some books long running details work, but not here. Eventually some of the characters grow on you and the mystery does too.
I would buy another book performed by Vance.
"Best Peter May story I have listened to so far"
Very gripping plot
The Girl nwith the Dragon Tatoo. The author's complete mastery of susspense and twists and turns, together with his evident knowledge of France, and the places where he sets the plot, makes this story a great one.
No, but I will search him out in future.
Yes, when Kirstie was at risk of drowning, and her father and her sister's boyfriend were trying all they knew to save her.
If you want a fabulous "read" , read by a very good narrator, look no further.
"Dry Bones, dry story"
Too many unnecessary street / place names as though to prove that the author had done his research and knew France
"Good murder mystery for Francophiles/Francophones"
I would recommend, but would tell them I found the book entertaining, if a little predictable at times, and it went at a good pace with enough excitement to make me stay in bed one Sunday morning to listen to the last 6 chapters! Peter May writes about women from a man's perspective - I don't mean sexist, but more how he would like women to be than how they really are! (Work this out, men!) Nevertheless, I enjoyed his story and enjoyed his wry humour - maybe because I am a Scot and it is such a Scottish thing. Other writers criticise the accents - well, one narrator can only produce so many accents - as a Scot I found it quite authentic (West of Scotland). Also a lot of French used - seems logical to me as it was first printed in French, from what I can gather from internet, and why change those bits when it helps you to learn a bit more of the language of the country in which it is set. Good for those interested in France and happy to learn a bit about the language and country. I've spent a bit of time in France and found it all quite authentic, en fait.
Kinda guessed half way through who the main perpetrator was/would be, but found the ending quite exciting - as mentioned above. The 'changes' in the family relationships were also quite predictable - but perfectly believable.
Oh, Enzo! And it seemed to me that Simon Vance enjoyed being Enzo and tried very hard to get his character right - and I thought the accent was fine.
Maybe the loss of his second wife. He appeared to have discarded the first one easily enough but he didn't have time to get tired of the second one. Nor did he seem to have struck up any other long-term relationships in the 18 or so years since she had died, so maybe it was the real thing. (I'm a cynic!)
Peter May is not Georges Simenon or Ian Rankin, but I thought the book might be of interest to readers of these two authors. It was well written and I enjoyed all the bits of 'education' e.g. Champagne production; and the catacombs of Paris.
A different narrator - the one who did Entry Island was much better.
The accents were dire - I tried to proceed but I just couldn't get past them.
Do try other Peter May books!
"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.
"First disappointment from Audible"
The story was ridiculous. The performance was disappointing - poor French accent made me grind my teeth - there must be actors who can reproduce a decent accent. There was far too much detail of the Parisian road system and the 'trail' was more like more like France by GPS. Sadly, I couldn't even be bothered to finish this book. The author should stick to the Police series, he's on surer footing there.
"oh lala the accents!!"
the original narrator from the first book reading this one!having just listened to book one, then moved on to book two the accents were just too bad to keep listening to it.
stuck with the same narrator
lose the over the top French accents and the English Scotsman.....
didn't listen to it all, returned it to Audible and bought book 3 instead, (original narrator returns yippee) best feature was after chapter one returning it and getting a credit back on my account, nice touch.
delighted with audibles returns policy, made it sufferable.....
"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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